Digging Deeper: Blue Cypress

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Blue Cypress wood oil

(Callitris intratropica)

Blue Cypress has a fresh scent with hints of citrus and cedar.

It is produced from the steam distillation of the wood of the tree, which is indigenous to Australia. Traditionally used to moisturize dry skin, this oil also has historical use as a component in perfumes and even as an adhesive.


Many Australian native plants have been utilized as medicine for thousands of years amongst the Australian Aboriginal people. Plants rich in essential oils have been a major part of the Aboriginal ‘medicine chest’ and are traditionally prepared in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Hand crushing the plants or placing them on hot stones or ashes to inhale the vapours.
  • Crushing the plant material and applying as a poultice to areas needing treatment.
  • Extracting the plant material in hot water and then applying as a wash to the body.

The Tiwi people of Melville & Bathurst Islands and some mainland aboriginal groups use Cypress Pine in the following ways:

  • As an analgesic: The ashes of the wood are mixed with water and smeared over the affected part of the body, and are claimed to relieve minor aches and pains.
  • As a wash: About a handful of freshly gathered inner bark is pounded and heated in approximately 500mls of water. The cooled infusion is spread over the body, and a long strand of inner bark is wrapped around the abdomen to relieve abdominal cramps. The infusion is also applied to sores and cuts. It is occasionally used internally for abdominal pain and discomfort.
  • As an insect repellent: The bark is thrown into the camp fire to drive off mosquitoes and midges.

The first recorded use of Callitris intratropica by European settlers was in 1905 by a Mr. Joe Cooper, who milled the timber for building purposes. At this same time, R.T. Baker (the economic botanist) and H.G. Smith (the essential oil chemist) were assembling their masterly work entitled ‘A Research on the Pines of Australia’ in which, among others, the characteristics and properties of Callitris intratropica were investigated and defined.

Properties & Applications

  • With its high content of sesquiterpenes, including guaiazulene, we can reasonably expect that Blue Cypress oil will have useful anti-inflammatory properties.
  • There are a number of anecdotal reports that Blue Cypress oil does have both inflammation and pain relieving benefits, as in helping to relieve allergy-induced hives, insect bites (such as from sand flies, mosquitoes, wasps and bees) and soothing nappy rash.
  • One reported small trial investigated the reduction of erythema (redness of the skin caused by dilation of the capillaries in response to inflammation) caused by the sensitization reaction to Peru Balsam.
  • Erythema was induced on forearms of five volunteers by application of standard dose of Peru Balsam applied over area approx. 2cm x 2cm to inner forearm, and patch closed for 4 hours. The recorded irritation scores were in the mild to moderate (1.5 – 3.5) range. The patches were removed, and undiluted Blue Cypress Oil was applied randomly to half of the irritated skin at rate of approximately 0.5ml over area. The patches with Blue Cypress oil were replaced as needed over four hours. None of the volunteers experienced any skin irritation from the Blue Cypress oil.
  • On removal of the patches, all treated areas were found to have reduced levels of erythema, with the irritation scores dropping to the minimal level of 0 to 0.5. The control, untreated areas remained relatively unchanged in the level of erythema and irritation.
  • In the case of psoriasis, Blue Cypress is of potential benefit in reducing hypervascularity (increased number and concentration of capillaries) and inflammation in this condition. The use of Aloe Vera gel, Tamanu vegetable oil and Calendula CO2 extract with Blue Cypress oil could be a useful preparation.
  • In terms of musculo-skeletal complaints, there are reports of Blue Cypress oil helping with the pain and inflammation of general joint pain & swelling and with rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Blue Cypress oil appears to have anti-viral properties, with reports of the oil being beneficial against common warts (caused by the Papillomavirus), shingles (Varicella or Herpes zoster) and cold sores (Herpes simplex).
  • Blue Cypress oil has also been used on minor burns, where it was reported it significantly reduced the healing time and pain associated with the injury.
  • With a high content of sesquiterpene lactone compounds, Blue Cypress oil may have some useful mucolytic (mucous-thinning) effects in respiratory and nasal congestion, as is the case with atlantolactone as found in small amounts in Sweet Inule oil (Inula graveolens). This is a theory only and such a benefit would need to be demonstrated in practice.
  • Guaiac Wood oil (Bulnesia sarmienti) is claimed to be of benefit as a venous and lymphatic decongestant, as in the case of lymphatic congestion & oedema, minor varicose veins and haemorrhoids. Blue Cypress oil is similar in its constituents to that of Guaiac Wood oil and it therefore reasonable to suggest that Blue Cypress oil may be of benefit in such conditions.

Sourced from https://www.abp.com.au/files/Blue_Cypress_monograph_2011_ABP_1_.pdf

Blue Cypress in ancient times was used for incense, perfume, and embalming.

Medical Properties: Anti-inflammatory, antiviral

Uses: Viral infections (herpes simplex, herpes zoster, cold sores, human papilloma virus, genital warts, etc.)

Excerpted from The Essential Oils Desk Reference, 7th Edition, page 72

Thank you for digging deeper into Blue Cypress with me. I am very passionate about herbs, oils, and the education of their uses.

Please remember that essential oils are very concentrated products and should never be ingested unless specifically labeled for such use.

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Finally, the obligatory disclaimer.

I am not a doctor. None of the statements included in this post have been approved by the FDA or any other cool acronym known agency. It is Young Living’s official stance that they and these products are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any specific disease or illness. Young Living Independent Distributor #14632733

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