Latin Name: Cupressus sempervirens
Extraction Method: Steam distilled using the cones, leaves and twigs.
Aroma: Balsamic, Fresh, Sweet woodsy, piney and slightly citrus
Cypress is a confir that can grow to a height of 82 to 147 feet. Despite its size it bears small flowers that produces round grayish brown cones. The green leaves and twigs contain most of this delightful essential oil. Cypress is native to Southern Europe but has spread to Africa and North America. Cypress is now cultivated in France, Morocco and Spain.
It has been said that both the Egyptians and Romans dedicated this tree to their gods of death and the underworld. This may be why the Cypress tree is associated with cemeteries. The name sempervirens means 'ever-living' which pertains to the evergreen nature of the leaves, but the perpetual greenness of the trees may also have been used as a symbol of life after death. The usage of cypress as medicine and an incense was originally recorded in the papyri of Ancient Egypt, where the wood was used to make coffins.
Cypress essential oil carries one of the most profound psychological actions. The astringent, woody notes of the essence conveys a feeling of cohesion and stability; while its fresh, coniferous pungency helps both psychological transition and real life change. Cypress can help one to flow with the flux of life; encouraging the process of taking in and letting go. From here we can contemplate the tree's long and deep relationship to death and the grieving process; maybe explaining why it is thought to be of comfort to those in bereavement. Cypress has been used to aid those in the process of dying and for those dealing with grief. Cypress has also been used ease insomnia, nervousness and may increase stamina by helping people move on with their lives after an emotional crisis.
Cypress also has a host of medicinal properties. It is very astringent, and is used wherever there is an excess of fluid. According to Kurt Schnaubelt author of Medical Aromatherapy: Healing With Essential Oils; Cypress is a decongestant for prostate, veins and the lymphatic system and its bitter principles strengthen a weak pancreas. It is also said to prevent the spread of varicose veins, hemorrhoids and edema. Cypress also has antispasmodic properties, acting especially on the bronchi. Noted by Patricia Davis author of Aromatherapy A-Z; a drop or two inhaled from a hankie or tissue will help to relieve an asthma attack and the spasmodic coughing of whooping cough.
I have made several blends utilizing cypress essential oils to address emotional concerns and after researching the history of the energetics; it gives one a deeper understanding of why this is such a great oil to address major life transitions.
Davis P. Aromatherapy an A-Z. New revised edition C.W. Daniel Company Limited, England, 1999
Keville, K and Green, M. Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide To The Healing Art, Crossing Press, Second Edition, 2009
Mojay, G. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit, The Healing Arts Press edition, Limited 1999
Schnaubelt, K. Medical Aromatherapy. Healing with Essential Oils. Frog, Ltd 1999
*Please note: This information is not to replace physician advice or to be used as treatment or diagnose of a disease.
*Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/28188015@N05/