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WESTERN RED CEDAR

(Thuja plicata Donn ex D. Don)
(T. gigantea Nutt.)
(T.
lobbii Hort. ex Gord.)

EASTERN WHITE CEDAR

(T. occidentalis L.)

ORIENTAL THUJA

(T. orientalis)
(
Biota orientalis [L] Endl.)
(Platycladus orientalis)


PARTS USED – needles, bark, resin, seed

 

Sing to us cedars; your voice is so lowly,

Your breathing so fragrant, your branches so strong;

Our little nest-cradles are swaying so slowly, while zephyrs are breathing their slumberous song.

And we swing, swing, while our branches sing, and we drowse to

your dreamy whispering.

PAULINE JOHNSON


Introduction

Thuja is from the Greek THUIA, a fragrant tree in Africa, whose wood was highly prized. It was likely T. articulata that yields a resin known as Sanderac. Thya is from Latin meaning “sweet smelling”, while the Greek verb THUEIN means “to make an offering to the gods by burning (something)”, or THUO “to sacrifice or fumigate”.

Thuja is known as Arbor Vitae, from Latin meaning, Tree of Life. The Kwakwaka’wakw tribe, who obviously did not know Latin, also called it the Tree of Life.

Arbor vitae was an ancient name for the cerebellum of the brain, and perhaps a cross section of that region somehow resembled the tree’s leaf structure.

The Onondaga natives called the tree OOSOOTAH meaning “feather leaf”.

Cedar is from Latin CEDRUS, and Greek KEDROS, also applied to certain junipers.

Plicata is Greek meaning “folded in plates”, referring to the arrangement of the leaves. Platyclados is also Greek meaning “with a broad stem”. Plate-clad refers to the leaves appearing like a row of plates in a drying rack. Sort of.

Biotos is from Greek meaning “to live”. Lobbii is named for William Lobb, an English plant hunter sent to California in early 1800s. He collected seeds for plants to could grow in British Isles. A trip to Oregon resulted in seeds of conifers that introduced the tree to Britain in 1853.

Occidentalis means western, in reference to the hemisphere, while Eastern refers to its native habitat in North America.

The Assyrians wrote, “the cedar is the tree that produces the pure charm and drives away the unfriendly demons”. They believed that the cone of a cedar tree could heal the sick, that the secret names of the god were written on the sacred cedar, and the tree itself, properly understood, was “the revelation of the oracles of heaven and earth”.

The western red cedar can grow to over a 1000 years old, and attain heights of 40 metres or more. The large trunks can be up to three metres in diameter, and found in the same regions as western hemlock. It is British Columbia’s provincial tree.

The tree has a botanical birthday of January 19, and symbolically represents unchanging friendship.

Coastal Native tribes used the long strips of fibrous bark to make baskets, clothing, blankets, ropes, and mats. The bark was soaked in water, pounded and stretched into long fibres that were woven into capes, hats, baskets, nets or mats. A folded shaving of the wood can be struck repeatedly with a hammer without breaking the fibre, indicating a rubbery toughness suited for river canoes that repeatedly run into rocks and other obstacles.

The Quileute of Washington wove false azalea (Menziesia ferruginea) twigs and cedar bark to make mats for the bottom of canoes. The Haida placed the twigs in coffins.

With continued pounding, the fibre is softer, and fluffier, and used for diapers, sanitary pads, and mattresses.

The bark was very slow burning, and was a means of transporting fire. The shredded bark is twisted, and then wrapped spirally with a plain strip of bark. When lit at one end, it burns for a long time.

Cedar bark was used for making paint. Red and blue-green were made by grinding stones to a powder; black from charcoal, and white from the ashes of burned clamshells. As a binding agent, the artist would chew salmon eggs, while holding in this cheek a wad of soft- shredded cedar bark, to filter out the glutinous substance, which was spat on a paint palette. This was mixed with the powdered pigments.

Cedar bark strips make a handy tourniquet to stop bleeding.

Amongst older people, painful backs were rubbed with cedar branches until blood was drawn, and then smeared with false hellebore root powder and fish oil.

The wood itself was burned out to make canoes, or roof shingles for long houses. Even the roots were used, for making baskets, and the wood to make dip net hoops and handles, drying frames, ceremonial drums, rattles, benches, coffins, fishing floats, whistles, and harpoon shafts.

The Kwakwaka’wakw and other tribes used the wood to make a drill and hearth for starting friction fires. Because it burns with little smoke, it is valued for smoking fish and meat.

Cedar withes are the branchlets that hang from the main branches. They were used traditionally for making heavy-duty ropes. Tests at the University of British Columbia found that an untwisted withe of red cedar less than one-quarter inch diameter has a breaking point of 425 pounds. The withes were cut off, coiled up and heated over a fire. They were then pulled through the split end of a stick pounded into the ground to remove the bark. The branch was then twisted, which gave it permanent flexibility.

The wood decays very slowly, and can be easily split into planks, shingles, and such. It is very light, and does not contain pitch or resins.

Before arrival of the whiteman, trees were not cut down. Antler wedges were pounded into the living trees along the grain, and split off.

The wood today is used commercially for making siding, patio furniture, clothes closets and “cedar” chests. It weathers to a grey silver, that is very attractive, and requires little maintenance. Poles, fence posts, and sidings can remain sound for hundreds of years.

Cedar is also used for beehives, and fish trap floats.

Extracts and residues from the tree are used in lead refining, boiler water additives and glue extenders.

Although not common to the prairies, the tree was well known to the Cree of Alberta. They called it MIHKWASIHT, in recognition of its red bark.

The Blackfoot prized the wood, calling it Tomato Scent Pine.

The Bella Coola tribe used leaf infusions externally for rheumatism, swollen neck, coughs, and internally for heart trouble.

The Chehalis chewed the bark, or decocted the bark to induce delayed menstruation or as an abortifacient. The Salish chewed and swallowed the juice of the green cones to prevent conception.

The Klallam used branch decoctions for treating tuberculosis.

The leaf tips and buds were chewed by the Cowlitz for toothaches, and by the Lummi for sore lungs.

The Nootka used urine stored in red cedar containers to wash hair and gain effective power.

Members of the Quinault tribe infused seeds and twigs for fevers, and kidney troubles. Externally they used it as a wash for venereal disease sores.

The Dena’ina of Alaska name means “wood that smells”, or BEHDELCHENI CHIK’A. The wood was used for arrow shafts, pegs for ground squirrel snares, and the driftwood was used for fire drill.

The Haida call the whole tree TS’UU. They use it to make traditional canoe, totem poles, house posts, boxes, cradles, snares, fish weirs and fire tongs, according to Nancy Turner. “The inner bark is used for weaving mats, hats, cloaks and baskets. At one time it was made into ropes, fishing line and fish nets” according to contributors in her excellent book, Plants of Haida Gwaii.

The Thompson used twig decoctions in combination with red osier dogwood twigs to help remove afterbirth. Several taboos related to cedar and pregnancy were observed. A man, with a pregnant wife, must not twist cedar withes into rope or sew with it; nor can a pregnant woman make baskets, for fear the umbilical cord would twist around the baby’s neck. She must not shred cedar bark, often sticky with pitch, or the child will stick and cause a difficult delivery.

Eastern white cedar (T. occidentalis) is hardy, and widely grown as an ornamental on the Canadian prairies. Quackgrass or couchgrass (Agropyrum repens) can greatly impair its growth in first five years. It prefers alkaline soils. On the prairies, they should be given a good soak before freeze up.

White cedar is the famed arborvitae or Tree of Life; a term given to tree by the French King Henry II when he learned explorer Jacque Cartier and crew were cured of scurvy by drinking cedar tea. It was the first tree from North America planted in Europe.

Like western cedar, these trees are long-lived. One tree on the Bruce Peninsula National Park in Ontario is over 950 years. Another, now dead, lived 1,890 years on Flowerpot Island, off the Bruce peninsula.

White cedar was widely exploited for lumber by early settlers. In 1899, over 95 million board feet were harvested from the Great Lakes region.

Natives feel white cedar represents the East, one of four sacred directions of power.

The Fox tribe used the dried inner bark as a tea for women whose menstruation was delayed due to colds; while the Iroquois used the leaf tea as a diaphoretic and tonic following childbirth.

The ripe, brown cones were simmered for at least an hour and used in a bath or applied to the pelvis to induce labour.

The Eastern Mi’kmaq poulticed the leaves to treat swollen hands and feet.

The Montagnais applied leaf poultices to reduce heart pain, while other tribes used it for rheumatism, pleurisy, and swollen extremities.

Leaf infusions were taken internally by Ojibwa for headache, while stronger decoctions were reserved for colds and coughs. Cree healers used decoctions for pneumonia, as taken hot it acts as a diaphoretic.

A particularly hardy pyramidal cedar for the prairies is Brandon, developed at the Patmore Nursery in the Manitoba city in early 1940s. The tree is hardy to minus 46 degrees Celsius, and now found into Saskatchewan and Alberta.

The Woods Cree of Northern Saskatchewan call this tree MASIKISKASIHT. Although not native to their region, and planted as an ornamental, the branches were made into decoctions, or chewed to extract the juice for treating urine retention or a sore bladder. They were added to decoctions for pneumonia.

The crushed leaves were mixed with other herbs and decocted for use as a wash and drink for “twisted face” caused by stroke.

Maria Treben recommended thuja leaves be soaked in rye whiskey for ten days, for an external tincture rub that removes strawberry marks on the skin.

Rafinesque wrote the “ointment of fresh leaves with bear’s fat, excellent for rheumatism; decoction useful in coughs, fevers, cacoehyma, scurvy, gout; distilled water for dropsy; poultices of the cones and Polypodium (Common Polypody fern), in powder with milk, remove the worst rheumatism pains.”

Eastern Cedar is drought and rot resistant, and used traditionally for fencing, shingles, and being half as dense as oak, for canoe and boat frames.

The Oriental Arborvitae is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The dried seed is sweet, pungent, neutral, moist and calming, the leaf anti-fungal, hemostatic and hypotensive. The seeds are collected from the ripe cones in fall, the leaf in summer. It is called lateral cypress kernel, or oriental arborvitae seed.

The leafy twigs are bitter and puckery to the taste with a slightly cold property, and called CE BAI YE, while the seeds are known as BAI ZI REN.

 

MEDICINAL

CONSTITUENTS

T. plicata heartwood- thujaplicines (alpha, beta, and gamma), plicatic acid, mearnsitrin, procyanidins, prodelphinidin, umbelliferone, p- coumaric acid, myricetin, quercetin, kaempferol-3-0-arhamnoside, catechin, gallocatechin, and oils, including fenchone, thujone and umbelliferone.

Also various diterpenoids including iso-pimarinol, phenolics like thujaplicatene, and toxins like alpha apoplicatitoxin.
bark- sugiol, xanthoprenol, isopimarol, and various diterpenes.

T. occidentalis- bark- various phenolics including catechin, gallocatechin, afzelechin, epicatechin, epigallocatechin, and epiafzelechin; occidentalol, occidol, procyanidins, flavones, myricetin 3-0-glucoside, neothujic acids, and podophyllotoxin type lignans.

Seeds- alkaloids, lipids (15%)

Leaf- various essential oils (see below); as well as water soluble immuno- stimulating polysaccharides, including thuja polysaccharide g fraction (TPSg) and glycoproteins.

These include diterpenes such as dehydroabietane, neothujic acids, lignans, matairesinol, thujaplicatin methyl ether, wikstromol, epi-pinoresinol, various monoterpenes (see oil), a sesquiterpene alcohol called occidentalol, deoxypodophyllotoxin, de-oxypodorrhizone, isopimaric acid, iso- picrodeoxypodophyllotoxin; isovaleric, juniperic, pinotannic, valerianic, formic and thapsic acid; pinitol, myoinositol.

T. orientalis seed- saponins, benzene, various essential oils including pinene, borneol, thujone and caryophyllene, fixed oils, 14% fatty acids, pinipicrin (bitter), resins and tannins.
leaf- hinokiflavone, sabinic acid, aromadendrin, quercitin, isopimaric acid, neothujic acid III, sesquiterpenoids like alpha and beta cuparenone, occidenol, occidentalol, and occidol; pinusolide, alpha cedrol, totarol, 5-hydroxy-7,4’- dimethoxyflavone, dotriacontane, tannins, and essential oils.

 

Western Red Cedar (T. plicata) is a strongly anti-fungal and anti- bacterial remedy.

The tincture is a stimulant to smooth muscles, and used for various respiratory, urinary and reproductive problems.

For chronic, congested mucous membranes of the lungs, the tea or tincture can be taken internally. Steam with the tincture or essential oil in hot water as well. Simmering the branches also works well.

Cold infusions are used internally for heavy, boggy uterine problems with dull aches, long periods and frequent low-level vaginal irritations and infections. A douche can bring relief, so alternate between the infusion one day, douche the next, and repeat. It is useful for enlarged or inflamed prostate, with pain upon urination or ejaculation, and mucous in the urine.

Red cedar stimulates the vascular capillary beds, according to Michael Moore, helping to expand and contract, and making it useful in chronic bladder and urethral irritability.

It is an immune stimulant, helping increase phagocytosis by granulocytes, scavenging white blood cells.

In small daily doses, this increases resistance to chronic respiratory and intestinal infections, combining well with astragalus root for this purpose.

It combines well with Oregon grape root, or devil’s club to increase catabolism, and the cleansing of metabolites produced by this immune response.

The tincture or glycerite is used for Tinea versicolour, athlete’s foot, ringworm, jock itch, and nail fungi, applied externally and repeated several times daily.

Investigation into beta-thujaplicin has shown inhibition of ultraviolet B damage.

Baba et al, Hirosaki School of Medicine, Japan reported this discovery and suggests it may be due to anti-oxidative effect of metallothionein acytosol protein. The Journal of Investigative Dermatology 1998:110 January has more information for those interested.

Early work by Sowder 1929 found water extracts toxic to the fungus Lentinus lepideus, the Train Wrecker. Southam in 1949 found hot water extracts active against Streptococcus pyogenes, and various strains of Shigella species.

The fresh tinctured leaves help destroy strains of Salmonella, suggesting the use of small amounts in water for prevention of food poisoning.

Alpha thujaplicin shows activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecalis. Arima et al, J Antimicro Chemo 2003 51; Morita et al, Bio Pharm Bull 2001 24:6.

It is cytotoxic, a collagenase and liposomnase inhibitor, anti-fungal, and inhibitor of tyrosinase activity associated with skin whitening.

Thujaplican is used in marine paints to prevent barnacles and other sea creatures from attaching to boat hulls.

On the negative side, cedar wood allergies, especially occupational hazard to the sawdust, is of serious concern. Plicatic acid is believed responsible for a high incidence of inflamed respiratory airways, asthma, and emphysema among cedar workers.

Interestingly, the majority of patients with red cedar asthma are non- smokers.

It may be responsible for illness in several Native tribes that wore cedar bark clothing.

The related Yellow Cedar contains (+)- totarol that possesses anti- tuberculin activity. Constatine et al, Fitoterapia 72:5.

Thuja (T. occidentalis) is a useful expectorant, especially in cases of bronchial catarrh accompanied by heart weakness. Because it is stimulating, however, it should not be used if the catarrh is due to overstimulation, or cough is dry and irritated. A few drops under the tongue of thuja tincture, will often bring quick relief to angina pain.

It quickly relieves tooth and gum pain in mouth, when applied directly to the affected area. Externally, the tincture can be applied to joint pain, including arthritis, muscular rheumatism, and lumbago.

Thuja combines well with calendula in the treatment of fungal infections of the hands and feet. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial by Khan et al, J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereal 1999 12 supp 2 found thuja extracts applied topically, for three weeks, reduced foot warts in both adults and children.

It is used for many of the same purposes as Western Cedar, regarding skin problems, vaccination and menstruation.

The famous Eclectic physician, Eli Jones injected 10-20 drops of tincture directly into tumours of the vagina, cervix and rectum, every other day, until the tumour sloughed off.

For viral warts, combine with celandine. The herb was official in the US Pharmacopoeia from 1882 to 1894 and the National Formulary from 1942 to 1950, for heart and uterine muscle stimulation.

Jones would follow up by painting thuja and glycerine mixture onto the diseased area three times daily until healed.

Or a tampon, saturated with thuja tincture was inserted vaginally and changed twice daily. This was combined with internal drops of tincture, ten every three hours.

He utilized thuja tincture for bladder cancer. It certainly combines well with uva ursi for prostatitis and infections of the uro-genital system, and with echinacea for infections in general.

Ethanol extracts of leaf show tumor weight reduction of 39%. Ojeswi et al, Human Exp Toxicol2010 March 3.

Thuja and echinacea in ratio of 1:4 treat senile or diabetic gangrene, breaking down odour, stimulating new tissue growth and promoting healthy granulation.

Water, acetone and ethanol extracts of the leaves and stems confirm activity against fungi, as well as gram negative and positive bacteria.

Several tropolones inhibit virulent strains of bacteria including methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin resistant Enterococcus.

The famous Lloyd brothers produced a Specific Thuja extract made from the fresh leaves in high alcohol content. A non-alcohol form was made from fresh leaves for use in eye problems or on broken skin. This could be mixed into an ointment for dry eczema, hemorrhoids and rectal itch.

For styes, use a dilute tea in an eyecup or as gentle wash.

As a generalization, the thujone content affects bacteria, the volatile oils attack fungi, and the higher weight polysaccharides and deoxypodophyllotoxins are anti-viral.

It helps in cases of chronic bronchitis with green yellow mucus and lingering, exhausting coughs, combining well with elecampane or grindelia.

Thujone has been found to inhibit lung cancer cell metastasis. Siveen et al, Can J Physio Pharm 2011 89:10.

Water-soluble fractions, including polysaccharides, enhance the immune system, and alcohol extracts exhibit anti-cancer activity. Flavonoids help inhibit skin tags and overgrowth of tissue throughout the body, and leaf tannins are mild astringents.

Thuja helps treat Coccidiodes immitis, a soil fungus found in the southwest. This condition is characterized by flu-like fever, fatigue, headache, body pain and coughs.

Chang et al, Journal of Natural Products 2000 63:9 showed
T. occidentalis compounds inhibit the transformation of murine epidermal JB6 cells, inhibit ornithine decarboxylase induction with murine epidermal ME 308 cells, and exhibit cytotoxic activity against KB cancer cell lines.

In studies by Offergeld et al, Leukemia 1992 6:3, thuja polysaccharides were shown to have mitogenic activity. They inhibit HIV-1 antigens and HIV-1 specific reverse transcriptase, and induced a subset of T cells and various cytokines in vitro. Thuja polysaccharide g fraction (TPSg) shows immune-regulating effect by enhancing cytokine production in human lymphocyte and macrophage culture.

Studies indicate Thuja supports the immune system by stimulating T lymphocytes and increasing interleukin-2 production. Gohla et al, Leukemia 1988 2:8.

Surila and Kuttar, Int Cancer Ther 2005 4:4 found Thuja occidentalis protective against effects of radiation in mice studies.

Thuja can be helpful in allowing patients to better tolerate chemotherapy and radiation, combining well with Sweet Violet.

Rudolf Steiner suggested a direct relationship between thuja and the metal silver that could be further explored. Colloidal silver and thuja hydrosol may have synergistic effect.

Fibroadenoma (breast lumps) responds well to thuja in combination with echinacea, scullcap and peony root. See below. In cases of gangrene, five drops of tincture every three hours can make a difference.

Thuja combines with eyebright and prickly ash to treat hearing loss associated with blocked, phlegm-filled eustachian tubes. It combines well with smooth sumac (Rhus aromatica) for urinary incontinence, and Echinacea angustifoliafor tonsillitis.

It combines well with Oregon grape root for giardia infestations of the intestines.

Thuja is useful for both men and women who void urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing or exercising. For benign prostatic hyperplasia it helps disinfect and avoid bacterial growth, but does not shrink size of tissue. Add nettle root in this case.

Less well-known are the anti-atherosclerosis or hypolipidemia properties of the fresh twigs. Dubey et al, Ethnobot Lett 2009 13.

Thuja stimulates menstruation, and should be avoided during pregnancy. Interesting work by Pinto-Scognamiglio et al, Chem Abstracts 1969 70 showed, “the chronic administration of thujone at 10 mg/kg does not modify either the spontaneous activity or the conditioned behaviour of the rat, but influences behaviour only through a better coordination of its activities”. Did I miss something?

A US patent was granted in 1985 for the production of fungitoxic extracts containing 150 milligrams of beta thujlicin per litre.

Francis Brinker has written an excellent monograph of this plant in the Journal of American Herbalist Guild 2008 8:1.

Oriental thuja seed is used for worry and apprehension resulting from an overly-excited autonomic nervous system. This can manifest as neuro-cardiac hyper-functioning with anxiety, insomnia, hysteria and stress.

It affects the learning and memory process in the CNS and corrects impairment of memory acquisition, in a dose dependant manner.

Work by Nishiyama et al, Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 1995 18:11 found ethanol extracts of the seed improved learning and memory processes in the central nervous system.

Laboratory studies show the seed, combined with ginseng root and schisandra berry, reverse alcohol damage in brain cells.

It is a mild analgesic, for headaches; and reduces excessive perspiration and seminal incontinence.

Because the seed is oily it is a demulcent laxative, useful in constipation due to dry stools postpartum, due to loss of blood and vital fluids; and even senile constipation, in a manner similar to balsam poplar bud oil. It combines well with hemp seed and walnut meat for constipation of the elderly or in postpartum women due to blood deficiency. Combine with american ginseng root and schisandra berry for heart palpitations, vertigo, insomnia, night sweats and irritability.

Combine the seed with calamus root for irritability, insomnia and poor sleep.

When de-fatted, the seed is more useful for heart palpitations, insomnia, and quieting the spirit. It is contra-indicated in cases of loose stool or catarrhal conditions in general.

It is known as BAI ZI REN in Mandarin, and BAAK JI YAN in Cantonese. In some medicinal texts it is called PO TZU JEN, as it is the seed of Tse Po.

It is used in Japanese Kampo medicine and called HAKUSHININ, and in Korea the seed is known as PAEKCHAIN.

The seed contains beta sitosterol, which exhibits strong anti-herpes simplex type 1 activity. In a study published in the Korean Journal of Pharmacognosy 1998 29:4, the compound exhibited anti-HSV-I activity with an EC50 value of 0.6 mg/ml and cytotoxic concentration 50 of 5.99 mg/ml.

Honokiol induces apoptosis and has potential as a synergistic adjunct with adriamycin in the treatment of breast cancer. Hou et al, Phytother Res 2008 22:8.

The seed, and in particular two compounds, amentoflavone and robustaflavone, reduce free radical damage and inhibit elastase. Xu et al, Arch Pharm Res 2009 32:2.

The dried leaf is used in TCM, and known as TSE PO YEH, or CE BAI YE.

The leaf has a bitter, astringent flavour, with cold properties. Its main action is concentrated on the lung, liver and large intestine meridians.

Work by Lee et al, Arch Pharm Res 31:7 found protective compounds in the leaf that may help prevent liver fibrosis.

Thuja leaf (T. orientalis) cools the blood and controls bleeding. Experiments have proven the herb shortens bleeding time and quickens blood clotting.

It inhibits the production of platelet activating factor, and in the brain it preserves normal circulation by inhibiting activation of PAF by serotonin. The leaf extract possesses a potent antagonist effect against PAF, or platelet activating factor. Planta Medica 1995 61:6.

It prevents formation of blood clots and yet does not cause bleeding, a factor superior to blood thinning drugs such as coumadin. Two compounds, alpha cedrol and pinusolide, are PAF receptor ligands.

Pinusolidic acid, isolated from the leaves, has been shown to be a potent platelet activating factor antagonist, with an IC value of 7.48 mcg/ml. Yang and Han, Planta Medica 1998 64:1.

It is a stimulant to the uterus and should not be used during pregnancy.

The fresh leaf is soaked in wine, and applied to alopecia areata, with vigorous massage three times daily.

When the leaf was stir-fried until carbonized, as was traditional, the hemostatic effects were believed enhanced. Modern research indicates the fresh leaf is superior for stopping internal bleeding.

In vitro, the leaf inhibits Staphylococcus aureus and S. albus, as well as the dysentery bacteria. Alcohol extracts inhibit the pneumonia bacteria.

Peptic ulcers with bleeding respond to leaf decoctions.

The leaf exhibits anti-tussive effect, with experiments showing oral ingestion inhibiting coughs; and anti-asthmatic effect. This broncho- dilating effect is partially due to anti-cholinergic effect.

Anti-asthmatic effects were observed when beta caryophyllene was degraded in gastric acid, but not by itself, suggesting a decoction may be the best form for lungs.

The fresh young leaves and branches have been used successfully in children with whooping cough.

In one clinical trial of 224 active cases of pulmonary tuberculosis; the patients were given 45 grams daily for up to six months in tablet form.

Sixty-four percent of patients who took this therapy for first time, and 36% who had repeated the course, registered negative in sputum test.

Other laboratory studies with animals indicate sedative effect from leaf decoction, and potentiation of sleep effect induced by barbiturates and relaxing of smooth muscles.

Work reported by M. Hattori on the use of traditional medicines for anti-HIV activity, showed T. orientalis leaves, in an ethanol extract, effective against AMV-RT, or avian myeloblastosis virus reverse transcriptase. This should definitely be followed up.

Another study reported in Planta Medica 1999 65:1 suggests pinusolide, a labdane-type diterpenoid, may be of value in treatment of hypotension. It has an IC value of 2.52 X 10-7M, as reported by Yang et al, Planta Medica 1995 61:1.

The leaf contains 15-methoxy-pinusolidic acid. This compound appears to suppress adipocyte differentiation through inhibition of PPARgamma activity, suggesting use in treating obesity. Lee et al, Arch Pharmacal Res 33:7.

The leaf is used for premature baldness and arthritic pain; as well as alopecia. Ethanol extracts rubbed onto the bald areas was shown effective in 160 cases of different types of alopecia in a clinical trial. Hair loss, accompanied by nervous exhaustion, as in alopecia would respond most effectively.

An ointment can be prepared from the fine leaf powder and good vegetable oil. This may be used for treating first-degree burns, producing anti-inflammatory and antiseptic action.

LD50 in mice is 15.2 grams/kg i.p. 76

Methylene chloride leaf extracts, both in vivo and in vitro, inhibit markers of inflammation. Kim et al, J Ethnopharm 2010 Oct 29.

The related T. standishii bark possesses aromatase inhibitory activity, and diterpenoids with anti-tumour and anti-Epstein Barr virus activity.

The leaf protects SH-SY5Y cells from 6-hydroxydopamine in Parkinson’s models, by down regulation of oxidative stress and mitochondrial mediated apoptosis and regulation of pERK. Ju et al, Toxicol In Vitro 2010 24:3.

 

HOMEOPATHY

Thuja plicata is for the individual with anxious melancholy, lack of will power, and moaning and weeping. They present a physical picture of emaciation and constipation, chilly with cold extremities. They are indifferent to everything, except their obsession with their own potential suicide.

They tend to have personality problems with those around them, including paranoid disposition.

DOSE - Seven, nine, fifteen and 30th potencies are best. Dano conducted a clinical proving in 1934, presented his first communication in 1936, and in 1958 published an article in Annales Homeopathiques Francaises.

Dano notes the picture is incomplete, but when patients exhibit symptoms of Aurum (gold), Thuja occidentalis (fixed mind) and Nux vomica (jealous, quick temper, domineering), it is worth a trial.

The mother tincture is prepared from the fresh leaves with a 65% alcohol content.

Thuja (T. occidentalis) is one of the most important polycrests in homeopathic medicine. It is a remedy for the most varied range of retoxic impregnation phases caused by the suppressive treatment of gonorrhea.

Given the name Sycosis, by Hahnemann, the various forms of disease manifestation treated by Thuja are outstanding.

It is of special interest to those suffering ill effect from vaccination, especially after smallpox injection. Vaccination side-effects in young children are reduced.

The suppression of fevers, influenza, and throat infections by antibiotics results in the body attempting to throw out toxins through warts, impetigo, asthmatic bronchitis, or skin eruptions such as fig warts, Meibomian cysts, ranula of the sublingual gland, or recurring Bartholin cysts.

There appears to be a relationship between smallpox vaccination and later cases of enlarged adenoids.

Women with violent pain in the left ovary that continues after and during their period may be helped.

The Thuja patient tends to frequent angry outbursts, as well despondency and melancholy. They are discontented, anxious and preoccupied with the future.

Later, there may be reluctance to communicate, and exhibit deficient concentration and memory.

Fixed ideas are typical of Thuja, with a feeling as if the body and soul were separated.

Night sweats are common, as well as genital sweating with an odour like fish brine. Prostatitis, burning urine and kidney pains also indicate Thuja.

The tongue is white with a painful tip; and the patient is aggravated by damp and cold, especially regarded rheumatism. Hair and nails break easily.

DOSE - Apply local mother tincture for warts and skin excrescences. Internally, use the 6th to 200th potency. Both can be used simultaneously. 30th potency often produces best results.

Proving by Hahnemann with 11 provers, then proving by Mayrhofer with 29 provers with tincture, and 1x to 200x in some provers 1844-45. Proving by Schreter with seven provers at 30th and
1000
th potency in 1858.

Arborin is a non-alcoholic preparation of Thuja. The mother tincture is prepared from the fresh twigs and leaves while the tree is in flower. Camphor and Staphysagria antidote ill-effects of Thuja.

MATERIA POETICA

Thuja’s got a secret
He’d like to hide from you
It has to do with image
He mumbles out his news
His problem’s not so easy
It’s deep within his core
Here’s a man without a place
His face he does abhor
I don’t know how it happened Suppression of a wart
Or it could have been the shots he got When he was but a tot
I tried to compliment him
But he thinks he’s really bad
He said that he is ugly
Convinced he is a cad
He told me
that he’s fragile
He feels like a mistake

He blames his wart and acne
And says that
he could break
I’m sorry for this fellow
Desperate to fit in
Thuja covers up the truth
And this becomes his sin.

SYLVIA CHATROUX MD

 

ESSENTIAL OILS

Two different essential oils are produced from the western red cedar, one from the heartwood and another from the leaves and twigs.

Scandinavian and American research has found heartwood oil to contain quite interesting chemicals. Because it contains a ketone, gamma-thujapicin, it is also toxic.

The oil is produced by steam distillation of the heartwood. One of its interesting compounds, methyl thujate, is a crystalline material with a fresh, sweet and green, woody odour. It has great power and richness of fragrance, and a versatile field of application.

Those interested in further data are referred to Acta Chemica Scandinavica 1952 6.

It has been clearly determined to contain the methyl ester of 4,4- dimethyl-cyclohepta-2, 5, 7-triene-1-carboxylic acid.

A distillation of leaf and twig gives a better yield that the heartwood. At one time it was produced in the tens of tons in the Pacific Northwest, but is now a rarity and not produced on a regular basis.

Thuja plicata leaf oil is pale yellow, almost colorless, with a strong dalmatian sage, and bitter fennel-like odour. It has a sweet woody undertone, with terpene and camphoraceous notes. It is a powerful masking agent, but cannot compete with its Eastern cousin, Thuja occidentalis.

The odour is cruder, and harsher, but with similar medicinal benefit. There is more essential oil present in the spring and very little in the summer. The leaf oil contains 72-75% thujone, 7.6-8.8% isothujone, 3.6-6.3 sabinene, 2.8-3.5% terpinen-4-ol, 1-2.3 myrcene, 1.2-1.9 alpha pinene and smaller amounts of limonene, geranyl acetate, car- 3-ene, p-cymene, and others.

The leaf essential is used to make perfumes, insecticides, shoe polish and deodorants. It contains thujone, and must be used with care, due to potential toxicity. Like it’s more famous eastern cousin,
T. occidentalis, this oil is a very good anti-fungal, that can be applied directly to plantar warts.

Eastern cedar leaf produces a very famous essential oil.

It consists mainly of alpha thujone (up to 56%), fenchone (6-15%), beta thujone (7-11%), camphor, sabinene, limonene, beyerene, sesquiterpenols such as occidentalol (1.5-5%), occidol, and alpha, beta and gamma eudesmols, bornyl acetate, piperitone, camphor; and minor components of interest such as 10- nonacosanol, sequoyitol, D-pinitol, myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol, and L- leucanthemitol.

Rudloff E von, Can Journal Chem 1961 39 analyzed oil obtained from fresh leaves of the tree in Saskatoon.

Thuja oil has a watery/earthy nature with sour, minty camphorous, cooling and warm sweet-green herbaceous flavors. It is reminiscent of bornyl acetate in balsam fir and the unique scent of male fern rhizome.

Thuja oil is used in medical aromatherapy for its anti-catarrhal and mucolyptic properties. It is considered a powerful anti-viral, anti- cancer and anti-tumour agent.

Thuja’s most important role is as a pelvic decongestant, and indicated for prostate hypertrophy and cervical dysplasia.

It is diluted and used on warts, and vegetative growths viral in origin, including genital herpes, papillomaviruses (HPV), and genital warts. Vaginal suppositories from coconut oil and 5% thuja are useful for treating cervical dysplasia.

It is valuable in cystitis and urinary incontinence.

It can be applied full strength to plantar warts, and diluted for suppositories used for cervical erosions or various stages of dysplasia.

It helps clear up nail and skin fungi, as well as common (Verruca vulgaris) and genital warts (Condyloma acuminatum).

The oil is extremely neuro-toxic and contra-indicated for infants and pregnant women. As an emmenagogue, it can stimulate menstruation in woman who are weak or exhibit low immunity.

Steaming with the oil helps sore throats, laryngitis, pharyngitis and bronchial infections.

It can eliminate intestinal parasites, but must be used internally with care.

Work by Kéïta et al, Canadian Journal of Plant Science 2001, found thuja oil had a significant negative effect on Cowpea weevil (Callosobruchus maculatus), as both a fumigant and deterrent for egg laying and control.

Germination rate of the cowpea seeds was 88% for treated and exposed, as opposed to seeds untreated and exposed with only 15% germination.

During World War II, thuja oil was used as a substitute for lavender in soap; and even today it is used in soaps, detergents, creams, lotions and perfumes at levels of 0.4% maximum. It is one of the essential oils in the well-known Vicks Vaporub petroleum product, along with nutmeg, eucalyptus and others.

A few drops of oil, or tincture, may a useful mouthwash for gingivitis treatment and prevention. Gargle and spit out.

It is used in flavouring food such as alcoholic beverages, frozen dairy, baked goods, gelatins and puddings, meat products, condiments and relish with 0.002% the maximum allowable in last category.

The oil is used as an adulterant for tansy and artemisia oils, due to the thujone analogue.

The oil is spasmogenic, but when administered in large doses, may cause damage to kidney parenchyma, and severe metabolic damage due to fatty degeneration of the liver.

Acute LD50 would be about 50 grams for a 60 kilogram human. Other reports indicate safe oral consumption at 1.25 mg/kilo of body weight, or 75 mg for same weight.

The best material for distillation is obtained from leaf branches with good sun exposure. High steam pressure produces the highest oil yield, up to 4%.

In perfume, very small amounts are used as a fixative. One part of oil is soluble in three parts of 70% alcohol.

Thuja orientalis leaf contains 2.6% essential oils comprised of 22- 40.6% alpha pinene, 10.7-20.3% alpha cedrol, 6.8% beta- caryophyllene, 3.7% beta myrcene, 10.5% delta-3-carene, 3.2-7.2% limonene, 7.8% alloaromadendrene, thujone, thujene and fenchone.

The seed has been hydro-distilled and produces an essential oil with 25 constituents; 17 of which were identified. Yields of 0.32% are obtained.

Alpha pinene (52.4%) is the major constituent, with monoterpenes comprising over 88% of the oil; including 3-carene (14.2%), alpha cedrol (6.5%), beta phellandrene (5.1%) and mycrene. The essential oil strongly inhibits a wide range of bacteria, fungi and yeast.

SEED OIL

White Eastern Cedar seeds contain more than 97% of neutral lipids that compose over 25% of the dry seed weight. It consists of 11.4% un-saponifiables, also neutral lipids and up to 3.5% of sterol, main beta-sitosterol.

Biota orientalis kernels contain 14% fat that reduces cholesterol levels and prevent cardiovascular disease. The whole oil of the seeds contains oleate, linoleate, linolenate, and 20:3, 20:4 and saturated fatty acids in the acyl groups.

 

HYDROSOL

Boerhaave lauded the distilled water of Thuja (T. occidentalis) for the treatment of dropsy. The hydrosol is available commercially.

Western Red Cedar hydrosol is added to shampoos for thinning hair, itchy scalp, dandruff and restoring damaged hair. Spritz it on pets with fleas and dander.

At full strength, the hydrosol is useful for dermatitis, allergic rashes, cold sores, inflamed acne and psoriasis. Consider combining with colloidal silver.

 

FLOWER ESSENCES

Thuja flower essence is for upliftment, for easing depression, and helping overcome the effects of gravity. It is the essence for issues of power and helping one clarify the use of one’s energies.                       PEGASUS

White Cedar (T. occidentalis) flower essence cleanses the intestinal tract and restores fresh tissue to the colon. Cedar induces autolysis in the intestines during fasting and is almost a liquid colonic. It facilitates the assimilation of germanium and of most foods, especially cholesterol and protein.

Cedar stimulates and restores hair to its natural strength. This is because cedar affects the male hormone testosterone, the female hormone estrogen, and the cholesterol levels on the physical and cellular levels.

It alleviates scalp disorders, especially hirsutism or excessive body hair. It eases stress caused by an overly analytical mind, over aggressiveness, or hair loss.                     GURUDAS

Tuia (Thuya occidentalis) is the floral essence for those persons with promiscuous tendencies, without modesty or circumspection.

They have no control over their sexual desires. This energy works on the unconscious guilt of the sin and consequent low self-esteem.                    FLORIAS DE SAINT GERMAIN

Western Red Cedar brings underlying peace; play of emotions; and belief in oneself. It helps screen harmful influences.

GREEN MAN

Western Red Cedar flower essence supports the process of developing spiritual spine and the connection from the iron core of Mother Earth to the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. It helps lift your head above the clouds of illusion in the collective human consciousness and encourages the capacity of seeing with discernment.              TREE FROG

Cedar essence helps one stay in the present so you can live more fully in the moment.                 CHOMING

 

SPIRITUAL PROPERTIES

A concubine escaped from a Chinese palace, and hid in the woods, with nothing to eat. After a while, she met an old man, who advised her to eat Oriental Arborvitae seeds. Since they were not pleasing to the taste, she hesitated at first, but finally came to realize that she had no choice. And so, she began to slowly eat them, becoming used to their taste. As it turned out, she developed great strength in resisting the severe winter cold and the extreme summer heat. About 150 years later, a group of hunters found her in the woods. She was naked and had long black hair, and was seen escaping as fast as a monkey. The hunters ran after her, and after catching her, found out she was 200 years old.                     HENRY LU

The northwest coast rain forest supports a plethora of indigenous plants where the goddess Gyhldeptis, or Hanging Hair, can be seen draped on some of the oldest cedar trees in the world.               MILNE/MILLER

Many times the spirit of the plant comes in some kind of a personification like the Celtic-looking priestess of Eyebright or the playful sprite of Daisy; other times, it is an animal-like creature like the giant pink-purple butterfly of Red Clover. It can also be an energy essence, like the brightly shining star of Borage or the large oval yellowish-white energy field of St. John’s Wort, or even an energy pattern like the cross-stitch of cedar.                  MONTGOMERY

 

PERSONALITY TRAITS

The secretive of thuja is one that is colder and more calculating than juniper.

Whereas the shame and hiddenness of thuja derives from acts that the thuja individual has personally committed, these same qualities in the juniper type are generally due to acts committed by others with whom they are closely linked. The juniper type tends to be the witness or victim rather than the perpetrator. For instance, while the thuja type may feel shame about committing adultery, the juniper type feels shame because her father or husband committed adultery.                  BRUCE BERKOWSKY

Thuja needs to be liked and yet they feel unlovable so they try to develop a persona that fits in and to imitate their chosen role model. They feel ugly inside but keep this secret and try hard to be liked. They feel that you wouldn’t like them if you knew them. They observe others but keep themselves secret. They are also generally secretive and deceitful, they are masqueraders with a sweet exterior, but they can be nasty and potential abusers. They are self-satisfied and complacent, with a strange idea that there is something alive inside them or that they are fragile. They are neglected children and full of guilt.                   PETER CHAPPELL

Specifically the plant stimulates resident macrophages or dust cells within the alveoli. These specialized cells are at the center of the lung’s infection-fighting process.

Like the plant’s aromatics, which are excreted and therefore dispersed throughout the lungs, serve to inoculate the area with antimicrobial/immune-stimulating constituents.                      C. W. KANE

 

MYTHS AND LEGENDS

Fox was tired and hungry. He sat down under a large Arbor Vitae on a hill and watched. Presently, he saw some prairie dogs coming up the hill, so he stretched out and played dead. One of the dogs spied him and cried out. “Look fellows, old Fox is dead, let’s dance on him”. One of the dogs had a drum. He began to beat the drum and the dogs danced around the fox. But some were not sure and pinched and poked at the fox but he did not move. Suddenly, Fox jumped up and attacked them and killed them all. Then he dug a hole and buried them. After that he built a fire on top to roast them. While they were cooking, he tried to see how fast he could run.

He ran fast but he wanted to run faster. So he stripped some bark from the Arbor Vitae and tied it to his tail. Then he said, “If I set fire to the bark, I’ll run faster.” He did run faster but the fire crept up to this fur and scorched him. He rolled in the earth and then ran even faster. That is why foxes are always running and why they are afraid of fire.

GUILLET

Xuya (Raven) went fishing with his cousin, Eagle. He was only able to catch red cod, whose flesh was dry, whereas Eagle caught a black cod, which was full of grease. When they roasted their fish, Xuya asked to taste Eagle’s and, being jealous, said it tasted like cedar. He told Eagle that a stump might approach him and that the flavour of his fish would improve if he rubbed it on the face of this stump. Eagle sensed a trick and, when a stump did come up to him, instead of rubbing his fish on it, he put red hot rocks on it.

The “stump” retreated, and shortly afterwards, Xuya appeared with cedar bark and a noticeably blackened face. Eagle suggested that something must have burned his face, but Xuya denied it, saying that bark had fallen on it. SWANTON

We call the red cedar bark ceremony ceqa. If we refer to someone as being ceqa, it means a person who is doing whatever chore they’re doing very slowly and very pompously—regally, yes, very regally.

And you could call a person ceqa, like if you’re in a hurray to go somewhere and you’re taking your sweet time, they will say that you’re ceqa,meaning that you’re taking it slow and regally, not in a hurry for anything.      NANCY TURNER

 

RECIPES

TINCTURE T. orientalis seed- 1-4 ml. Prepare 1:5 with crushed seed and 40% alcohol.

T. plicata/T. occidentalis fresh leaf tincture- 10-30 drops as needed. Make the fresh tincture at 1:2 40% alcohol. You can also make a fresh leaf glycerite with 1:2 with 50% glycerin, 40% water and 10% alcohol. This is better for application to tender areas.

For bladder cancer, use four parts T. occidentalis tincture to six parts of water.

DOSE – One teaspoon every 3 hours. At 30% alcohol, thujone content will be about 2.79 mg/g and at 90% this increases to 7.88.

COLD INFUSION - T. plicata or T. occidentalis-2-3 ounces up to three times daily. Thujone content is only 0.63 mg/kg from water infusions.

DECOCTION T. orientalis seed- 3-9 grams or leaf- 3-18 grams. For chronic bronchitis, tuberculosis etc, take 30 grams of fresh leaf and boil in cup of water, until reduced to 100 ml. Mix with 10 ml of honey and give 15-20 ml three times daily. The seed should be yellowish white, and look fully and oily. Crush.

FIBROADENOMA –Take two parts each of a tincture of Echinacea angustifolia, Scutellaria laterifolia and Paeonia lactiflora; and one part T. occidentalis.

DOSE - 5 ml. three times daily in water.

OINTMENT –Use one part of thuja essential oil to ten parts unpetroleum jelly. Apply to affected ulcerated areas of rectum, including anal warts.

DE-FATTED BIOTA SEEDS – Dry in sun, Remove husks and reduce seeds to paste. Place between two pieces of blotting paper, and expose to sun, or press mechanically. Repeat until oil is removed. This helps quiet the spirit without causing diarrhea.

CAUTION – Do not use during pregnancy or with kidney weakness. According to some traditional herbalists, oriental cedar seed should not be combined with Chrysanthemum flowers. It should be avoided in those with loose stools or phlegm disorders. 

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