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What Are the Medical Uses of Cedrus Deodara?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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Cedrus deodara, also known by the common name Himalayan cedar, is a type of pine tree that can be found growing in the Himalayan mountains, at elevations ranging between 5,905.5 to 9,842.5 feet (1800 to 3000 meters). Cedrus deodara is the national tree of Pakistan, and it has long been considered sacred by Hindus. It generally prefers temperatures above -13° Fahrenheit (-25° Celsius), and is popular in its native region as an decorative tree. The wood, leaves, sap, and bark of the Cedrus deodara are used medicinally in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It's used to treat fevers, intestinal complaints, skin disorders, stomach ulcers, paralysis, inflammatory disorders, and kidney stones.

The wood of the Cedrus deodara is also a valuable construction material. The wood's anti-fungal, insect-repellent, and anti-bacterial properties generally make it naturally resistant to decay. The wood has traditionally been used to build temples and houseboats, and pieces of the wood are sometimes used to prevent decay in stored items.

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The essential oil of Cedrus deodara is often applied to the hooves of livestock, like camels and cattle, as a means of protecting the animals from insect bites. The oil has also been used to treat respiratory complaints, particularly the common cold and persistent coughs. The tree's bark may be powdered and used as a treatment for dysentery and diarrhea. The powdered bark of this tree has also been used to treat both recurring and persistent fevers, as well as gastric ulcers. Oil extracted from the bark and twigs of the Cedrus deodara has been used in the making of astringent substances for the treatment of skin complaints.

Practitioners of traditional Ayurvedic medicine believe that the bark, leaves, wood and sap of the Himalayan cedar can have anti-inflammatory, expectorant and diuretic properties. The tree is also used medicinally to relieve intestinal gas. It is said to support digestive health and to detoxify the lower intestines.

Sap and oil of the Himalayan cedar are often used to remedy skin complaints, such as psoriasis and eczema. The plant is said to help treat edema, or water retention, by stimulating urination and perspiration. It may also have anti-fungal properties. Incense is often made from the fragrant heartwood of this tree, and its aroma is sometimes used in aromatherapy. Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine typically advise pregnant women to avoid the use of this remedy.

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