What is Blue Cypress?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Blue cypress may refer to several trees in the cypress family, but only one is used for essential oil. The oil of the Australian cypress Callitris intratropica is known as blue cypress essential oil or sometimes simply blue cypress. This essential oil has a number of uses, and several Australian firms produce it for export to people who live outside Australia. Health food stores often carry it, and it is also sometimes available through body care shops as well.

Blue cypress essential oil.
Blue cypress essential oil.

This essential oil is named for the distinctive blue tinge it has. Blue cypress trees have a distinctively aromatic and strongly resinous scent which is carried through in their essential oil. The oil can also smell smoky or earthy, depending on how it has been processed and handled. Like other essential oils, the oil is extracted through a process known as steam distillation, in which oil in the leaves and bark of the plant is forced out.

Blue cypress oil can help with dry, cracked skin.
Blue cypress oil can help with dry, cracked skin.

One are in which blue cypress oil can be used is skin care. The oil is soothing, and can help heal cracked, chafed, or dry skin. It is also an excellent moisturizer, and may be used alone or in oil blends and creams for routine body care to keep the skin hydrated. Blue cypress oil can also act as a carrier oil.

Blue cypress has been used as an herbal remedy for stomach upset.
Blue cypress has been used as an herbal remedy for stomach upset.

In its native Northern Australia, blue cypress has a long history of use as an insect repellent. The sharp-smelling oil tends to keep insects away, and can also be soothing for someone who is feeling itchy from insect bites. It also has antiinflammatory properties, and may be used on bruises and areas of inflammation to reduce swelling.

Preparations designed for internal use are used for stomach upset. When using blue cypress as an herbal remedy for consumption, it is very important to use oil which is clearly labeled as safe for internal use. Pure essential oil can cause irritation, and may contain stabilizers which make it unsafe to eat.

This essential oil is also used in aromatherapy. Blue cypress is believed to have calming properties which can help people with stress and anxiety. It can be used in an aromatherapy diffuser, during aromatherapy massage, or in incense which is formulated for use in aromatherapy. It may also be blended with a number of other herbs.

Many companies package blue cypress oil in blue containers. This is not done to reinforce the connection with the color blue, but rather because dark containers help to prevent oxidation which can damage the oil. This oil should be stored in glass which is blue, brown, or another dark color, and it should be kept in a cool, dry place out of the light.

The Australian cypress is native to the northern part of Australia.
The Australian cypress is native to the northern part of Australia.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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