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Cedar

Cedar

Cedrus

Cedar is of immense medicinal importance. It is used to serve the asthmatic patients to reduce the inflammation of airways.

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names:
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: Yes
  • Parts Used: Leaves
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About Cedar

Cedars are phenomenally huge trees with a plethora of ecological and cultural merits. The true cedars are members of the Pinaceae family, residing in the Cedrus genus. The dimorphic branching structure and dense clusters of needle-like evergreen leaves give cedar tree their signature aesthetic look. The leaves are capable of defending themselves from sunburns by producing a waxy layer.

The cedar tree is mentioned time and again in the Bible and is held as a symbol of fruitfulness and strength. The cedar tree has endured tumultuous periods in history. It is a favorite among poets and writers where they metaphorically use it to describe strength and longevity. Its red-tinged wood is highly insect-repellent and decay-resistant.

Cedar is of immense medicinal importance. It is used to serve the asthmatic patients to reduce the inflammation of airways. Cedar is also fruitful when it comes to treating pruritus, infested wounds, arthritis, high fever, and headache. The decoction of the heartwood of the cedar tree is turning in to impart many other benefits like curing flatulence, piles, urinary disorders, kidney stones, diabetes, insomnia, and high sugar levels. Cultural tribes utilized it as an antidote for snake bites. Traditionally, the Ayurvedic system documents it to be potent in combatting tuberculosis.

The needles of cedar are packed with limonene, eugenol, anethole, caryophyllene, linalool, and phenolic compounds to help provide armor against various ailments.

Growing

Cedar can be grown anytime but spring and fall are considered to provide favorable opportunities for its growth as the plant poses itself dormant during these seasons.

Cedar is a trouble-free plant if it is given the space and conditions it requires. The plant can be brought indoors during winters but it is better to keep it outdoors and let it outshine in the landscape. Killing the tree just for the sake of using its beauty for enhancing the indoor scenery is not a good idea.

Although it can be grown indoors, to witness it flourishing it is advised to grow it outdoors. The seeds of cedar are stratified for one week and broadcasted. The seeds are vigilantly provided with water and sun exposure to kick-start their germination.

As for a containerized plant, the pot must be placed in an area where the temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and the potting media must be completely drenched for easy germination.

Cedar is an evergreen plant that can reach a magnificent height of 110 feet. The seeds quickly germinate within 10 to 20 days and soon give out shoots with true yet tender needles.

However, the plant is slow to grow after sprouting .i.e. 10inches per year. From October to November, cedar flashes its blooms. With December comes the phase of pollination that continues till March at most. Those minute pollens are pollinated through insects with surgical precision and pave way for the formation of barrel-shaped cones that houses seeds.

Upon drying, the cones drop down all the while dispersing their seeds that can germinate in the wild to blow life for another cedar plant.

Harvesting

Cedar bark and needles are best to harvest in spring. The cones reach their maturity when they pose either yellow-green or yellow to golden brown color.

The leaves and cones can be harvested by employing sharp gardening shears whereas the barks are peeled with sharp knives.

The cedar barks are sundried for at least three years and pounded heavily to make clothing. The needles are dried in a dark and dry area, chopped, and preserved in an airtight container. As for cones, they are dried in sun to help loosen up the seeds for sowing.

Usage

The aerial parts of the cedar tree are used widely in the preparation of different medicinal products to help combat a wide array of ailments.

  • Tincture -  Infuse freshly chopped cedar needles in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place. 
  • Tea - A teaspoon of dried and crushed cedar leaves are steeped in hot boiling water for around 10 minutes. Some maple syrup can be added to enhance its flavor.
  • Decoction - Around two cups of dried cedar leaves are boiled in 4 cups of water until the volume of water reduces to half. The decoction is filtered twice and consumed for inflammatory conditions.
  • Salve - The infused oil of cedar is combined with melted beeswax pellets to formulate a wound healing salve.
  • Syrup - Fresh or dried cedar leaves, granulated sugar, and water are boiled altogether until the sugar vanishes to for cedar syrup.
  • Infused oil - Dried cedar leaves are infused in olive oil or grapeseed oil to yield cedar-infused oil.