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Cupressus sempervirens

Native to southern Europe, cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) is an evergreen tree of the Cupressaceae family that may reach forty metres.

Its leaves form triangular scales measuring two to six millimetres in length, arranged in pairs; they persist over two to four years. Its crown is pointed in the stricta variety or pyramidal in the pyramidalis variety. The male and female inflorescences are in the shape of cones. The female cones reach maturity eighteen to twenty four months after pollination.

Main aromatic molecules: Monoterpenes (δ-3-carene, α-pinene), sesquiterpenes and sesquiterpenols (cedrol).
Family: Cupressaceae.
Producing organs: Leafy branches.
Yield: 200 to 500g of essential oil per 100kg of twigs.
Equivalence: 1ml → 32 drops (dosage calculated for a calibrated dropper European Pharmacopoeia).


Skin application

Oral route

Like most healing plants, cypress has its own legend. Ovid mentions in his Metamorphoses, that Cyparissus, ”the most beautiful mortal of the island of Cos”, accidentally killed a magnificent stag while hunting. Overwhelmed, he implored the gods to make him die, he was transformed into a tree. ”We will miss you, said Apollo, but you will become the tree of mourning and tombs.” The cypress did not just hold this cemetery keeper role. A tablet dating from 2080 B.C., discovered in the Ur site in Chaldea, gives a receipt to a merchant for a ”cypress scented oil ointment”. In the 7th century B.C., the poetess Sappho, infatuated with a beautiful friend, praises ”the proud scent of cypress that she spreads on her beautiful curls”. And Herodotus mentions in his Inquiries that Scythian women from what is now Ukraine ”grate cypress wood over a rough stone” to prepare their beauty masks.


Extracts from the book ’Aromatherapia – All about essential oils’, by Isabelle Pacchioni, watercolors by Patrick MORIN, Aroma Thera Editions . Extracts from the book ’41 essential oils essential for treating yourself differently’ and ’48 essential oils which every home needs to be healthy’ by Isabelle Delaleu and Isabelle Pacchioni, Publications of the Mandadori France group. Botanical illustrations by Agathe Haevermans.

The properties, benefits and method of use are given for information; they cannot in any case constitute or replace medical information that only health professionals can provide. For any use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes, please consult your GP or pharmacist.

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