The technical/scientific name of this type of Thuja is Thuja occidentalis which is basically a coniferous tree, but not normally a very tall one. When crushed Thuja leaves emit quite a pleasant smell reminiscent of crushed Eucalyptus leaves, but a little sweeter. This smell comes from some of the constituents of its essential oil, predominantly some variants of thujone. The chief constituents of this oil are terpineol, fenchone, delta sabinene, camphone, camphene, bornyl acetate, beta thujone, alpha thujone and alpha pinene. This essential oil is produced by steam distillation from its twigs/needles/leaves.
This sweet, sharp, woodsy aromatic is traditionally used to cleanse and disinfect, enhance conscious thought, calm and ease inflammation, clarify congested respiratory systems and repel insects. It was (and still is) used by Native American Indians during sacred ceremonies and for its medicinal properties, which is why it is sometimes known as 'Grandmother Cedar'.
Diana Beresford-Kroeger from Arboretum America writes in 'A Philosophy of the Forest', "Studding the scaly leaves and small branchlets are tear shaped glands just visible to the naked eye. These track the upper and underside of the fronds like tiny footprints. With the aid of a hand-lens the glands can be easily seen. They appear to hold one small teardrop of light yellow essential oil that has an opaque appearance. Injury with a thumbnail to this gland releases a strong and pleasant odor of sage mixed with camphor and a touch of lavender. This is the essential oil of white cedar. It is but a part, but not all of the tree's living pharmacy".
Other Benefits of Cedar Leaf, White Thuja essential oil include being used to address coughs, cystitis, warts, moles and other skin eruptions,(e.g skin tags), abnormal cellular growths, some forms of skin cancers, and polyps.