An essential oil distilled from the leaves of Juniperus virginiana, Linné (Nat. Ord.—Coniferae), Red cedar.
SYNONYM: Oil of cedar leaves (American).
Preparation, History, and Description.—This oil is prepared by distillation of the tops and leaves of red cedar with water. Messrs. Schimmel & Co. (Report, April, 1898) state that commercial cedar oil is liable to be found admixed with oil from the leaves of Thuja occidentalis, because this is also called cedar in the United States, though distinguished as White cedar; also the leaves of other coniferae are said to be used by distillers of cedar oil. A number of commercial oils examined, varied in specific gravities from 0.863 to 0.920, in optical rotation from -3° 40' to -24° 10'; some were soluble in 4 or 5 volumes of 70 per cent alcohol, others were not. A genuine oil, distilled by the same authorities (yield 0.2 per cent), had the following properties: Specific gravity 0.887, optical rotation +59° 25'. Not soluble in 10 parts of 80 per cent alcohol. The fraction below 180° C. (356° F.) constituting the larger portion, consisted chiefly of dextro-limonene; the higher fractions yielded cadinene, some borneol, and small quantities of bornyl esters (Gildemeister and Hoffmann, Die Etherischen Oele, p. 358).
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Internally this oil is stimulant and emmenagogue, possessing properties similar to those of the oil of savin; however, it is very seldom administered internally. It is chiefly used as a rubefacient, and forms an excellent application in inflammatory rheumatism and other painful affections, either alone or combined with other articles to form a liniment. The dose, internally, is from 2 to 10 drops on sugar.
Related Oil.—OIL OF CEDAR WOOD. Florida. Distilled from the wood of Juniperus virginiana, Linné. Light or greenish-yellow, thickish, having an agreeable and characteristic odor, and a specific gravity of 0.940 to 0.960. Its optical rotation is from -20° to -40°. It is largely employed in perfuming soaps, and is also employed as an adulterant of oil of sandal. Its constituents are cedar camphor (cedrol, C15H26O), melting at 84° C. (183.2° F.) (Rousset, 1897), and cedrene (C15H24)
King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.