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Arborvitae Essential Oil: Uses, Benefits and Precautions

Arborvitae (Thuja Plicata), meaning Tree of Life, is steam distilled from the Giant Arborvitae tree, a tree highly revered and used by Native Canadians for canoes, baskets, and so much more. Its long lifespan would normally mean that it's difficult to harvest sustainably, but it's closely watched by Green Peace and replanted in abundance to ensure its sustainability. It's aroma is deep and earthy, usually loved or hated with very little in-between.

Arborvitae essential oil has a high content of tropolones, a group of chemical compounds that protect against environmental and seasonal threats, have powerful purifying properties, and promote healthy cell function. Hinokitiol, one of the tropolones in Arborvitae, protects the body from harmful elements while supporting normal cell activity. This compound also contributes to Arborvitae’s natural insect repellent properties. Thujic acid, another tropolone found in Arborvitae, has been studied for its ability to protect against common threats in the environment.

Primary Benefits

  • Protects against environmental and seasonal threats
  • Promotes healthy cell function
  • Powerful cleansing and purifying agent
  • Natural insect repellent and wood preservative

Emotional Benefits

Emotionally, Arborvitae has been used for centuries by Natives to promote grounding, calming, and spiritual trust. Like all tree oils, it can help us stand strong and stable. It also helps those of us who feel like everything is or has to be a struggle, or that we must do things ourselves without help (hmm, maybe that's why I didn't care for the aroma!). It can help a person process through control issues, rigidity, trust, fighting with reality, courage, and more.

Complimentary Oils:

Arborvitae blends well with Birch, Cedarwood, Cassia and Eucalyptus essential oils.

Depending on your uses for this oil, substitutes may include: Melaleuca, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, or Oregano.

How to use Arborvitae Essential Oil:

Traditionally, arborvitae essential oil uses these application guidelines. Click the banner to understand what each symbol means and to learn how each is used safely and effectively:

How to use essential oils!
Adults Children/Sensitive Pregnancy

Precautions of Arborvitae Essential Oil

Possible skin sensitivity. Keep out of reach of children. If you are pregnant, nursing, or under a doctor’s care, consult your physician. Avoid contact with eyes, inner ears, and sensitive areas.

Popular Uses of Arborvitae Essential Oil

  • Apply 1–2 drops to areas of concern on the skin.
  • Add a few drops to a spray bottle with water and spray on surfaces or hands to protect against environmental threats.
  • Apply to pulse points to promote healthy cell function.
  • Diffuse to purify the air and to repel insects inside the home.
  • Inhale 1 drop from the palms, diffuse as desired, or massage over the energy centers of the body for emotional balance
  • For Respiratory support, massage 1 drop over the throat and chest every few hours.
  • For control issues, diffuse as desired or massage topically over the solar plexus and heart. (Secretly pump it through the vents for the control freaks in your life.)

Inspiration for Using Arborvitae Essential Oil

  • Mix 4 drops of Arborvitae essential oil and 2 drops of Lemon essential oil for a natural wood preservative and polish.
  • DIY Bug Repellent: Combine 20 drops each of Eucalyptus and Lemongrass, and 3 drops of Arborvitae in a 4oz spray bottle and top with witch hazel. Shake, spray, and enjoy! SO much better the other toxic sprays.
  • For a calming, mood enhancing blend try diffusing 2 drops each Arborvitae, Sandalwood and Wild Orange essential oils.


Not all oils are created equal. Because of a lack of industry standards and a lack of regulation on terms such as "natural" or "pure", much of what you find at the drug store is NOT a therapeutic grade of essential oil and may lack real quality or even contain contaminants or adulterants (way more common than you'd think).

A LOT goes into creating a high quality essential oil. A good brand should follow these guidelines:

  • Proper plant varieties
  • Each plant grown indigenously for the healthiest plant
  • Grown without chemical pesticides, herbicides, etc
  • Harvested with precise timing to ensure peak properties
  • Extracted with proper temp and pressure to preserve oil molecules
  • Third-party testing of every batch
  • Stand behind the internal use of their oils

Beginner's Guide to Application and Precautions, from SustainableBabySteps.com

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