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In many cultures, the cypress tree has represented eternal life, and Plato (c.429 – 347BC) referred to it as the symbol of immortality. The oil has a fresh, spicy aroma that many people find refreshing, and in ancient Greece it was customary to send tuberculosis patients into a cypress grove to breathe the air and ease their symptoms. Cypress oil is still used to treat respiratory complaints.

Therapeutic Properties.

Cypress was burned as incense in the ancient world for purification, and was used because of its anti – spasmodic properties to treat respiratory problems. In traditional Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine, it was recognised for its astringent effects.

In 1597 John Gerard, herbalist to King James I of England, wrote in ‘The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes’  that “the leaves and nuts are good to cure the rapture” and today the oil is used to treat haemorrhoids, varicose veins, broken capillaries and bruising. Since the 16th century, cypress has been advocated as an insect repellent. Gerard also advised people to ‘use the smoke of the leaves to drive away gnats… and the wood laid amongst garments preserveth against the moths.” 

Aches and Pains

Cypress is useful in massage blends to treat rheumatic aches; or in a cold compress when massage is inadvisable, for example in reducing the spread of recent bruising, on varicose veins, or when rheumatic joints are inflamed.

Respiratory Problems

Cypress is anti spasmodic. It eases coughs asthma, bronchitis and sore throats. Put a couple of drops on a handkerchief and inhale deeply.

Skin and Beauty 

Cypress is an astringent and is good for oily skin. The aroma of the cypress oil appeals particularly to men. Use in facial steaming, skin tonics or aftershaves. Often included in anti – cellulite blends. Helpful for people who suffer from sweaty feet. Add a couple of drops to a daily foot bath, or massage the feet with diluted oil.