Western Red Cedar

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Medicinal Plants, Pacific Northwest

Western Red Cedar, BC Coastal Region
Western Red Cedar, Photo By Bud Logan

The Western Red Cedar is a large tree, up to 60 meters tall when mature, with drooping branches and the trunk often spreading out widely at the base. It typically occurs at low to mid elevations along the coast and in the wet belt of the Interior, where the climate is cool, mild, and moist. Western red cedar grows best in moist to wet soils, with lots of nutrients. It is tolerant of shade and long lived, sometimes over 1,000 years.

western red cedar
western red cedar , photo by Bud Logan

You can make tea, tincture or cold infusion from the boughs, cones and buds. You can boil boughs to make a tuberculosis treatment, chew bough buds for sore lungs, the tea is a cough remedy for the treatment of colds.

You can leaf buds to relieve toothache pain. Make an infusion to treat stomach pain and diarrhea, kidney complaints, treat fever or use a weak infusion internally to treat rheumatism and arthritis. chew the inner bark of a small tree to bring about delayed menstruation.

You can make a poultice of boughs to treat rheumatism, or bronchitis, make a poultice of oil from inner bark to treat skin diseases, including topical fungal infections and warts or use shredded bark to cauterize and bind wounds. Extracts of Western Red Cedar have been shown to have antibacterial properties against common bacteria.

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