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Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)


Cupressus sempervirens

Native to southern Europe, cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) is an evergreen tree of the Cupressaceae family that may reach forty metres.

Its leaves form triangular scales measuring two to six millimetres in length, arranged in pairs; they persist over two to four years. Its crown is pointed in the stricta variety or pyramidal in the pyramidalis variety. The male and female inflorescences are in the shape of cones. The female cones reach maturity eighteen to twenty four months after pollination.


Main aromatic molecules: Monoterpenes (δ-3-carene, α-pinene), sesquiterpenes and sesquiterpenols (cedrol).
Family: Cupressaceae.
Producing organs: Leafy branches.
Yield: 200 to 500g of essential oil per 100kg of twigs.
Equivalence: 1ml → 32 drops (dosage calculated for a calibrated dropper European Pharmacopoeia).

  • Bath Bath
  • Skin application Skin application
  • Oral route Oral route

Main properties

Versatile, anti-infectious and anti-bacterial, essential oil of cypress is a remarkable cough suppressant. An excellent phlebotonic, it improves circulation in case of varicose veins or haemorrhoids. A venous, lymphatic, prostatic and uterine decongestant, it fights against menstrual pains or premenstrual syndrome (hyperoestrinism) and oedema. It is an excellent anti-cellulite weapon. It also balances the body in case of fatigue or asthaenia and regulates excessive transpiration. In Corsica, its leaves were used in the past as plasters on wounds and fritters were prepared "against worms".

Find all the virtues and uses of essential oils in our tips section.


For use from the age of 15, dilute 2 drops of cypress and black spruce essential oil in 1 teaspoon of black cumin vegetable oil. Apply by massaging on the chest and upper back, 3 times a day.

Nervous fatigue
Spread 5 drops of cypress essential oil diluted in 2 capfuls of a neutral bath and shower base in a warm bath. Recipe suitable for adults and children from 15 years old.

Circulation disorders (heavy legs, haemorrhoids and varicose veins)
Mix drops of cypress essential oil, 5 drops of calophylla vegetable oil and 10 drops of macadamia vegetable oil. Use as a local application or gentle massage of the legs
(from bottom to top, from ankle to knee). Recipe for adults only.

cultivation and production

Cupressus sempervirens grows in very different soils, its growth is rapid and lives for a long time. It is resistant to heat and can withstand bitter cold. It is cultivated in France (Provence), Italy, Spain, Portugal and the Maghreb (Algeria).


The scent of Cupressus sempervirens oils is resinous, potent and persistent.

extraction and yield

Essential oil of cypress is obtained by total distillation of young branches using steam distillation. The yield varies between 0.2% and 0.5%, i.e. two hundred to five hundred grams per hundred kilograms of plant.

Chemical formula

Essential oil of cypress is primarily composed of monoterpenes (delta-3-carene, pinenes) and some sesquiterpenes (approximately 10%). Cedrol is present at about 0.8% to 1%.

Precautions for use

Essential oil of cypress must be taken by oral route by prescription only. It must not be used pure on the skin.

Do not use in: pregnant or breast-feeding women, children under the age of three years, persons allergic to one of the components (geraniol, linalool, limonene), subjects with asthma without the advice of an allergologist before the first use, persons suffering from hormone-dependent cancer (uterus, ovary, breast, prostate).

Like most healing plants, cypress has its own legend. Ovid mentions in his Metamorphoses, that Cyparissus, "the most beautiful mortal of the island of Cos", accidentally killed a magnificent stag while hunting. Overwhelmed, he implored the gods to make him die, he was transformed into a tree. "We will miss you, said Apollo, but you will become the tree of mourning and tombs." The cypress did not just hold this cemetery keeper role. A tablet dating from 2080 B.C., discovered in the Ur site in Chaldea, gives a receipt to a merchant for a "cypress scented oil ointment". In the 7th century B.C., the poetess Sappho, infatuated with a beautiful friend, praises "the proud scent of cypress that she spreads on her beautiful curls". And Herodotus mentions in his Inquiries that Scythian women from what is now Ukraine "grate cypress wood over a rough stone" to prepare their beauty masks.


Extracts from the book 'Aromatherapia - All about essential oils', by Isabelle Pacchioni, watercolors by Patrick MORIN, Aroma Thera Editions . Extracts from the book '41 essential oils essential for treating yourself differently' and '48 essential oils which every home needs to be healthy' by Isabelle Delaleu and Isabelle Pacchioni, Publications of the Mandadori France group. Botanical illustrations by Agathe Haevermans.

The properties, benefits and method of use are given for information; they cannot in any case constitute or replace medical information that only health professionals can provide. For any use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes, please consult your GP or pharmacist.
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