Cedar trees are viewed as being very sacred by Northwest indigenous cultures, and are often harvested for many different purposes. Pretty much all the parts of a cedar tree can be utilized for something. The roots, bark, wood, and withes have been used for practical as well as ceremonial uses. Curious to know some of these neat uses of cedar? Read on to discover 5 of them!
Use # 1: Baskets
Want to make your own baskets? The roots of the cedar tree can be harvested, dried, and braided to make some fantastic baskets. When braided well enough, the baskets can be made water proof as well as heat proof. These properties make these baskets great for cooking and boiling water.
Use # 2: Essential Oil
Cedar wood essential oil is one of my favorite oils because of its fresh forest scent, and its crazy amount of uses. Some of its well-known uses include aromatherapy, healing aliments of the body, insect control, and adding a nice smell to homemade cleaning and body care products. I use this oil in my own deodorant recipe. Cedar oil is very strong, so it is highly recommended that you properly dilute it with some type of carrier oil before using it.
Use # 3: Medicine
Cedar has been used as a medicine for both the body and the spirit. A few Native American Northwest tribes have used red cedar for such things as a cough remedy, cold treatment, stomach pain relief, tuberculosis, fever reducer, arthritis, and many other medicinal purposes. Some native tribes have also used cedar for spiritual medicine through a ritual known as smudging in order to purify and cleanse their spirits of negative energy. According to the University of British Columbia, Yellow Cedar bark contained anti-inflammatory properties and was used to dress wounds.
Use # 4: Rope
Certain layers from the bark of cedar can be used to make rope or cordage. The fiber for making rope is found in the inner layer of cedar bark. It comes off in long strips, which are then dried and carefully braided to make strong rope. Handy to know if you are ever in a situation where you need to make rope.
Use # 5: Hats
The inner bark of the cedar tree can also be used to weave and create hats as well. The ancestors of the Samish Indian Nation located in Northwest America used to make hats out of cedar to protect their heads from the rain and sun. Hats are still woven today for ceremonial purposes by the Samish Nation to honor their ancestors.
Cedar trees exist all over the world and they have way more uses than just the five I mentioned above. It is very important to know that when purchasing or harvesting cedar, you should try to ensure that it comes from a sustainable source only. By purchasing sustainably sourced cedar or cedar products, you are helping to prevent the over utilization of the cedar tree and deforestation.