Cade Oil

Cade Oil (Juniperus oxycedrus)


By Hwaa Irfan

Not to be confused with the common Juniperus cummunis from which the eatable juniper berries come from, Juniperus oxycedrus has many sub-species. The habitat of Juniperus oxycedrus are coastal sandy hills, scrubs and hilly forests. Known as cade/prickly/red berry juniper, zeder wacholder (German), cedre piquant (French), Anoater dua in Fante, Darusita in Sanskrit, dar chini in Farsi, aaraar, taga in Arabic, and taqqa in Berber. Ancient Egyptians used Cade oil for burial ceremonies. In Europe, it was widely used to fight deadly infections like typhoid and cholera

In the middle of the 19th century Cade oil was used in France to treat all forms of skin irritation including dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema. It was also used for horses to treat ulcers, scabies, worms and parasites.

This perennial evergreen conifer is of the Cupressaceae family of the plant kingdom, although there are 28 species of Juniperus. It varies in size from a low shrub to a tree depending on where it grows. Bearing tiny narrow prickly leaves, which are greener on the underside, it survives well during a drought leaving little surface area from which moisture can escape from, and this gives an indication in healthcare. The male plant is more likely to bear only flowers. The flowers turn to round cones, which are yellow, and round, but then form fruits that grow in clusters as red berries which darken as they ripen over a period of 2 years.

The oil is extracted by means of steam distillation from young twigs, and the wood of mature plants. The oil has a resinous quality, is reddish-dark brown in color, and has a smoky smell, but freshly produced oil is clear to pale yellow. Rectified Cade Oil is used as a fragrance in soaps, detergents, creams, lotions, and perfumes. It is cultivated for commercial purposes in South France

Adulteration occurs as a result of adding pine, birch, petrol or tar limiting the use of cade oil as these adulterations prevent possible use on the skin.

Chemical Properties

Cade  essential oil contains over 60 bioactive ingredients, which includes:

  • A-pinene (leaf)
  • Dihydrochloride
  • Manoyl oxide (leaf)
  • A-pinene (unripe berries)
  • Myrcene
  • Limonene (unripe berries)
  • Germacrene D/ γ-muurolene (unripe berries).
  • Creosol
  • Guaiacol
  • Cadinene
  • Terpenes
  • Calamenene
  • Geranyl acetone
  • 13-epimanoyl oxide
  • Phellandrene
  • Carene
  • Eudesma
  • Cymene
  • Muurolene
  • Occidentalol
  • Bifloratriene
  • Kaurene
  • · Abietadiene

Cade essential oil is rich in sesquiterpenes e.g cardinene, and phenols e.g. cresol, and guaiacol. Sesquiterpenes are known for their bioactive efficacy as anti-tumors, anti-leukaemic, and as antimicrobial as well as being effective in the case of skin allergies. Phenols are antioxidants, which are important in preventing cell deterioration through the process of oxidization. The specific role of phenols are its antimicrobial activity. When a German research team investigated the Pharaonic secret of mummification in 2003, and how that process has lasted for thousands of years. There was a difference of opinion as to whether the vital ingredient was present in juniper, or cedarwood. That vital ingredient was guaiacol, which is a juniperus oxycedrus phenol.

Therapeutic Properties

Cade essential oil has an earthy smokey aroma. The therapeutic properties identified so far are:

  • Abortifacient
  • Analgesic
  • Anti-dandruff
  • Antiseptic
  • Anti-parasitic
  • Antimicrobial
  • Insecticide
  • Vulnerary

For glossary see It All Makes Good Scents

Cade can be found in hair products due to its ability to purify and correct imbalances, as well as in face and hand care products that protect those parts of the body from the wind and the sun. As a vermifuge Cade oil kills worms, and as an antibacterial, anti-fungal, bitter almond oil kills bacterial and fungal infections.


  • Diabetes.
  • Diarrhea, Peptic ulcer disease
  • High blood pressure.
  • Bronchitis, Pneumonia.
  • Itching, Psoriasis, Eczema, Skin infections caused by parasites, Wounds
  • Dandruff, Hair loss.

In aromatherapy, Cade essential oil is more likely to be used as an ingredient of a linament/ointment for chronic skin cases including parasitic infections. In Aromatherapy Cade essential oil is used to treat dry and problematic skin. When unadulterated the essential oil is good for hair loss, dadruff, hair weakened by dyeing and bleaching, and skin eruptions.


Cade essential oil is an extreme irritant if it is adulterated. As an abortifacient it should not be used during pregnancy or by those with kidney disease or other inflammatory conditions. Large amounts of this oil can have a reverse effect, causing retention, and it is considered to be a carcinogenic, and a neurotoxic.




The oil can only be used for external use, and when used it should be diluted by means of Carrier Oils like Sweet Almond Oil. Cade essential oil can be applied to the skin in cases of:

  • Psoriasis.
  • Eczema.
  • Skin infections caused by parasites.
  • Wounds.
  • Scalp conditions.
  • Dandruff.
  • Hair loss.
  • Cancers.
  • Other conditions.



Adams, R. P. “The Leaf Essential Oils and Taxonomy of Juniperus oxycedrus L. subsp. Oxycedrus. Badia, and subsp. Macrocarpa.” J. Essent. Oil Res., 11, 167 – 172 Mar/Apr. 1999

Burfield, T. “The Anatomy of Adulterations.”

“Cade (Juniperus Oxycedrus – Cupressaceae).”

Elaissi, M et al. “Leaf Oil of Juniperus oxycedrus L. (Cupressaceae) Harvested in Northern Tunisia: Composition and Intra-specific Variability.” Laboratoire de Pharmacognosie, Faculté de Pharmacie, Tunisia.  PMID: 20491081

“Juniperus oxycedrus.”

“Juniperus oxycedrus Oleum.”

Medini, H. Comparison of the Antimicrobial Activity and the Essential Oil Composition of Juniperus oxycedrus SUBSP macrocarpa and Juniperus oxycedrus SUBSP. Rufescens Obtained By Hydrodistillation and Supercritical Carbon Extraction Methods.” Chemistry of Natural Compounds, Vol. 45, No. 5, 2009

Sophiae, F. “Secret of Mummy Preservation”.


Aromatherapy Series:

It All Makes Good Scents!

Amber Oil

Angelica Root Oil

Anise Oil

Bath Oil

Basil Oil

Bay Oil

Bergamot Oil

Bitter Almond Oil

Bitter Orange Oil

Black Seed Oil

Calendula Oil

Carrier Oils

Cedarwood Oil

Cinnamon Oil


2 thoughts on “Cade Oil

  1. Pingback: 12 Cade Essential Oil Uses and Benefits That Will Surprise You – Essential Oils Informer

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