Thuja occidentalis

Thuja occidentalis                                  Common name: Thuja, White Cedar

Family: Cupressaceae

Part used: Leaf & Bark

Constituents: Polysaccharides & glycoprotein, Volatile oil (1.4-4%): thujone (alpha-thujone, 59%), (beta-thujone, 7-10%), fenchone (10-15%), Flavonoids (quercitin, amentoflavone)

Actions: Antiseptic, Immune stimulant, Emmenagogue

Medical uses:

  • Is used for respiratory tract infections including Strep throat and bronchitis.
  • In conjunction with antibiotics has been used in the treatment  of bacterial skin infections and Herpes Simplex Virus.
  • Used in external applications for treating warts, pains in the joints, arthritis and muscular rheumatism.


  • Stem bark of showed strong inhibitory effects on Epstein-Barr virus early antigen activation.  Was also found to exhibit the excellent anti-tumor promoting activity in two-stage mouse skin cancer.
  • Polysaccharides were shown to be an inducer of the CD4+ cells in human peripheral blood. It was also demonstrated to be a potent inhibitor of the expression of HIV-1-specific antigens and of the HIV-1-specific reverse transcriptase.
  • Induces IL-1 beta, IL-2, IL-3, IL-6, gamma-IFN, G-CSF, GM-CSF, and TNF-beta production in PBL cultures; and IL-1 beta and IL-6 in monocyte/ macrophage cultures.

Pharmacy: Pulse dosing internal (due to thujone). Topical Use.

Contraindications: Pregnancy due to emmenagogue and abortifacient effects (empirical).

Toxicity: EO causes cramping & GI distress. Caution against prolonged use due to cumulative toxicity of thujone (neurotoxic).

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