I was happily surprised to find out that the conifers in my garden, one taller than the other, were in fact cedars. And for a reason. Lebanese cedar trees require a cool climate to thrive and my property is perched on a hill at around 400 m above sea level. They were already more than 30 years old and had grown taller than our building. This is quite normal: the cedar of Lebanon not only can live for hundreds of years, sometimes even millennia; it also can reach 40 or more meters in height. Aside from being our national emblem, the Cedar of Lebanon supplies so many perks. Hereafter, the most common ones.
This coniferous tree has seen civilizations rise and fall in the Middle East. It is an amazing windbreak with its imposing stature and helps a lot in preventing soil erosion and loves the sun. It can soak up a lot of water and can avert light flooding in wetlands for example. Cedar mulch is awesome as it not only helps retain moisture but equally shies away pests and insects because of its aromatic qualities. Beware of woodworms, aphids, and some moths, which enjoy feasting on its bark though. The durability of the wood makes for sturdy furniture or construction material, and it is said to have been utilized in the construction of Phoenician ships and temples and its resin was part of the embalming process by the ancient Egyptians. The specificity of the Cedar of Lebanon type is that it stands tall with its crown wide and seemingly tilted to look like a small platform or umbrella, rather than a straight-up cone.
The Cedar of Lebanon has also medicinal and therapeutic properties. Historically, Jewish priests used the bark of Cedar to treat leprosy and burned cedar wood on the Mount of Olives to announce the beginning of a new year. Glycerine macerate is a natural remedy for psoriasis. The extract obtained from the bark provides anti-catarrhal and antibacterial attributes. Cedarwood essential oil is an anti-inflammatory prescribed to treat hair loss, insomnia, and other ailments. It helps improve focus, inhibits bacterial growth, and repels insects. It can reduce arthritis, eliminate phlegm through the lungs and relieve chest infections. It is a natural deodorizer and air freshener. It can reduce stress levels and alleviate tension. It kills fungus and might even cure acne. As a tea, cedar helps reduce fever and rheumatic symptoms. Be careful if you are a pregnant or breastfeeding woman, or if you have sensitive skin, prone to allergies, and consult your doctor before any medical use.
Happy gardening 🌱🌲