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Hinoki Japanese Cypress Essential Oil

Chamaecyparis obtusa

Japanese Cypress

Average Rating:5 out of 5 Stars! (see reviews)

Essential Facts

Notes & Use

What Stillpoint "Nose"

Hinoki Essential Oil is new to us.  It is a wonderful alternative to using Cypress essential oil (Cuppressae sempriverens).  The aroma is a bit softer.  This Hinoki is distilled from the Needles.

Hinoki has been proven to induce a significant reduction in oxy-Hb concentration in the right prefrontal cortex and increased parasympathetic nervous activity when the olfactory route was the method of absorption.   These findings indicate that olfactory stimulation by Hinoki cypress leaf oil induces physiological relaxation.  All of this science mumbo jumbo means that Hinoki essential oil helps to increase parasympathetic activity, therefore, reducing stress and anxiety.
We have used Hinoki essential oil in formulations that are anti-bacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. 
It has awesome decongestant properties so it is very effective sinus congestion and respiratory issues. 
Hinoki essential oil is great in skin formulations because it is gentle and it adds regarded gentle on skin and it also has antiseptic, antifungal and antiviral properties for treating rashes, cuts, abrasions and minor skin irritations.
In sumarry:
  • Stress Reduction: Hinoki oil is often used in aromatherapy for its soothing, calming effects. The aroma is believed to reduce stress and anxiety, promote relaxation, and enhance mental clarity.
  • Respiratory Benefits: The oil is thought to have decongestant properties and can help with respiratory issues when inhaled, such as in a steam bath.
  • Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties: Hinoki wood contains phytoncides, which are organic compounds with antibacterial and antifungal properties. This is part of why the wood is so resistant to rot.
  • Skin Health: Hinoki oil is sometimes used in skincare for its potential antiseptic and astringent properties. It's believed to help with skin issues like minor cuts, rashes, and acne.
  • Relief from Muscle Tension: Hinoki oil is often added to bath water or used in massage oils for its potential to relieve muscle tension and promote relaxation.
  • Immune System Support: The phytoncides in hinoki are also thought to boost the immune system, particularly when inhaled in an aromatherapy context.

Traditional Use of Hinoki Japanese Cypress

Helping Alzheimer's Disease
  • Acetylcholinesterase is a thing in our body that helps send signals between our nerves and muscles. In Alzheimer's, a disease that hurts our memory, acetylcholinesterase can be found around damaging parts in the brain. Some research suggests that smelling C. obtusa oil can help with memory problems from Alzheimer's (Bae, 2012).
Helping Asthma
  • A study showed that C. Obtusa can help reduce signs of asthma in mice. However, some oils can make asthma worse, so we need to pick carefully. Hinoki oil mixed with other safe oils could be good for asthma (Young-Cheal, et al., 2015).
Fighting Infections
  • Some studies have shown that C. obtusa oil can help fight off some bacteria and fungi, including some tough types of bacteria (Bae, 2016; Lee, 2009).
Reducing Inflammation
  • Research has shown that C. obtusa oil can help with pain in the same way aspirin does, suggesting it could be good for pain and swelling (Park, 2015).
Reducing Anxiety
  • Some studies have shown that C. obtusa can help rats feel less anxious when they are away from their mothers. The oil seems to work by affecting certain parts of the brain. Smelling Hinoki oil can also make us feel more comfortable (Matin et al., 1993; Stillpoint Aromatics, 2017).
Promoting Hair Growth
  • Shampoos with Hinoki oils have been said to help hair grow. Research on animals has shown this to be true (Lee et al., 2010).
Boosting the Immune System
  • Studies have found that being in forests can help our bodies fight off diseases, and this effect can last more than a week. In one study, men who stayed in a room where C. obtusa oil was being diffused had better immune system performance and less stress (Li, 2009; forest therapy.net).
Insect Repellent
  • Tests have shown that C. obtusa oil can help keep fruit flies and house flies away, suggesting it could be a good and safe insect repellent. It could be used with other oils that also keep insects away (Lee et al., 2015).


  • Size: Hinoki is a slow-growing tree that can reach up to 35 meters (115 feet) in height, and its trunk can grow up to 1 meter (3 feet) in diameter.
  • Leaves: The leaves of the hinoki tree are scale-like, very small, and arranged in flattened sprays, giving the foliage a feathery appearance. They are typically dark green on the top side and have a whitish underside.
  • Bark: The bark of the hinoki tree is dark reddish-brown, often peeling off in long vertical strips, which adds to its visual appeal.
  • Cones: Hinoki produces small, globe-shaped cones that are about 8-12 millimeters (0.3-0.5 inches) in diameter. The cones are green when immature, turning brown as they mature and open up to release the seeds.
  • Wood: The wood of the hinoki tree is light, durable, and resistant to rot. It is highly valued for its pleasant lemon-like scent, beautiful straight grain, and natural oil content, which makes it less likely to shrink, warp, or crack.
  • Growth Conditions: Hinoki trees prefer well-drained soils and sunny or partially shaded sites. They are hardy and can tolerate different soil types but grow best in slightly acidic conditions.

The tree's slow growth and the quality of its wood have made it a significant tree in Japanese culture, often used in the construction of palaces, temples, shrines, and for the creation of Noh theatre masks and traditional Japanese baths. The essential oil from hinoki wood is used in aromatherapy for its soothing and stress-relieving properties.It is a slow-growing tree which grows to 35 m tall with a trunk up to 1 m in diameter. The bark is dark red-brown. The leaves are scale-like, 2–4 mm long, blunt tipped (obtuse), green above, and green below with a white stomatal band at the base of each scale-leaf. The cones are globose, 8–12 mm diameter, with 8–12 scales arranged in opposite pairs.


Energetic, Spiritual, and Emotional Qualities of Hinoki Japanese Cypress

Hinoki Essential Oil is a wonderful oil for both physical protection (against insects) as well a spiritual protector.  It is a great oil to use for meditation and connecting to your higher self.  It is calming and a bit of an antidepressant.   It also assists one in standing firm in their decisions as well as helping to clear (or decongest ) the mind.  It is also effective to clear a room of negative energy.  According to Valerie Worwood, diffusing Hinoke can changes the ionic balance to a more positive (ion) one.

  • Root Chakra:
    • The grounding properties of Hinoki can align with the Root Chakra, aiding in feelings of safety, stability, and connection to the physical world.
    • Incorporate Hinoki essential oil in a diffuser during meditation to enhance grounding.
  • Heart Chakra:
    • Hinoki's calming and stress-reducing properties can resonate with the Heart Chakra, promoting emotional well-being.
    • Use Hinoki oil during yoga or healing sessions to open or balance the Heart Chakra.
  • Third Eye Chakra:
    • The use of Hinoki for clarity and during meditation could be connected with the Third Eye Chakra, linked with intuition and inner wisdom.
    • Burn Hinoki essential oil in a diffuser during meditation for promoting clarity and insight.
  • Energetic Healing:
    • Use Hinoki essential oil in energy healing and Reiki practices to balance energy and promote a positive healing environment.
  • Purification Rituals:
    • Use Hinoki branches or essential oil in purification rituals to cleanse energy fields, align chakras, or purify crystals.
  • Sacred Construction:
    • Recognize the sacred nature of Hinoki wood in construction of temples, shrines, and palaces in Japan.
  • Meditation and Relaxation:
    • Use the scent of Hinoki wood and essential oil in meditation practices to promote calmness and relaxation.

Traditional Folklore

Hinoki, or Japanese cypress, has a rich cultural and historical significance in Japan and its folklore. It's revered as a sacred tree and is deeply interwoven with spiritual and religious beliefs and practices. 

It is grown for its very high-quality timber in Japan, where it is used as a material for building palaces, temples, shrines, traditional noh theatres, baths, table tennis blades, and masu. The wood is lemon-scented, light pinkish-brown, with a rich, straight grain, and is highly rot-resistant. 

In Japan Hinoki is known as the Holy Tree.  Hinoki wood is used as a traditional Japanese stick incense for its light, earthy aroma. Well-built hinoki structures can last 1000 years – and some buildings/artifacts are even older.   Horyuji Temple in Nara, Japan, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home to some of the oldest surviving wooden structures in the world – including its pagoda, built about 600 AD!

  • Sacred Construction: Hinoki wood has been used in the construction of sacred Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples for centuries. This is not only because of the wood's durability but also its spiritual significance. The most famous example is the Ise Grand Shrine in Japan, which is rebuilt every 20 years using Hinoki wood in accordance with Shinto beliefs of death and rebirth.
  • Symbol of Purity: In Shintoism, hinoki is considered a symbol of purity. Branches of hinoki are often used in purification rituals, and water buckets in shrines are typically made of hinoki wood.
  • Connection with Deities: The aromatic and durable wood of hinoki was believed to connect humans with kami, the Shinto deities. This is one of the reasons why it was used for building shrines where these deities were worshipped.
  • Imperial Significance: The wood was historically reserved for the imperial court, and its use was forbidden for the common people. Only the highest nobility and the imperial family had the privilege of using hinoki wood, making it a symbol of status and power.
  • Noh Theatre Masks: Hinoki wood is also used in the creation of Noh theatre masks. Noh is a traditional form of Japanese musical drama, and the masks, carved from hinoki, are considered masterpieces of Japanese art. They are believed to embody the spirits of the characters they represent.
  • Ritual Tools: In addition to being used in construction, hinoki wood is often used to create religious and ritual tools such as wooden wands (gohei) used in Shinto rituals. These wands are decorated with folded paper streamers and are used to bless or purify people, objects, and locations.
  • In Literature and Poetry: Hinoki is often mentioned in traditional Japanese poetry and literature, symbolizing elegance and longevity. It's associated with attributes like grace, nobility, and purity, reflecting its esteemed status in Japanese culture.
  • In Gardens and Bonsai: Hinoki trees are also an important part of Japanese gardens, representing peace and tranquility. Their shape, color, and scent contribute to the overall serene ambiance of the gardens. The dwarf varieties of hinoki are also popular in the art of bonsai for their attractive foliage and slow growth rate.
  • Onsen Baths: Onsen, or Japanese hot spring baths, often use hinoki wood for constructing the bath tubs. The wood's aromatic and water-resistant properties are highly valued for this purpose. Bathing in a hinoki tub is considered a luxurious experience, providing relaxation and a sense of harmony with nature.
  • Sacred Forests: The spiritual significance of hinoki extends to the forests where they grow. These forests, often surrounding Shinto shrines, are considered sacred, believed to be the dwelling places of kami, or spirits.
It's important to note that while these practices and beliefs are deeply meaningful within their cultural context, interpretations can vary and may not be universally accepted or scientifically verified. Always approach these topics with respect for their cultural and historical significance

Aroma-Chemistry of Hinoki Japanese Cypress

Essential oil of Hinoki can be extracted from three different parts of the tree: the root, the wood (trunk and branches), and the needles. Each part yields a different essential oils chemically. In this respect this tree reminds me of the Neroli tree. The C. auratium tree yields Neroli (Citrus var. aurantium flos.) from the flowers, Petitgrain (Citrus var. aurantium fol.) from the leaves, and Bitter Orange from the fruit rind (Citrus var. aurantium). This is why, in our opinion, the chemistry is not the only thing to consider when formulating. The energetics, doctrine of signatures and organic resonance cannot be ignored.
Method of  extraction: Steam distillation/Hydro distillation. 
Plant parts:
  • Root
  • Wood
  • Needles
  • Root – Dry, woody, camphoraceous, with a sweet warm spicy undertone
  • Wood - Sweet, woody,  slightly balsamic, slight citrus undertone
  • Needles- Coniferous, cool, slightly earthy, fresh, green, pine like
  • Root - Middle
  • Wood - Middle/base
  • Needles – Top/Middle

Hinoki essential oil consists of mostly monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and sesquitperpenols..  Alpha-pinene is the predominant monoterpene found in Hinoki.  Alpha-pinene is known to be anti-cancerous, anti-inflammatory, bronchodilator, had broad-spectrum antibiotic properties and can also decrease oil production in overly oily skin.  

Chemical Composition
  • Root  -  Key Constituents: mostly terpineol, monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes (Arcander, 2010)
  • Wood – Key Constituents:  a-terpineol (19.4%), T-muurolol (16.9%), borneol (16%), and a-cadinol (10.9%)  gamma cadinene (12.5%) delta cadinene (10.8%) (Chien et al., 2014)
  • Needles/leaf – Key Constituents: a-pinene, longifolene, sabinene, thujopsene, elemol (Tisserand and Young, 2014)
Organic resonance
It is important to remember that essential oil extracts are complex chemical cocktails often challenging to “figure them out” chemically. Synergy in nature is mysterious and most of the time unexplained by scientific reasoning.
For the past two years, I (the author) have been researching the principle of ‘organic resonance.’ Organic resonance is recognizing that the wholeness of the plant is complementary to the wholeness of man (Gumbel, 1998). When we compare the plant and the human body, the root corresponds to the lower body. The leaf corresponds to the upper body and the flower corresponding to the head. We will just be looking at the leaf (needle) correlation.
According to Gumbel, the upper body is soul oriented. Our emotions and feelings are transmitted through the blood. In the upper body, we find all the circulatory organs; the heart, lungs, liver, pancreas and kidneys. All the functions of the circulatory system can be found in one single leaf.
  • The leaf is the heart of the plant. The leaf is moved and regulated from its environment by the sun, wind and rain. So the leaf’s impulse for circulation of its fluids come from the sun.  And for man it is the inner rhythm of the heart.
  • The leaf has lung function. When the leaf breathes it takes in Co2 and releases oxygen for us.  So the symbiotic relationship is amazing.  Man supports the plant and the plant and trees support man.  One could not exist without the other.
  • The leaf has a liver like function,  The leaf produces sugar through the process of photosynthesis.
  • The leaf is also similar to the spleen as an immune system organ. The fluids that circulate in the leaf defend it against viruses, germs and parasites. Fluids in the leaf are regenerated just as the blood is regenerated in the pancreas
  • Leaf absorbs water and is also able to eliminate waste products just like the kidneys do for man.


Recipes & Blends

Recipes and Blends

Memory Support Blend

  • Hinoki (Chamaecyparis obtusa): 6 drops
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): 5 drops
  • Exotic Basil (Ocimum basilicum ct methyl chavicol): 7 drops
  • Lemon (Citrus limon): 6 drops
  • Frankincense (Boswellia carterii): 8 drops

Usage: Dilute in your chosen carrier oil to the percentage you desire. This blend can be used daily or when memory support is needed.
It can also be used in a personal inhaler or diffused in an aromatherapy diffuser for mental clarity throughout the day.

Respiratory Support Blend (related to Asthma)
  • Hinoki (Chamaecyparis obtusa): 8 drops
  • Peppermint (Mentha piperita): 7 drops
  • Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus): 6 drops
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): 5 drops
  • Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia): 6 drops

Usage: Use when respiratory support is needed. The blend can also be added to a personal inhaler or diffused in an aromatherapy diffuser to ease breathing.

Immunity Boost Blend
  • Hinoki (Chamaecyparis obtusa): 7 drops
  • Frankincense (Boswellia carterii): 6 drops
  • Lemon (Citrus limon): 5 drops
  • Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus): 8 drops
  • Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata): 6 drops

Usage: Dilute in your chosen carrier oil to the percentage you desire. This can be used daily or during times of increased exposure to illness. Alternatively, you can use this blend in a personal inhaler or aromatherapy diffuser to fortify your immunity.

Anxiety Relief Blend
  • Hinoki (Chamaecyparis obtusa): 7 drops
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): 6 drops
  • Bergamot (Citrus bergamia): 5 drops
  • Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata): 7 drops
  • Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis): 7 drops

Usage: Dilute in your chosen carrier oil to the percentage you desire. Use during times of stress or anxiety. You can also add this blend to a personal inhaler or an aromatherapy diffuser to create a calming environment.

Remember to always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new treatment, and perform a patch test before full use to avoid any potential skin irritation.
Safety Etc.

Safety Information for Hinoki Japanese Cypress

No known safety precautions for Hinoki Essential Oils


Alpha-Pinene Exhibits Anti-Inflammatory Activity Through the Suppression of MAPKs and the NF-κB Pathway in Mouse Peritoneal Macrophages: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26119957
Anti-tumor effect of α-pinene on human hepatoma cell lines through inducing G2/M cell cycle arrest: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25837931
Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. International Centre of Holysitc Aromatherapy, 2003.
Lee, Shin-Hae, et al. “Effects of Essential Oil from Hinoki Cypress, Chamaecyparis Obtusa, on Physiology and Behavior of Flies.” Plos One, vol. 10, no. 12, Jan. 2015, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0143450.
Mailhebiau, Philippe, and Phillippe Mailhebiau. Portraits in Oils: the Personality of Aromatherapy Oils and Their Link with Human Temperaments. C.W. Daniel, 1995.


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