Celebrate International Day of Forests with These Tree and Wood Essential Oils

Did you know that today has been designated the International Day of Forests by the United Nations?

Every year, on the 21st of March, the world comes together to celebrate the important role that forests play in sustaining life on our planet Earth. This day serves as a reminder of these majestic guardians of nature, which provide us with clean air, shelter, food and many valuable resources essential for the survival and wellbeing of many species, including humans.

As we celebrate the importance of trees and reflect on the biodiversity of our precious forests, what better way to honour the majesty of trees than by exploring the world of wood essential oils? Derived from different types of trees around the world, these forest scented essential oils not only captivate our senses with their deep and gentle aromas that bring to mind the imagery of forests, but also offer a wonderful range of therapeutic benefits.

Read on to learn about popular tree and wood essential oils, how to harness their therapeutic properties for holistic healing, and how to use forest-inspired aromatherapy to enhance your wellbeing and create a tranquil atmosphere in your life.

The Importance of Trees

Trees stand as guardians of our planet, playing a fundamental role in sustaining life as we know it. From providing oxygen to filtering air, forests are often described as the lungs of the Earth. By absorbing carbon dioxide and pumping out oxygen, forests are important carbon sinks and play a critical role in mitigating the effects of climate change.

Forests are not merely clusters of trees; they are intricate ecosystems that support millions of species of plants, animals, insects and microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. They act as vital habitats, offering shelter, food and breeding grounds for countless creatures, thus maintaining the delicate balance of our natural world. The root systems of trees anchor the land and prevent soil erosion; while above ground, the forest canopy offers shade and shelter, playing an important role in regulating local climates.

Beyond their environmental significance, forests also hold immense cultural and spiritual value, serving as sacred sites and sources of inspiration.

(Back to Top)

Top 9 Tree and Wood Essential Oils

Wood essential oils are usually derived from the wood, bark or resin of trees. These oils possess a rich and complex scent profile that often evokes the serene ambiance of a forest and remind us of the grounding connection that we share with nature.

Obtained using the process of steam distillation, wood essential oils encapsulate the essence of the trees from which they originate. Each wood essential oil carries its own unique scent, ranging from the warm and sensual notes of Sandalwood to the fresh and invigorating aroma of Cypress, enticing our senses and inviting us to explore wonders of our natural world.

Beyond their deep aromatic scent, wood essential oils are revered for their many therapeutic properties and holistic benefits. These include promoting relaxation and stress relief, supporting respiratory health, enhancing mental clarity, comforting those who are lonely or anxious or simply helping to ground and centre us in the present moment. With their deep connection to Mother Earth and her healing energy, these essential oils can be applied widely in aromatherapy, skincare and holistic wellness practices as they nurture our physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

(Back to Top)

1. Sandalwood Essential Oil

Santalum album Sandalwood Tree

Sandalwood essential oil is a rare and precious essential oil derived from the heartwood of the Santalum album tree. Heartwood refers to the dense, non-living core of a tree trunk, which contains a high concentration of resins and oils. To extract Sandalwood essential oil, the mature tree, which takes several decades to develop and grow, has to be cut down. Because of this, genuine Sandalwood essential oil is extremely rare and sustainable harvesting practices are crucial to ensure the conservation of Sandalwood trees and their continued existence in the wild.

Treasured for centuries for its therapeutic properties and use in spiritual meditation, Sandalwood essential oil has been traditionally used in spiritual practices to enhance mindfulness and deepen connection to the divine. In aromatherapy, Sandalwood is loved for its sweet, warm, woody and rich aroma. This makes Sandalwood essential oil an excellent addition to aromatherapy blends for encouraging relaxation and fostering emotional balance.

Sandalwood essential oil is one of the best tree-derived essential oils to use for skincare. Its skin healing, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties make it an excellent option for adding to skincare blends that are designed to nourish dry and inflamed skin, calm redness, soothe irritations and rash, as well as promote overall skin health.

With a deep soothing base note, Sandalwood essential oil is often used in perfumery, especially for sensual blends. Its warm, woody aroma adds depth and complexity, evoking feelings of intimacy and allure.

(Back to Top)

2. Cedarwood Atlas Essential Oil

Cedar Tree-2

Cedarwood Atlas essential oil is derived from the wood of the Cedrus atlantica tree, native to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Cedar trees are a diverse group of evergreen coniferous trees belonging to the Pinaceae family, and has a long history of use by humans due to its natural resistance to rot. Despite facing threats from habitat loss, overharvesting and climate change, cedar trees continue to be valued for their beauty, resilience and ecological importance.

Cedarwood essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of wood from the tree. It has an earthy, woody and balsamic aroma that instantly brings to mind the imagery of forests and nature. Its pleasant aroma helps to calm and soothe the mind, making it a popular choice when used in aromatherapy. With its grounding properties, Cedarwood essential oil helps to banish negative anxiety, nervous tension and relieve stress. When diffused, its gentle scent evokes feelings of tranquility and inner peace, instantly transforming the ambiance in your home.

Cedarwood essential oil has many therapeutic properties and is widely used in natural remedies for skincare and personal care due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, astringent and toning properties. It is excellent when used for hair as it can aid with dandruff problems, promote scalp health, strengthen hair follicles and improve the overall condition of your hair. Its astringent and toning nature also acts on skin blemishes and helps reduce the appearance of acne and other imperfections, leaving your skin looking clearer and more radiant.

(Back to Top)

3. Frankincense Sacra Essential Oil

Boswellia Sacra Tree

Frankincense essential oils are amongst one of the best known tree and wood essential oils. There are many different types of Frankincense trees, all belonging to the genus Boswellia. Boswellia trees are well known for their resilience in harsh environments, thriving in rocky, arid landscapes with little water. Frankincense resin is obtained by making cuts into the bark of the tree, causing the tree to weep. As the resin hardens into golden droplets or tears, it is collected and undergoes steam distillation to extract the essential oil.

Each species of the Boswellia tree produces a different and unique variey of Frankincense resin and essential oil, all with their own distinct aroma and chemical composition. Frankincense Sacra, also known as the King of Frankincense, is renowned for its intensely rich and warm aroma and prized for its grounding and calming effects. Its soothing aroma helps to foster a sense of reverence and transcendence, and it has been used for centuries in religious ceremonies and rituals to enhance focus, clarity and inner peace. Today, it is often used in spiritual meditation to help deepen breathing and relax mind, body and soul.

Beyond meditation, Frankincense Sacra essential oil is one of the best essential oils with many therapeutic benefits. It has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antispasmodic, antimicrobial and calming properties. Therefore, Frankincense Sacra essential oil is excellent when used in skincare due to its skin healing and regenerative properties, and can be added into balms and salves to make use of its potent pain reliving properties. It is also believed to help boost immune systems, making it a natural ally in supporting the body's defense against illness and infection.

(Back to Top)

4. Myrrh Resins

Commiphora myrrha Myrrh Tree

Although slightly lesser known compared to Frankincense, Myrrh shares the same botanical family, Burseraceae, and many similar therapeutic benefits.

The Myrrh tree, scientifically known as Commiphora myrrha, is a small, thorny tree native to the arid regions of Middle East and Northeast Africa, particularly Somalia, Ethiopia and Yemen. It typically grows up to 3 metres in height and has knotted branches with sparse foliage.

Myrrh resin has been treasured for its medicinal and ceremonial uses for thousands of years, dating back to ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilisations. With its sweet, earthy and musky aroma, Myrrh resins were often used as an aromatic ingredient in incense, perfumes and embalming rituals. It also has religious significance, as it is mentioned several times in the Bible as being associated with sacred rituals and purification ceremonies. Myrrh was also one of the three gifts offered to the baby Jesus by the Three Wise Men.

When used therapeutically, Myrrh resin has unsurpassable antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used as a natural remedy for treating wounds, fungal infections or dental issues such as gum infections. It is also suitable for easing coughs, colds, congestion and sore throat; and for stimulating digestion and appetite.

Today, Myrrh continues to be valued for its aromatic and therapeutic properties and is used in various forms. The resin can be steam distilled to obtain essential oils, infused to make tinctures and balms, or burned as incense.

(Back to Top)

5. Cypress Essential Oil

Cypress Tree

Cypress trees are a group of coniferous evergreen trees belonging to the Cupressaceae family. They are distinctive and can be recognised by their tall slender trunks, feather-like leaves and a conical shape. Cypress trees are known for their resilience and adaptability to different climates, and stand as a symbol of endurance and longevity. In ancient civilisations, Cypress trees were often planted in sacred temple groves as a symbol of remembrance and immortality.

One of the most well known species of cypress trees is Cupressus sempervirens, also known as the Mediterranean cypress or Italian cypress. Cypress essential oil has a fresh, woody aroma, and is most famous for its circulatory properties. It is one of the best essential oils to use in massage blends as it helps to relax muscles, detoxify the lymphatic system and reduce water retention, while also supporting venous health by improving circulation. For those seeking a milder alternative, Cypress Hydrolate, which are the aromatic waters formed as part of the steam distillation process, can be used as a facial mist or toner due to its firming effect on the skin.

Traditionally used in healing practices to treat respiratory tract infections, Cypress essential oil can support your respiratory system if you are suffering from colds and flu due to its decongesting and expectorant properties. It is also well known for helping to regulate blood flow, and due to its analgesic (pain relieving) properties, it can be used to alleviate discomforts associated with menstrual cycles.

(Back to Top)

6. Copaiba Essential Oil

Copaiba Resin

Copaiba essential oil one of the relatively lesser known wood essential oils, but its remarkable therapeutic properties and versatile applications make it a hidden gem in the world of aromatherapy and natural health.

The Copaiba tree is a tall, tropical tree native to the Amazon rainforest and other regions in South America. It is a large evergreen tree characterised by a straight trunk and small white flowers.

Copaiba essential oil is obtained from steam distillation of the resin of the Copaiba tree, and is renowned for its soothing and calming properties. With a sweet and warm aroma, Copaiba essential oil is a popular choice in aromatherapy for uplifting moods and supporting overall wellbeing. It is also valued for its immune boosting, anti-inflammatory, pain relieving and antimicrobial properties, making it useful to add into balms and lotions for alleviating pain and reducing inflammation.

When used in meditation practices, the gentle, grounding aroma of Copaiba essential oil helps facilitate emotional release and spiritual growth, helping us to let go of any negativity, stress, anxiety and energetic blockages.

(Back to Top)

7. Scotch Pine Essential Oil

Pinus sylvestris Scotch Pine Tree

Scotch Pine, also known as Scots Pine, a tall, evergreen conifer native to Europe. The essential oil is steam distilled from the tree's needles and twigs, and has a refreshing, balsamic and earthy aroma with hints of warm pine.

In traditional medicine and folklore, Scotch Pine has been used for centuries for its healing properties and symbolic significance. It is associated with renewal, purification and protection, and has been used in rituals and ceremonies to ward off negative energy and promote healing. Today, Scotch Pine essential oil is cherished for its refreshing aroma and therapeutic benefits, offering a natural way to invigorate the body, mind and spirit.

With its cleansing and invigorating properties, Scotch Pine essential oil is excellent when diffused to clear the mind, relieve mental and physical fatigue, uplift the spirit and promote feelings of energy and vitality.

In addition to its aromatic qualities, Scotch Pine also boasts a range of potential health benefits. A warming essential oil with analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, it can help ease rheumatism, arthritis, gout and soothing sore muscles and joints.

(Back to Top)

8. Benzoin Essential Oil

Styrax benzoin Tree

The Styrax benzoin tree is a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia, particularly Sumatra and Java. It is prized for its aromatic resin, which has been used for centuries in traditional medicine, perfumery and religious rituals.

Benzoin essential oil has a deep and warm aroma with vanilla-like undertones, and is often used in aromatherapy for its calming and comforting effects on the mind and spirit. When diffused, it creates a sense of warmth and security, providing comfort to those who are anxious, stressed, worried or lonely.

As a warming essential oil, it is good to add to massage blends for relieving rheumatic aches. Benzoin essential oil is also valued for its skin healing properties and is often used in skincare products as a remedy for eczema, psoriasis, open wounds and sores. Because of its expectorant properties, it can be used to aid and soothe the respiratory system as it is effective against colds, flu, coughs, sore throats and loss of voice.

(Back to Top)

9. Palo Santo Essential Oil

Palo Santo Tree

Palo Santo, also known as Holy Wood, is a sacred tree from South Africa that comes from the same botanical family as Myrrh and Frankincense.

Palo Santo has a long history of use in indigenous cultures of South America, where it is considered a sacred and spiritual plant ally. It is traditionally used in rituals, ceremonies, prayers and healing practices to cleanse and purify energy, ward off negative influences, and promote positivity, healing and harmony.

Palo Santo essential oil is obtained from the steam distillation of the Palo Santo tree. It has a sweet, woody aroma with citrus notes and a slightly minty aroma. It is amongst one of the best essential oils to use for meditation as it helps enhance spiritual awareness and connection while also reducing anxiety and nervous tension.

In addition to its spiritual significance, Palo Santo essential oil is highly valued for its anti-inflammatory, immune boosting and analgesic properties, making it excellent when used to alleviate headaches, migraines, joint pain, arthritis and general aches and pains.

When using Palo Santo essential oil, it is important to ensure that it has been sustainably and responsibly sourced. Palo Santo has become increasingly threatened due to overharvesting and habitat destruction, and its slow growth rate makes it susceptible to depletion.

(Back to Top)

The Importance of Sustainability

The importance of sustainable extraction and responsible harvesting of essential oils cannot be overstated. It is especially important for wood essential oils compared to other essential oils due to the nature of their source—trees. Unlike many other essential oils derived from plants that can regenerate relatively quickly, trees often require years, if not decades, to grow and mature. Therefore, the impact of irresponsible harvesting practices on tree populations and forest ecosystems can be profound and long-lasting. Additionally, many tree species that yield essential oils are already vulnerable or endangered due to deforestation, habitat loss and overexploitation.

Sustainable harvesting practices involve striking a careful balance between meeting human needs and preserving the integrity of forests. This includes employing methods such as selective harvesting and reforestation efforts to replenish what is taken. By prioritising sustainability, we safeguard biodiversity, protect wildlife habitats and support the long term health of our planet. Responsible harvesting also respect the rights and livelihoods of local communities who depend on forests for their sustenance.

At Nila Singapore, sustainability holds a significant importance to us. We champion in the safe and responsible use of essential oils, and encourage the careful stewardship of natural ecosystems to ensure their long term viability and availability for future generations. When you buy from us, you can rest assured that all our essential oils are sustainably sourced directly from small local farms around the world. We are proud of these trusted relationships that have been built and nurtured over the years, and we are committed to supporting ethical and environmentally conscious practices at every stage of our business.

By ensuring responsible harvesting practices, we not only safeguard the health and vitality of tree populations but also protect the intricate web of life that depends on them. Responsible harvesting of wood essential oils is not just about preserving a valuable natural resource; it's about safeguarding the very foundation of our ecosystems and ensuring their resilience for future generations.

(Back to Top)


As we celebrate forests and the invaluable gifts that they provide, let the deep, foresty scent of these tree-derived essential oils remind us of the profound connection between nature and our personal wellbeing. Wood essential oils, with their rich aromas and wide range of therapeutic healing properties, offer us a glimpse into the beauty and resilience of trees.

When using all essential oils, but especially those which are derived from trees, it is important to prioritise sustainability and responsible sourcing practices. By choosing sustainably sourced tree and wood essential oils from Nila Singapore, this enables us to continue enjoying the benefits of essential oils while ensuring a thriving natural world for generations to come.

Together, let us celebrate the beauty and abundance of nature, honour the gifts that we are given, and care for our Mother Earth which sustains us all.

Do you have a favourite tree or wood essential oil, or fun fact about trees that you would like to share? Leave a comment below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *