Uses for Thuja

Thuja, also known as arborvitae, tree of life, and eastern white cedar, is the name of a genus comprised of rapid-growing coniferous evergreen trees. Thujas are part of the cupressaceae (cypress) family. There are five different thuja species, two of which come from Asia and the rest originate in North America. The hardy conifers tend to grow to heights of between 10 and 60 feet tall. There are various uses for thuja. It's been employed as an ornamental tree for centuries and has myriad medical uses as well.

Medical Uses

Thuja has a vast array of diverse medical purposes. Thuja is commonly used as a cancer treatment. It works to reduce the toxic effects of radiation therapy and chemotherapy. It is administered internally. For cancer-related pains, thuja can be given externally. It can exert an abortive action over incipient cancer, and can slow down the progress of serious, advanced cancer cases. Thuja is also commonly used for the treatment and relief of various digestive disorders, including chronic diarrhea and colonic ulceration. For colonic ulceration, thuja is used as a daily enema. Thuja also has various homeopathic medicinal uses, in its dilute form (either liquid or pill). It has been used to treat depression, irritability, headaches, toothaches, mouth pain, rashes, impaired thinking, backache, enlarged prostate, chills, insomnia, exhaustion, nightmares, runny nose, nasal sores, growths, warts, fever and joint pain. Other conditions that thuja is used to treat include swollen gums, tooth decay, excessive sweating, weak fingernails and toenails, oily skin, vaginal infection, polyuria, adenoids, urinary incontinence, conjunctivitis and bladder irritation due to uric acid.

Beauty, Cleaning and Hygiene Products

Thuja trees produce an oil, also called cedar leaf oil, The oil has a strong, pleasant fragrance, and as a result is commonly used as an ingredient in beauty and hygiene products such as perfumes, colognes and soaps. The scent also makes it a popular component for many household cleaners such as furniture polish. Thuja oil also naturally repels bugs and is often used in pesticides.

Aesthetic Uses

Thuja trees are grown as ornamental plants all throughout Europe. The trees have a long history of being ornamental plants, and have been grown in China for that purpose for millennia. They are also frequently used for hedges, living fences and screens.

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About this Author

Isabel Prontes is a freelance writer and traveler residing in Manhattan, NY. She has traveled to five continents and counting. Her work has appeared on a number of websites, such as Travels, eHow.com and "Happy Living Magazine." Prontes has a professional background in public relations; she received a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Pace University.