Cypress essential oil is distilled from the leaves of a tall evergreen tree with slender branches and a statuesque conical shape. Growing to a height of 25-45 meters (75-147 feet), the Cypress bears small flowers and round brownish-grey cones or nuts. The essential oil is produced by steam distillation from the fresh dark green needles and twigs. Native to Southern Europe, Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) has spread to North Africa and North America and is cultivated in France, Spain, and Morocco.
In terms of Oriental medicine, the principal action of Cypress oil is to enliven and regulate the flow of blood. Part of this action depends upon its restorative, toning effect on the veins, a by-product of its overall astringent quality. The ability of Cypress oil to harmonize the blood makes it important oil for menstrual difficulties. It is one of the primary essential oils for both dysmenorrhoea (menstrual pain) and menorrhagia (Excessive menstrual bleeding). The essential oil may be combined with Clary Sage, Lemon, and Geranium and applied as a salve or ointment to varicose veins. It also blends well with Helichrysum, for an extra-potent formula for muscle and joint aches and pains.