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Thuja – (Thuja occidentalis, or Tree of Life)

Thuja herb

Thuja is also known as arbor vitae or tree of life. This member of the cedar family is an evergreen conifer that is native to North America. It likes wet soil. The leaves look more like overlapping scales than leaves, and the tree has an aromatic odor. This tree grows a small cone.


Key Medicinal Uses

Internally – Thuja is an expectorant and can make coughs more productive. It stimulates the respiratory system and the uterus. It is sometimes used to bring on delayed menstruation. It is also used for other conditions that affect the ovaries and uterus. The herb "normalizes" the female reproductive tract and regulates menstruation. It can encourage the ovaries to ovulate at the right time of the month.

It is also used for uterine infection, endometriosis, ovarian cysts and menopause, as well as cystitis and enuresis. The herb may be used when lack of muscle tone causes incontinence. It is a diuretic. It may also be used to deal with the side effects of chemotherapy. It has also been used for glandular disorders.

Externally – Thuja has been used as a hot compress for rheumatism and psoriasis. It can be applied for muscle pain and tightness. It is also used for warts, especially anal and genital warts. It is also a specific treatment for plantar warts. The tincture can be applied twice a day for a few weeks. It is antifungal, and has been used to treat ringworm, nail fungus and thrush. An infusion may be applied to impetigo and scabies. The herb counteracts the side effects from the smallpox vaccine, and has been used to treat cancer of the breast and chest.

Herbs to Combine/Supplement

Combine thuja with lobelia for pulmonary issues. Add it to Hamamelis water to make a lotion for eczema.

Parts Used

Leaves, twigs – The young twigs and leaves are used medicinally.


Thuja should not be used for dry irritable coughs due to overstimulation. Pregnant and lactating women should avoid this herb. Thujone, one of the active ingredients in this herb, is toxic. This herb should only be taken under the supervision of a skilled care provider, and even then in very small doses for no longer than a week or two at a time.

Preparation and Dosage

Do not use this herb without the guidance of an experienced herbalist or physician. Traditional methods of taking thuja include infusion, extract and tincture. Follow the directions provided by your herb specialist.

Thuja Herbal Remedies Top