Oriental arborvitae
Oriental arborvitae


Oriental arborvitae is an evergreen tree. It grows in China, Japan, and Korea. The seeds, leaves, and leafy twigs are used to make medicine.

Oriental arborvitae is used for male-pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia), pain, hemorrhoids, abnormally heavy bleeding during menstrual periods (menorrhagia), and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. Oriental arborvitae might also be unsafe when taken by mouth in large amounts.
When taken by mouth: Oriental arborvitae is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth short-term in small amounts. Traditionally, tea made with 6-15 grams of leafy twig from oriental arborvitae has been used short-term with no reported side effects. But it's POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth long-term or in large amounts. Oriental arborvitae contains a toxic compound called thujone. This compound can cause restlessness, mental changes, vomiting, dizziness, tremors, kidney damage, seizures, and other side effects, especially when taken long-term or in large amounts. There isn't enough reliable information to know if taking oriental arborvitae seed by mouth is safe or what the side effects might be.

When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if oriental arborvitae is safe or what the side effects might be when applied to the skin.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy: Taking oriental arborvitae by mouth is POSSIBLY UNSAFE if you are pregnant. It contains a chemical called thujone, which might cause the uterus to contract. Don't use oriental arborvitae if you are pregnant. There isn't enough reliable information to know if oriental arborvitae is safe to apply to the skin while pregnant. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Breast-feeding. There isn't enough reliable information to know if oriental arborvitae is safe to take by mouth or apply to the skin while breastfeeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Porphyria, an inherited condition. Oriental arborvitae might make porphyria worse.

Kidney problems: Oriental arborvitae might make kidney disease worse.


NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions
  • Abnormally heavy bleeding during menstrual periods (menorrhagia).
  • Anxiety.
  • Asthma.
  • Bleeding in the stomach or intestines.
  • Burns.
  • Cancer.
  • Constipation.
  • Cough.
  • Early orgasm in men (premature ejaculation).
  • Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis).
  • Headache.
  • Hemorrhoids.
  • Infection of the intestines by parasites.
  • Insomnia.
  • Male-pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia).
  • Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea).
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Pain.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
  • Seizure disorder (epilepsy).
  • Short-term swelling (inflammation) of the airways in the lungs (acute bronchitis).
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of oriental arborvitae for these uses.

Dosing & administration

The appropriate dose of oriental arborvitae depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for oriental arborvitae. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

It is not known if Oriental Arborvitae interacts with any medicines. Before taking Oriental Arborvitae, talk with your healthcare professional if you take any medications.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

Herbs that contain thujone: Oriental arborvitae contains a chemical called thujone. Using it along with other herbs that contain thujone increases the risk of thujone poisoning. Thujone can cause restlessness, mental changes, vomiting, dizziness, tremors, kidney damage, seizures, and other side effects. Thujone-containing herbs include oak moss, sage, tansy, thuja, tree moss, and wormwood. Don't use oriental arborvitae with any of these.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.


Oriental arborvitae seems to increase hair growth, decrease swelling (inflammation), and prevent damage caused by harmful chemicals called reactive oxygen species. It might also kill certain cancer cells and slow the growth of certain types of bacteria.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 31/05/2023 10:00:00. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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