“Hinoki” (檜、ヒノキ) aka “Hinoki cypress” has been loved by Japanese people in Japanese thousands of history.
Hinoki cypress is a species of cypress native to central Japan, also you can see these kinds of trees in a part of Taiwan.
It is also known as the sacred plant, most of shrines and temples are built with Hinoki because it is a strong, hard-to-rot tree that lasts for hundreds of years.
Even today, Hinoki cypress is ideal as a building material because it is easy-dry, so it hardly has wood warping.
It’s not only the strength and dryness but also the Hinoki cypress has lots of benefits in several situations, so Japanese people use many Hinoki cypress products such as bathtubs, kitchen tools, building materials, household supplies…
As the study of Hinoki cypress for a long time, it has more attractive effects that you should use, so I am going to tell you why Japanese people love “Hinoki” so much.
When we talk about Hinoki, we can’t forget “Phytoncide”.
“Phytoncide” is a substance emitted by plants & trees and generally means the aroma of the forest. Phytoncides are produced to help plants & trees protect themselves from harmful enemies (insects and bacteria).
This “forest aroma”, unique woody scent, can be expected to repel insects, bacteria, and other plants.
By the way, “Phyton” means “plant” in Latin, and “cide” means to kill.
It’s a word that seems very scary,
however, it provides various relaxing effects for humans.
・Lower blood pressure
・Treat irregular heartbeat
・Keep the autonomic nervous system healthy
・Calm down brain activity
When you walk in the woods, don’t you feel being relaxed and refreshed, do you?
It is because of “Phytoncide” effects in these reasons.
“Coniferous trees” includes Hinoki cypress produces a large amount of Phytoncide.
Especially, Hinoki cypress keeps producing phytoncide even after being cut and processed.
*Coniferous trees aka Conifers are often called evergreens, and their names are associated with trees that have needles rather than wide, flat leaves.
Hinoki is the natural insecticide.
“alpha-Cadinol”, the substance contained in Hinoki cypress, has the effect of suppressing the growth of Wood-decay fungus.
It is a scent component contained in the extracted oil and is also used as an aroma oil.
“Hinokitiol” has also an antibacterial effect for MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus-responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections in humans).
Japanese houses built with cypress houses prevent many house issues such as odor, bugs such as termite, molds. For this reason, some Japanese companies have been challenging to use Hinoki cypress essential oil into plywood under the floor, into wallpaper, and into tatami floors.
Besides, cypress is the most effective in controlling ticks.
There is the study found that Hinoki cypress essential oil eliminates the ammonia odor.
The deodorant level of Hinoki essential oilis 97%, which means Hinnoki eliminate most of the odor in the air.
This is because multiple components are broken down by chemical reactions with the malodorous component and cover with a good scent of cypress to eliminate the odor.
For these reasons, Hinoki essential oil is often used for organic room deodorant spray.
Also, Hinoki contains the substance, “terpenes”‘ which absorbs toxic substances such as formaldehyde in buildings.
Also, professional chefs likely use kitchen tools made of Hinoki cypress due to its antibacterial and deodorant effect.
The study says the scent of Hinoki cypress has a relaxing effect.
When smelling alpha-Pinene, a scent component contained in Hinoki cypress, leads to parasympathetic nervous system dominance and physiological relaxation.
As Japanese traditional style, Hinoki cypress is used for Japanese bathtubs.
The traditional Hinoki wooden bathtub is called “Hinoki Buro”.
The main reason Japanese people love “Hinoki bathtubs” is because of its relaxing scent filled with the whole bathroom where you can fully enjoy the charm of cypress.
Since cypress is strong against water and easy-dry, other bathroom items are also popular in Japan.
Hinoki And The Japanese Life
As I said, Hinoki cypress is known as a sacred tree among Japanese people.
In the ancient history book, the god order to use Hinoki cypress for shrines.
Since it has a good color tone, gloss, and scent also, it is easy to process, has been preferred for Buddhist statues, and building parts of temples.
The beauty and aroma of the Hinoki cypress must have attracted the hearts of ancient people to calm them down.
Besides, the cypress house gives the stereotype of a luxurious wooden house. (It is true though.)
Hinoki, which Japanese people imagine is a sublime material.
From a survey of their favorite scents among the 10 woody scents, the majority of Japanese chose the cypress scent.
The Japanese may unknowingly know that the scent is part of their lives.
In these ways, Hinoki cypress is really attractive because it has good durability, prevents mold and ticks, and it also stimulates the brain with a good natural scent.
Hinoki baths made from cypress wood- “Hinoki Buro” are becoming popular recently even in overseas countries. Taking a bath with the scent of Hinoki cypress makes you feel relaxed.
Moreover, EEG measurements have also revealed that its aroma has a sedative effect. You can increase the value of relaxing time by using Hinoki products.
Hinoki is the most popular timber in Japan which is inseparable from Japanese life.
When you know the Hinoki cypress benefits, why not enjoy the Hinoki life!
“Hinoki” benefits aka “Phytoncide” effects last even after becoming products like I introduced today. It’s proven you can get the same effects of “Shinrin Yoku” aka “Forest bathing” just with being surrounded by natural wooden products.
Do you want check out? Read Next!
- Effects of Essential Oil from Hinoki Cypress, Chamaecyparis obtusa, on Physiology and Behavior of Flies
- Habuka Kensetsu (Japanese site)
- Journal of Wood Science
- Wiley Online Library
Do you want to know about Japanese Bath Salts which bring you the luxury bath time for your special relaxation? There is “Hinoki bath bombs” I wrote about.