Cade: A Versatile Tree

Very common in the Provençale scrubland, Cade is a tree belonging to the Juniper family from which an oil is extracted that, due to its healing properties, is highly valued in cosmetics. An extremely hard wood, it is the enemy of chainsaws, and its sweet berry is appreciated in the kitchen…
By Angélique Jurquet

It’s in an arid environment, in the middle of the Mediterranean scrub and shrub lands the ‘garrigue’ or the ‘maquis,’ that Cade, a variety of juniper, likes to grow. Highly visible in Provence, this small tree, that never exceeds two meters high, has been familiar to shepherds for centuries, who burn its wood to keep mosquitos and insects at bay (apparently it’s the most powerful insect repellent in the world).

Cade wood, partner of the building and cosmetic industries

But, aside from its use in some buildings, other properties have been discovered in Cade wood, which has the reputation for being so solid that it withstands the blades of chainsaws. Indeed, an essential oil is extracted from it that is used in a number of cosmetic products as well as in shampoos and shower gels as it has the advantage of being a disinfectant and even anti-allergic.

Cade Oil and its healing properties

L’Occitane uses organic Cade oil in its range of products for men aimed at soothing skin after shaving (After Shave Balm and Cream), because Cade oil also has important healing and invigorating properties. In the past, stone kilns were used to extract the oil from Cade wood. Thanks to a slow combustion, the substance was collected in a tray located under the kiln. In Cuges-Les-Pins, near Aubagne, it is still possible to observe one of these “cade kilns” which has been constructed right in the middle of the Provençale scrubland. It’s a genuine survivor, because today, precious Cade oil is produced in modern distilleries.

The Cade berry used in cooking

The Cade tree is truly versatile because, for the biggest gourmets among you, be aware that the berry is edible when it comes to maturity, which is to say in the autumn. Connoisseurs enjoy this orange to brown berry both freshly picked or well cooked (it makes for excellent tarts). Wood, berry, oil; truly Cade has everything going for it!

Photography L'Occitane

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