Juniper Berry Essential Oil
This exclusive juniper berry essential oil blog post brings you a unique kind of oil source. It’s the juniper berry. It’s a tree when it grows in the mountainous regions of the world reaching a height of more than 40 meters. But you can call it a shrub when it grows in the lower lands reaching a maximum height of about 6-10 meters. There is a male and female version of this plant. It was the only source of gin flavoring hundreds of years ago. Continue reading to explore many things about juniper berry and its essential oil uses and benefits.
A Glance in History
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The name juniper came from the French word ‘genievre’ meaning gin. Juniper berries were said to be used as the main flavor for gin and alcoholic wines since the middle ages. The oil from the plant berries, leaves, twigs and woods had a long record in history as an all-natural remedy used to prevent and heal diseases of the skin, respiratory and digestive systems. Today only the oil from the berries is valued for healing, for fragrances and for human consumption.
Juniper berry is an evergreen coniferous large shrub found all over the world. It belongs to the Cupressaceae family of pines. There are two kinds of juniper berry trees but they have different botanical names. One is the ‘mountain juniper’ (Juniperus Scopulorum) and the other is the common juniper (Juniperus Communis). They both produce oils of thin consistency. A juniper can grow up from 10 - 40 meters tall. It can survive a long dry climate. The leaves are hard, sharp and needle-like; scaly as they mature. The foliage is very unfriendly (prickly) to bare skin.
The fruits are like berries (although they are cones) with fleshy skin. They are green when young and deep purple when they reach maturity. From pollination, fruits take about 18 to 24 months to mature. The female berries are very distinctive and are processed by steam distillation to get the aromatic essential oil. Berries are also an important ingredient used in the manufacture of gin, tonics and in cuisine for the distinctive quality flavor it offers as spice. Juniper berries are the only source of spice among all conifers.
Juniper berry essential oil is impressively sweet, fresh, spicy and woody. This clear and thin oil blends well with essential oils of lavender, clary sage, grapefruit, cypress, lime, cedarwood, bergamot, geranium and lemongrass. The leaves, twigs, wood and berries are all sources of oil but the superior quality oil exclusively comes from the berries.
Simple & Effective Uses of Juniper Berry Essential Oil
- Topical: When used topically; juniper berry essential oil helps treat skin problems such as psoriasis, dermatitis, dandruff, eczema, oily skin, pimples/acne and other skin infections.
- Vapor: Use it in a vaporizer or diffuser to inhale the aroma that relieves stress. It calms you from emotional and physical stress, nervousness, fear and fatigue. The vapor also helps clean the air you breathe indoor.
- Bath/Soak: It effectively relieves arthritis, gout and rheumatic pains; muscle cramps, fatigue and it promotes complete relaxation after a soak.
- Massage: Juniper oil offers emotional wellness and reduces signs of stress after a body massage. That’s why it is called an all-natural anxiety reliever.
- Goodnight Oil: The aroma can help ease your cares of the day! Before bed, try applying it under your feet, chest and any part of the body you want. It helps you fall asleep - and have a really good night rest.
Health Benefits You Can Expect from Juniper Berry Essential Oil
- Insect Repellent: Like tea tee and basil sweet essential oils, juniper essential oil works as a repellent that keeps mosquitos, bugs, fleas, ticks and flies at bay. Apply diluted juniper oil on the skin or make a spray to protect your family from these insects’ bites.
- Detoxifying Agent: Juniper berry essential oil helps in adequate urination; therefore, toxins and other wastes are more likely carried out of the body. You can inhale the aroma of this oil a few times a day to induce relaxation to help prevent buildup of harmful chemicals in the body systems.
- Stress Reliever: When you are stressed, there is a tendency to crave for more food than your usual intake. As this oil helps fight stress it also helps prevent food cravings. Stress is a major cause of a bigger problem - over weight/obesity which is a result of overeating. Next time you’re feeling stressed, reach for this oil instead of chocolate!
- Muscle Pain/Inflammation: Using juniper essential oil on muscle pains, inflamed arthritis, rheumatism and wounds is a fast get relief. It also acts as a natural antibacterial and antifungal that arrest infection faster than drugs without any harmful side effects.
More Interesting Info
- The oldest and largest juniper tree can be found today existing in Stanislas National Forest in California.
- Bears love to eat juniper berries; and people love to eat them too! Beware of bears when you come near a juniper berry tree. The bear might change its mind and go after you instead!
- The male & female flowers of juniper berry trees grow on separate trees which is very interesting! Winds aid in pollination; only the female trees produce the berries for essential oil extraction. Propagation is by seeds after berries are eaten passing through birds’ (and other animals) digestive systems.
- Juniper berries’ cones are the only source of spice (for gin and cuisine) among the large number of juniper species. Other conifers are used as ornamental; their woods for lumber and furniture but nothing for human food.
Junipers have more than 40 species but only a few can be eaten and beneficial for healing and wellness. And, only one provides profound advantages; that piney flavor to gin, as a distinctive spice and as treatment to many health problems – the juniperus communis. Eating juniper fruits and using its essential oil may help in proper digestion and reduce symptoms of diseases as it offers so much healthy uses and benefits.
- Juniper berry essential oil is an effective stimulant and may stimulate the uterine muscles; should not be used by pregnant and breastfeeding women; and children below 3 years old.
- It is also advised to those suffering from kidney and liver diseases to avoid using this essential oil continuously for long periods. Why? It is the ‘sabinene’ in it that may cause harmful effects to the kidneys. Just have a break of 15 days after using it for one month and that would be safe.
- This oil (and all other essential oils) should never be ingested in pure form. Always consult an essential oil professional before using it internally even if it is considered generally safe to use topically.
Please note: This post is a compilation of suggestions made by those that have extensively used essential oils and has not been verified scientifically with clinical tests nor reviewed by medical experts. It is anecdotal information and should be treated as such. For serious medical concerns, please consult your doctor.