What is Juniper Berry Essential Oil?
Juniper berry essential oil is the volatile substance distilled from the fruits or berries (fresh or dried) of the Juniperus Communis L. tree, which belongs to the Cupresaceae family.
It is a very aromatic perennial, with abundant wood, branches and leaves.
The Juniper tree produces fruits that have been used to relieve pain and strengthen the organism. From these fruits comes the oil, which is widely used for medicinal and therapeutic purposes.
Two types of essential oils are extracted from the juniper. One is extracted from fruits or berries, and the other is extracted from the branches.
In this article we will delve into that which is extracted from the fruits, and has the greatest therapeutic uses.
Juniper berry oil is greenish-yellow to pale yellow in color. It has a fresh, piney, balsamic aroma with a woody-fruity character, and its taste is somewhat bitter.
The essential oil of juniper blends well with grapefruit, lemon, cypress, cedarwood, Eucalyptus globulus or E. radiata, rosemary, clary sage, lavender, lemongrass, palmarosa, sweet marjoram, tea tree, ginger and carrot seed essential oils.
Juniper in History
Known for its detoxifying and immune system stimulating properties, juniper berries, native to Bulgaria, have a long history helping to prevent diseases naturally, both in the short and long term.
Juniper, has been used since ancient times for religious customs. It was believed the oil kept far away bad energies and also, had influence on the afterlife. For this reason, it was applied to the dead, so that they had rest and elevation to heaven.
According to Greek mythology, it was one of Medea’s favorite plants, since she used it in his spells and witchcraft.
Besides, in medieval times, it was believed that juniper berries helped to protect people from witches.
This oil is considered one of the first aromatic oils used in antiquity. Juniper oil was burned as incense and helped keep evil spirits away. In addition, it was used as a purifying environmental essence, due to the belief that its aroma brought peace and kept bad energies away.
On the other hand, it was used medicinally as a tonic, antiseptic and diuretic. This served as protector of both emotional and physical health.
For years, juniper and rosemary were burned in French hospital wards, to help protect patients against bacteria and persistent infections.
Over the years, the properties of juniper essential oil were deepened in order to take better advantage of them.
Chemical Composition of Juniper Berry Essential Oil
Juniper essential oil contains over 74 unique compounds. However, its main components include: a-pinene (15.59-43.19%), b-myrcene (2.89-26.5%), germacrene D (2.76-10.22%).
In addition, it has high amounts of monoterpenes (39.11 to 78.38%) and sesquiterpenes (17.45-38.5%), and smaller quantities of esters (less than 1%) and monoterpenols.
Properties of Juniper Berry Essential Oil
Among the best known properties of juniper essential oil are: antiseptic, analgesic, anti-histamine, anti-inflammatory, sudorific, antirheumatic, depurative, detoxifier, antispasmodic, antinociceptive, antiviral, antimicrobial, expectorant, stimulant, stomach, astringent, carminative, diuretic, rubefacient, vulnerary and tonic substance.
Benefits of Juniper Essential Oil
Thanks to its components and therapeutic properties, juniper oil has proven to be beneficial in different areas of health as described below:
Vasodilator and anti-inflammatory
Relieves menstrual pain and localized pains and strokes, also allowing the blood to flow properly to control bruises formation.
It is useful to relieve discomfort of varicose veins, facilitating better blood circulation.
Juniper berry essential oil, is ideal for those who suffer from arthritis, rheumatism, and joint and bones pains.
Massage with one or two drops, blended with a carrier oil on the affected areas when necessary. Another way, is to add a few drops of juniper oil along with lavender essential oil and bath salts to a relaxing dip bath.
Excellent antiseptic for the skin
It is great to treat wounds, when a scar is about to close. It favors oily skin by preventing acne, as well as preventing the formation of eczema, dermatitis or other skin infections. It is also effective against hemorrhoids and athlete’s foot.
Powerful natural relaxing
Reduces anxiety and stress, because it acts on the nervous system.
The aroma of juniper berries is known to offer emotional support and reduce the physical and emotional symptoms of stress.
Considered as a natural remedy for anxiety, it is one of the most effective essential oils in the treatment of trauma and emotional pain, since juniper, has positive effects on the brain and relaxation responses when inhaled.
Due to the above, it is also very effective to combat insomnia.
Relieves stomach conditions
Juniper oil is stomach, that is, it keeps the stomach in optimal conditions so that it works well. It also helps to cure stomach disorders and ulcers, ensures the correct flow of bile, gastric juices and stimulates the digestive enzymes, promoting a better digestion.
Sometimes, the inner membrane of the stomach is injured due to prolonged acidity. Finally, it results in formation of ulcers. Juniper oil can help to avoid this situation, since it maintains the proper secretion of bile in the stomach. Bile is a basic need to neutralize stomach acids.
Additionally, thanks to its carminative properties it favors the elimination of gases.
Works as Anti-flu
Helps reduce the symptoms of flu, decongesting the respiratory tract.
Helps reduce discomfort caused by spasms (intestinal or respiratory) or muscle cramps.
Relieves toothaches and strengthens the gums. It helps to prevent hair loss, since it strengthens it from the roots. On the other hand, it reduces the possibility of hemorrhages and relieves diarrhea.
Helps against rheumatic diseases
Juniper essential oil promotes and improves blood circulation and helps eliminate toxins from the body such as uric acid. These two actions, help fight diseases such as arthritis, rheumatism, gout and kidney stones, which are related to inadequate circulation and the accumulation of toxins in the body. Besides, it also relieves inflammation related to these diseases.
Benefits as rubefacient
A rubefacient means that it slightly reddens face and body because it increases blood circulation. However, this can also cause skin irritation if applied excessively.
On the other hand, good circulation, promotes skin health, keeping it glossy and oxygenated.
Juniper oil acts as a blood detoxifier, helping to eliminate common toxins such as uric acid, heavy metals and contaminants, among others.
Besides, it promotes toxins elimination through the natural stimulation of sweating.
Helps urination process
Useful for the elimination of retained fluids and swelling due to kidney problems.
Promotes and improves the performance of the whole body
Being a stimulant, juniper essential oil improves all activities within the body. This stimulating effect also helps to overcome fatigue, dizziness and depression.
On the other hand, it increases brain and neuronal activity; stimulates the proper functioning of the nervous, digestive and excretory systems and; improves the secretions of the endocrine system as well as the exocrine glands, which include milk secretion, sebum, sweat, tears, urine and discharge during menstruation.
Strengthens immune system
Juniper oil is also considered a tonic. Its toning effect acts on muscles, tissues, skin and several other internal organs that include the respiratory, circulatory, nervous, digestive and excretory systems.
Its tonic effect helps maintain youth and integral health for a longer time, also makes us less likely to get sick.
Studies revealed a strong fungicidal activity against yeasts, fungi similar to yeasts and dermatophytes. The strongest fungicidal activity of juniper berries was recorded against the symptoms of the candida virus and dermatophytes (a pathogenic fungus that grows on the skin, mucous membranes, hair, nails and other body surfaces).
Benefits for skin
The use of juniper oil helps treat wounds and scars, also favors blood circulation, which allows the skin to look more healthy and oxygenated.
Due to its sudorific properties, it allows a better release of toxins, excess salts and water in the skin. This helps the pores are clean, giving a better skin semblance and controlling the appearance of cellulite.
As for the face, juniper berry essential oil acts in the prevention of acne, eczema and dermatitis, because its astringent and antiseptic properties.
It also controls the levels of fat, preventing the pores from clogging and forming pimples that lead to acne.
Another benefit is that it moisturizes and revitalizes the skin, lightening stains and disguising stretch marks.
Benefits for hair
Juniper oil prevents the formation of dandruff and seborrhea, providing hydration and nutrients to the scalp. In addition, it eliminates the toxins that clog capillary pores.
This is achieved by placing a few drops of juniper essential oil in the shampoo, or applying as a hair mask mixed with a carrier oil such as argan oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, coconut oil or olive oil, among others.
Helps eliminate cellulite
As we have seen, juniper essential oil provides important benefits for the skin, because it helps to release toxins, increases metabolism and prevents accumulation of unwanted fluids and salts in the body.
Therefore, it acts indirectly as a complement for treatment against cellulite, due to its depurative properties.
This can be used through massage in the affected area, combined with cinnamon essential oil or some citrus oil such as grapefruit (which is also great to fighting cellulite), orange, lemon, neroli, etc. This mixture must be diluted in a carrier oil such as almonds, apricot kernel or rosehip, among others.
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Uses of Juniper Essential Oil
Today, juniper essential oil is commonly used as an ingredient in natural remedies for sore throat, respiratory infections, fatigue, muscle aches and arthritis.
It can also help soothe the skin, strengthen the immune system, help with insomnia and digestion.
Other common therapeutic uses for juniper oil are:
- Improves poor circulation.
- Promotes appetite.
- Relieves flatulence, gas and dyspepsia.
- Soothes muscular aches and pains, rheumatism, joint pain and stiffness, strains and sprains, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, spasms, shin splints and edema.
- Fights colds, flu, respiratory congestion and bronchitis.
- Treats skin conditions such as slow healing sores, acne, oily skin, eczema, herpes and oily scalp.
- Relieves urinary tract infections.
- Calms and helps fluctuating energy levels, worry, cold, fear, trembling, emotionally frozen, feelings of being blocked, lack of motivation and energizing.
This oil is a popular addition in household cleaning products, aerosols for aromatherapy and fragrances.
It is also useful as an insect repellent.
Culinary uses (industrial and domestic)
Juniper oil is a natural flavor enhancer and preservative. In addition, it is the key ingredients that are used to make gin.
Its flavor is also added to other foods, including some drinks, sauces, marinades and even sauerkraut recipes.
In addition to adding a sweet and unique flavor to food, juniper berries act as a preservative, keeping bacteria away.
Is Juniper Berry Essential Oil useful for weight loss?
Thanks to its diuretic property, it can be used as an adjunct in the process to lose weight, since it allows to eliminate through the urine, toxins and fluids retained in the organism.
This should be accompanied by a good and healthy diet and the intake of at least two liters of water daily.
Juniper Berry Essential Oil and Pregnant Women
The consumption of juniper essential oil during pregnancy is not recommended, because it can cause alterations in the uterus and therefore, abortion.
Can Juniper Oil be used During Lactation Period?
In the period of breastfeeding the use of juniper oil is not convenient, because until now, juniper-based preparations are not beneficial for children.
How should Juniper Essential Oil be applied?
Among the properties offered by juniper oil is relaxing, which is why it is convenient to use it in aromatherapy.
Apply 2 or 3 drops through a diffuser. Its aroma allows to trigger the properties as emotional support to reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety, acting directly on the brain.
Juniper essential oil can also be spread through the home like a scented candle, or inhale directly from the bottle.
There is a good amount of evidence that shows that essential oils are absorbed into the bloodstream when inhaled, because the large number of blood vessels in the lungs absorb the oils and distribute them throughout the body.
The aroma of juniper berries and other essential oils can also reach the brain quickly, due to its rapid-acting effects on the olfactory system.
First of all, dilute the juniper oil with a carrier oil in a ratio of 1: 1 before applying it directly on the skin.
Use a few drops of juniper essential oil blended with one or two teaspoons of coconut oil or jojoba oil, then massage into any affected area.
The oil penetrates the skin and passes into the bloodstream. Then, makes its way into different areas of the body for pain reduction and other therapeutic benefits.
It is advisable to carry out a patch test before using topically, thus avoiding any unwanted reaction.
Juniper essential oil is recognized by the FDA as safe for consumption by intake (21CFR182.20). However, the ingestion of juniper essential oil is only recommended when using a reputable high quality oil brand.
How can you tell if the oil is safe for consumption? Search therapeutic grade oils that come from the appropriate plant species and are grown in the indigenous region.
The purchase of 100% pure organic oil is also important because this ensures that it is grown without chemical pesticides or herbicides.
Keep in mind that a reputable brand could be a bit more expensive, but this means that the plant was harvested at the right time, and extracted with the right temperature and pressure, to preserve the potent constituents of the oil.
To consume, add a drop of juniper oil to the water, take as a dietary supplement, mix with raw honey or add to a smoothie.
Interactions and warnings when using Juniper Berry Essential Oil
Although juniper oil is well tolerated and is unlikely to cause allergic reactions or side effects, it is very important to perform a patch test on the skin before topical application to avoid unwanted effects. Anyways, people who are allergic to any of its components should not use it.
As with any other essential oil, especially one that you have never tried before, excessive use can lead to sensitization or other complications, if a high amount is ingested.
Juniper berries can be used safely by most adults. However, it is important to use it only for a maximum of four weeks, since its prolonged and uninterrupted use, could cause stress in kidneys or liver.
Avoid internal use of juniper oil, if there is kidney disease, kidney inflammation or irritation, or pre-existing liver disease.
Keep juniper oil away from the eyes, ears and mucous membranes.
It is considered safe for children and even pets, however, it is not recommended for pregnant women.
Juniper oil causes alterations in the uterus, therefore, pregnant women can not use it, as it would cause abortion.
For patients with nephrotic and diabetic diagnoses, its use is not recommended, because it would complicate their health.
During breastfeeding, it should not be used internally, because it has certain toxic properties and the baby may be at risk of poisoning.
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Where to buy Juniper Berry Essential Oil?
Normally, good quality oils, that is, 100% pure, cold press and not mixed with other substances, can be found in specialized natural herb stores.
If you can not reach a trusted naturist or herbalist shop near you, we recommend:
Scent Characteristics: Fresh, sweet, woody with a hidden fruity note.
Our 100% Pure Essential Oils are extracted from the root, bark, wood, seed, fruit, leaf, or flower of a freshly harvested plant.
We source only the finest quality essential oils from highly regarded suppliers and distillers from around the world, many with whom we’ve worked with for decades.
Many of our oils are steam-distilled or cold-pressed, therefore retaining the essential odor, aroma, taste, medicinal, and therapeutic properties of the plant, resulting in a superior quality, and highly concentrated essence. Shop here.
Tips for a better performance and duration of your oils:
- Store them in a dark glass bottle, never plastic, not even when blended with a carrier oil.
- Maintain the container that holds it tightly closed, since they are very volatile and also, their properties would be lost or modified.
- Due to the high monoterpene content, it is important that the essential oil be stored properly (e.g., in a dark container in the refrigerator or in a cold room away from sunlight and heat).
- Oxidized essential oils should not be used in body care products or formulations designed for dermal application. The essential oil can, however, be used for cleaning products.
- Average shelf life for monoterpene-rich essential oils, when stored correctly is 1 to 3 years.