Juniper has a clean, mildly penetrating, woody scent that has a cleansing effect on the mind, spirit, and body. It may work as a detoxifier and cleanser, is beneficial to the skin, and supportive to the urinary system
PARTS USED: Berries
EXTRACTION METHOD: Steam distilled
NOTE CLASSIFICATION: Middle
AROMA : Fresh, green, fruity, balsamic undertone
BLENDS WELL WITH: Black pepper, cedarwood, clary sage, cypress, elemi, fir needle, lavender, oakmoss, rosemary
Juniper berries are a spice used in a wide variety of culinary dishes and best known for the primary flavoring in gin (and responsible for gin’s name, which is a shortening of the Dutch word for juniper, genever). Juniper berries are also used as the primary flavor in the liquor Jenever and sahti-style of beers. Juniper berry sauce is often a popular flavoring choice for quail, pheasant, veal, rabbit, venison and other meat dishes.
Don’t confuse juniper berry oil with cade oil, which is distilled from juniper wood (Juniperus oxycedrus).
Many of the earliest prehistoric people lived in or near juniper forests which furnished them food, fuel, and wood for shelter or utensils. Many species, such as J. chinensis (Chinese Juniper) from eastern Asia, are extensively used in landscaping and horticulture, and as one of the most popular species for use in bonsai. It is also a symbol of longevity, strength, athleticism, and fertility.
Some junipers are susceptible to Gymnosporangium rust disease, and can be a serious problem for those people growing apple trees, the alternate host of the disease.
Some junipers are given the common name “cedar,” including Juniperus virginiana, the “red cedar” that is used widely in cedar drawers. “Eastern redcedar” is the correct name for J. virginiana. The lack of space between the words “red” and “cedar” indicate that this species is not a true cedar, Cedrus.
In Morocco, the tar (gitran) of the arar tree (Juniperus phoenicea) is applied in dotted patterns on bisque drinking cups. Gitran makes the water more fragrant and is said to be good for the teeth.
Some Indigenous peoples, such as the Dineh, have traditionally used juniper to treat diabetes. Animal studies have shown that treatment with juniper may retard the development of streptozotocin-induced diabetes in mice. Native Americans have also used juniper berries as a female contraceptive. The 17th Century herbalist physician Nicholas Culpeper recommended the ripened berries for conditions such as asthma and sciatica, as well as to speed childbirth.
Juniper is one of the plants used in Scottish and Gaelic Polytheist saining rites, such as those performed at Hogmanay (New Year), where the smoke of burning juniper is used to cleanse, bless and protect the household and its inhabitants.
Juniper berries are steam distilled to produce an essential oil that may vary from colorless to yellow or pale green. Some of its chemical components are alpha pinene, cadinene, camphene and terpineol. Leaves and twigs of Juniperus virginiana are steam distilled to produce oil of juniper. Middle Tennessee and adjacent northern Alabama and southern Kentucky are the centers for this activity. The U.S. Forest Service has provided plans for the apparatus required. This work is typically done during periods of cold weather to reduce the loss of essential oil to evaporation, which is greater in warmer weather, and to take advantage of a time of year when labor might be more readily available.
Juniper is used for digestion problems including upset stomach, intestinal gas (flatulence), heartburn, bloating, and loss of appetite, as well as gastrointestinal (GI) infections and intestinal worms. It is also used for urinary tract infections (UTIs) and kidney and bladder stones. Other uses include treating snakebite, diabetes, and cancer.
Some people apply juniper directly to the skin for wounds and for pain in joints and muscles. The essential oil of juniper is inhaled to treat bronchitis and numb pain.
In foods, the juniper berry is often used as a condiment and a flavoring ingredient in gin and bitter preparations. The extract and essential oil are used as a flavoring ingredient in foods and beverages.
In manufacturing, the juniper oil is used as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics.
Juniper extract and juniper oil are used in cosmetics including lipstick, foundation, hair conditioners, bath oils, bubble bath, eye shadow, and many other products.
In drier areas, juniper pollen easily becomes airborne and can be inhaled into the lungs. This pollen can also irritate the skin and cause contact dermatitis. Cross-allergenic reactions are common between juniper pollen and the pollen of all species of cypress.
Monoecious juniper plants are highly allergenic, with an OPALS allergy scale rating of 9 out of 10. Completely male juniper plants have an OPALS rating of 10, and release abundant amounts of pollen. Conversely, all-female juniper plants have an OPALS rating of 1, and are considered “allergy-fighting”.
Essential Oil should not be applied directly to the skin but in carrier oils, putting the oils directly on the skin is too harsh due to their concentrated form. Add a few drops essential oil to the carrier oil.
Avoid in kidney or liver disease!
If you are pregnant, receiving cancer treatment, or have a weakened immune system the use of essential oils is not recommended!
While essential oil will not go rancid, carrier oils can. Store your carrier oils in a cool, dry, and dark place.
While I’ve attempted to use credible sources for information, this is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If there is a disparity between the information presented within this blog and the advice given by your medical professional, please follow the medical professional’s advice as he/she will know you and your medical circumstances.