Juniper is a slow growing evergreen tree with needle-like leaves that bears small female seed cones that resemble berries. Juniper can grow low and wide like a shrub or tall and slender like a tree. The “berries” are used as a bitter-citrusy spice as well as the giving gin it’s distinctive flavor. Juniper’s essential oil has been used since ancient times.
Juniper berries take two or three years to ripen. The harvesters gently hit the tree with sticks to shake off the ripe berries. The plant cannot be cut so as to preserve the plant to continue it’s growth for the next season. Baskets or sheets are placed under the juniper plant to collect the ripe berries. The berries are then sifted to remove the needles and twigs. The berries are dried slightly and taken to market for the spice trading, gin and essential oil distillers.
Juniper berry essential oil is obtained from steam distillation of the berries. It has a fresh coniferous aroma with a deeper fruitiness and balsamic backnote. Distilling the needles and twigs gives it a harsher pine-like note and may be found in some less expensive oils.
Juniper berry essential oil is stimulating and known for “moving” stagnation. It is used often in massage oils to effectively fight against cellulite and water retention.
Smooth Skin Massage Oil
2 oz grapeseed oil
15 drops juniper essential oil
10 drop sweet fennel essential oil
5 drops cypress essential oil
5 drops grapefruit essential oil
For best results, use this blend with a combination of massage and warm baths.
The cleansing action of juniper also has a great effect with the relief of arthritis, and rheumatism because it stimulates circulation and encourages the elimination of uric acid, which is a contributing factor in these diseases.
Pain Relieving Arthritis Blend
2 oz jojoba oil
12 drops juniper essential oil
12 drops lemon essential oil
6 drops sweet fennel essential oil
5 drops roman chamomile essential oil
For best results, use 5-7 drops in the palm and massage into the painful area for 3-5 minutes and leave on overnight.
Juniper is very effective on skin conditions such as acne and dermatitis where it contributes its antiseptic, astringent and soothing properties.
Soothing Skin Acne Gel
1 oz aloe vera gel
5 drops juniper essential oil
5 drops clary sage essential oil
3 drops tea tree essential oil
Apply a dab of the blend to affected area.
From Babylonia to Egypt and Tibet, Juniper berries, leaves and branches were burned as a ceremonial incense to offer to the gods or ward off evil spirits. Today we can use juniper in a diffuser to ward off stress, anxiety and negative emotions.
De-Stress and Clarify Diffuser Blend
5 drops juniper essential oil
4 drops lavender essential oil
1 drop ylang-ylang essential oil
Diffuse in your favorite diffuser while you relax and take a few deep breaths or while you’re going about your day.
Juniper Berry essential oil is full of health benefits and easily incorporated into your aromatherapy “tool-kit”. Try the blends I’ve recommended or play with blending it with citruses or flowers.Precautions: Juniper can negatively react with certain medications activated by the CYP3A4 enzyme so consult with your physician before eating juniper berries or using the essential oil.