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Juniper Berry Essential Oil
The branches and berries of the Juniper, a coniferous tree, have been used for medicinal and spiritual purposes since ancient times.
The Old Testament includes several references to the juniper tree including Psalms 120:4. This verse references burning a person with a false, deceitful tongue with the coals (perhaps burning branches/logs?) of the broom tree, an ancient name for a variety of juniper shrub that grows in Palestine. This passage can be looked at in several ways, one being that the juniper was used to cleanse, purify and eliminate that which is false and negative.
Native Americans use juniper berries for medicinal applications and burn the berries to cleanse and purify the air. I dabble in making natural forms of incense and include juniper berries and Juniper Berry Essential Oil in several of my personal recipes. Some involved in energy work and crystal healing use Juniper Berry Essential Oil to cleanse and clear crystals.
Juniper berries are a natural antiseptic, as is the essential oil. It may help combat acne when used at low dilutions in skin care applications. A room mist/air freshener made with Juniper Berry Essential Oil may help to kill airborne germs.
Emotionally, Juniper Berry Essential Oil is calming and helps to ease stress without imparting the sedative effects that clary sage and the chamomiles are known for. Spiritually, Juniper Berry Essential Oil used in a room mist, diffuser or candle burner cleanses and purifies the air. It is a good choice for use during prayer or meditation. I prefer to use Juniper Berry Essential Oil in a candle diffuser instead of a nebulizer.
Juniper Oil has a distinctive aroma that is woody, sweet, fresh and crisp. Juniper Berry Essential Oil blends well with wood oils like cedarwood, sandalwood and rosewood and other conifers like cypress and fir needle. I also enjoy it blended with clary sage, or the grounding base notes of vetiver or patchouli. I also enjoy juniper berry blended with citrus oils including orange or grapefruit.
Juniper berries are responsible for giving gin its distinctive flavor. The name gin is a loose derivative of the word juniper. Jenever, a Dutch predecessor to today's gin was named from Jeneverbes, the Dutch word for juniper.
Common Method of Extraction
Plant Part Typically Used
Strength of Initial Aroma
Mild - Medium
Crisp, woody, sweet, earthy, with almost a hidden fruity note.
Juniper Oil Uses
Colds, flu, acne, cellulitis, gout, hemorrhoids, obesity, rheumatism, toxin build-up. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 58-61.]
[H. Schilcher, D. Emmrich, C. Koehler. Gas Chromatographischer Verleich von Atherischen Wacholderolen und Deren Toxikologische Bewertung. (Pharmazeutische Zeitung 138, 1993), 85-91. Source cited in Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 314.]
Tisserand and Young do not indicate any special precautions when using Juniper Berry Oil. However, they precaution to avoid use of the oil if it has oxidized. They discuss why earlier sources claim the oil is contraindicated in pregnancy and kidney disease and explain why they believe these contraindications are inaccurate and unnecessary. Reading Tisserand and Young's full profile is recommended. [Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 314-315.]
For more information about Juniper Essential Oil, read AromaTalk's Spotlight on Juniper Essential Oil.
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General Safety Information
Do not take any oils internally and do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2s or other concentrated essences onto the skin without advanced essential oil knowledge or consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children. It is safest to consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children. For in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.
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