What Is Juniper Berry Oil?
Juniper (Juniperus communis) is a coniferous evergreen shrub that belongs to the pine family (Cupressaceae) and is commonly found on heaths and mountains in North America, Europe and Southwest Asia.1 In the United States, junipers grow abundantly in the mountainous regions of the Appalachians, as well as in western states such as Arizona, California, New Mexico and Utah.2
The juniper tree can be identified by its stiff and needle-like blue-green leaves, short reddish-brown trunks, small yellow flowers and blue or black fruits or berries (produced by the female trees). The tree can grow anywhere between six to 25 feet high.3 The leaves, which grow in whorls of three on the woody twigs, emit a lemon- or apple-like fragrance when crushed.4
Both the branches and the berries of the leaves have been used since ancient times for medicinal and spiritual purposes. The evergreen tree is also popular as a residential ornament plant, often used in wildlife plantings and shelterbelts. The aromatic wood is also used for making furniture, fence posts and pencils.
Juniper essential oil is traditionally steam-distilled from the needles, twigs, wood and berries. However, juniper berry oil, which is extracted solely from the berries, is superior in quality. It's a pale oil with a watery viscosity and a fresh, clear and slightly woody and fruity fragrance.5
Uses of Juniper Berry Oil
The fresh and calming aroma of juniper berry oil is widely renowned for relieving stress and anxiety. When diffused, it can also cleanse and purify the air. If you want to use juniper berry oil to get its healing and calming effects, try these methods:
• Vapor therapy. Use a burner or vaporizer to diffuse the oil, which helps relieve emotional issues, such as addiction, nervous tension and hangovers.
• Add to lotions and creams. Try this for skin-related problems, such as oily skin, acne, dermatitis, psoriasis and weeping eczema.
• Use in a compress. Ideal for eczema, arthritis and general infections.
Composition of Juniper Berry Oil
The main chemical components of juniper berry oil are a-pinene, b-pinene, camphene, sabinene, y-terpinene, a-phellandrene, myrcene, a-terpinene, 1,4-cineole, b-phellandrene, terpinen-4-ol, p-cymene, cayophyllene and bornyl acetate.
It also has trace amounts of camphor, limonene, nerol, linalool, borneol and linalyl acetate.6
Benefits of Juniper Berry Oil
Juniper berry oil has anti-rheumatic, astringent, carminative, depurative, antiseptic, vulnerary and other beneficial properties that contribute to its health-promoting effects. This relaxing oil can help relieve mental and emotional issues, such as anxiety and mental fatigue.
You can use juniper berry oil topically to help relieve a wide range of skin and hair problems, such as eczema, weeping eczema, acne, psoriasis, hair loss and dandruff. It also helps with fluid retention and can help prevent cellulite formation. Juniper berry oil is also an antiseptic that may help protect wounds from infection and tetanus.7
Juniper berry oil may also help with improved blood circulation, which is essential in removing toxins like uric acid from the body.
It may also help control ailments that are related to improper circulation and toxin accumulation, such as gout, arthritis and renal calculi. Here are some other health benefits of juniper berry oil:8
• It works as a laxative and may help regulate menstrual cycle in women
• May protect you against digestive problems like stomach upsets, intestinal fermentation and colitis
• It may help you experience relief from hemorrhoids. Simply add a diluted drop to your hot bath for 20 minutes (do not sit in the bath longer than this, as the effectiveness may be lessened).