Juniper Essential Oil <br/><em>Juniperus communis</em>
From the tops of the Himalayas to the rocky, mountainous desert of Nevada, juniper trees and shrubs fight the odds for their survival. In the Himalayas and Tibet, the juniper is one of the highest sources of wood and foliage, a precious commodity in the harsh conditions of the towering mountains. Like the tree itself, the oil that juniper produces is hearty and potent, a boon to human health and spirituality.
Elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere, of course, juniper has an easier life. It is prevalent throughout the hemisphere, often grown in abundance, especially in Europe. This delicious-smelling shrub gives us two useful and important essential oils. The first, juniper essential oil, is made from the steam distillation of the twigs and needles of the juniper tree. The second, juniper berry oil, is made from the small juniper berries produced by the bush.
Whether you prefer juniper essential oil or juniper berry oil, each offers a warm scent that is reminiscent of walks in the forest. Each also offers welcome health and spiritual benefits that can bring you peace, understanding and wisdom.
Juniper Essential Oil Uses
- Germ Prevention. Juniper is a beneficial antiseptic, once well-known and well-used on wounded soldiers in the battlefield and women after childbirth. While its antiseptic properties are less well-known today, it remains a useful tool for cleaning and purifying your home. Add a few drops of juniper oil to a spray bottle of water and spritz it onto countertops for a fresh-smelling cleaner. A few spritzes into the air can help purify the air in your home and absorb unwanted odors.
- Blood Circulation. Juniper oil eases swelling and rouses better blood circulation throughout your body. It is often used as a natural way to ease arthritis pain, gout and rheumatism.
- Digestion. The carminative effect of juniper oil helps to ease gas in your intestinal tract. The oil also helps to balance the secretion of gastric juices, so that the intestinal lining isn’t subjected to damaging stomach acids except when appropriate.
- Detoxify. Eliminate harmful salts and toxins from your body by taking advantage of juniper essential oil’s diuretic effect. The oil encourages urination, helping to rid your body of unnecessary and potentially damaging fluids. Using a diuretic can also sometimes aid in lowering your blood pressure and reduce bloating.
- Fight Infections. Juniper essential oil contains alpha pinene, beta pinene and para cymene, all of which seem to contribute to a strong antimicrobial effect, according to recent studies. Juniper berry oil also showed this effect in medical studies. There is hope, if the continued studies bear the same results, that juniper essential oil and juniper berry essential oil can be used to help fight antibiotic resistant infections.
- Fatigue and Depression. The stimulating effect of juniper oil can help whisk away mental fatigue and reduce very mild depression.
- Sleep Aid. Paradoxically, the aroma of juniper oil is also very relaxing, in spite of its dual stimulating effect. The relaxing fragrance of the oil aids sleep, especially if you diffuse it in your bedroom at night or rub a few drops onto the bottom of your feet.
- Third Eye Chakra. Juniper’s ability to relax your body while helping to clear your mind of clutter is an advantage as you meditate and practice yoga. It is especially helpful in awakening and balancing your third eye chakra, allowing you to open all your senses. It clears the path to a greater understanding of yourself, your spirit and your divinity. It also helps to increase your awareness of your purpose.
- Protection. Juniper is protective and grounding, and can be used to help ward off negative energies.
Pregnant and nursing women should avoid using juniper essential oil, People with kidney or liver disease should not use juniper essential oil or juniper berry oil. Sensitive mucous membranes are sensitive to juniper oil, so be sure to keep it away from your ears, nose, mouth and eyes. Hormone medications may interact with juniper oil and juniper berry oil, so check with your physician or healthcare provider before using.
- Botanical Name: Juniperus communis
- Common Method of Extraction: Steam distillation
- Plant Part Typically Used: Needles, twigs
- Perfumery Note: Middle and top
- Aromatic Description: Fresh, woody smell