JUNIPER plant & Essential Oil Profile
Juniper Berry benefits and uses. This oil come from the female seed cone that produces Juniper “berries”; Juniperus communis L. Juniper berries are used to flavor gin and liqueurs and eaten with meat; there is a French form has rather sweeter (fruitier) berries that I prefer to use to flavor drinks. Berries are diuretic and the oil or CO2 is wonderful in many blends as an anti-inflammatory, to ease pain of aching joints.
By Jeanne Rose ~ May 2021
Common & Scientific Name ~ Juniper tree or Juniper berry oil comes from the berries of Juniperus communis. Do not confuse this tree and its oil with other trees that have ‘juniper’ in the name.
Other Common Name/Naming Information – There are other trees in this family that are called Juniper but here we are limiting the discussion to Juniperus communis and not to the pencil-cedar called either ‘cedar’ or Juniper, or the Juniper tree that produces Cade oil.
See a longer article at http://jeanne-blog.com/juniper-berry-eohydrosol/
_____Family ~ Cupressaceae
Countries of Origins ~ This tree is limited to cool, temperate climates such as areas in India and Bulgaria. Varieties of J. communis and different berry-bearing species also grow on the west coast of the United States and are used in the production of local gin.
Endangered or Not ~ This tree is threatened or endangered in several areas. I have found this species in the local San Francisco Botanical Garden.
General description of Plant habitat and growth of Juniperus communis ~ This conifer belongs to the Cupressaceae family and the leaves are stiff and prickly, needle-like. It grows up to 18-feet but is generally kept pruned closer to the ground for the berries. 1st-year berries are green and have a fresh bright flavor and are usually allowed to mature another year when they turn brown to black before they are harvested to steam-distill or to be carbon dioxide extracted for a flavorant.
Portion of the plant used in distillation, how distilled, extraction methods and yields: ~ Steam-distilled or CO2 from the merged scales of the cone, the berries, are the part that we usually just call Juniper oil. Entire branchlets are harvested for hydro-distillation for hydrosol use.
Yield ~ The 2nd year berries are harvested in the fall and 100 kilos yield 1 kilo of SD essential oil. 0.2 – 2.0% for berry oil.
• Odor Description/ Aroma Assessment ~ The steam-distilled essential oil from Bulgaria has a rather intense herbaceous odor with back notes of spicy, wood, and fruit while the CO2 example had a soft spicy, floral, and fruity odor – quite different and would obviously behave differently in a blend when contained other odors. The CO2 most closely resembles the scent of the berry.
GENERAL PROPERTIES of Juniper Berry oil
Properties and Uses ~ Juniper berries can be eaten or taken as a tea; the essential oil and CO2 extract can be used by inhalation and application.
Juniper berries are a crucial component of gin. The 1st year berries have a much different taste than the mature 2nd year berries.
The properties are antiseptic, diuretic, tonic, and depurative (purifying). The essence by Inhalation is a tonic, brain tonic, and helpful in respiratory complaints as an expectorant. The essence used in blends by application or massage is antiseptic, astringent, skin cleansing for oily skin.
When I travel, especially by air or even by train, I like to eat a berry or two to alleviate jet lag or for change-of-location.
Application/Skincare ~ Juniper berry oil is a valuable addition to skin and body care products due to its astringent and antiseptic qualities and is a wonderful addition in an astringent cleanser for the skin. It is a wonderful odor and deodorizer in men’s products.
Diffuse/Diffusion ~ Juniper berry oil can be diffused in a blend with other oils that are less intense in scent, such as Rosemary, Lavender, citrus oils. It has a very cleansing effect on the air, and is refreshing
Emotional/Energetic Use: Inhale Juniper berry oil for mental exhaustion, or to visualize being guarded from negative thinking and guard from danger. Be Positive.
Blends Best with most citrus oils, other wood oils such as Atlas Cedar, the Mediterranean herbs such as Clary Sage, Lavender, Rosemary, and the base oils such as Oakmoss, Labdanum, Vetivert and Patchouli.
Green Harmony – An Herbal Perfume
Cedrus atlantica (wd) 3 drops
Citrus aurantium ssp bergamia (pl) 6 drops
Juniperus communis (berr) 3 drops
Ocimum basilicum (lvs) 1 drop
Salvia sclarea (lvs) 5
Sports Blend – Aching Muscles and Joints
5 drops Sage EO
5 drops Basil EO
5 drops Cypress EO (Cupressus sempervirens)
5 drops Juniper Berry EO
5 drops Lemon EO
5 drops Rosemary EO
2 oz carrier oil, especially recommended is Bruise Juice
Vigorously massage aching areas as often as needed
General All Over Massage Oil for Pain ~ To one ounce of carrier oil, add 3-4 drops each of Rose Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), Juniper berry (Juniperus communis) and Lemon (Citrus limon).
Blending with formula One of my favorite blends is Juniper Berry mixed with Sage, Cypress, Lemon, Basil for the relief of all sports injuries, bruising, aching muscles, and external massage for cellulite and relaxing after exercise.
Chemical Components ~ Alpha-Pinene, Sabinene, Myrcene, Camphene, and Terpineol.
HYDROSOL of Juniper berry ~ A refreshing addition to your skincare routine, especially for troubled, acneic, or oil skin and hair.
________PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or even a by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components most are lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil, or by using dried material. We recommend that the producers specifically distill for a product by using plant material that is fresh.
Historical Uses ~ “Common juniper was used by Native Americans of the Great Basin as a blood tonic. Native Americans from the Pacific Northwest used tonics made from the branches to treat colds, flu, arthritis, muscle aches, and kidney problems. Cones were used by the southern Kwakiutl of British Columbia for treating stomach ailments and wood or bark was used to treat respiratory problems. The Interior Salish used cones to make medicines for a variety of ailments. Eurasians made tonics from common juniper for kidney and stomach ailments, and for muscular uses and rheumatism.”1
Key Use ~ The Oil of Edema from Aromatherapy – Home&Family2
Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, 2014 printing, Cambridge University Press.
Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols. Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999
Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations. San Francisco, California:
Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose & Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1992
This article is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.
2 thoughts on “Juniper berry oil”
Thanks for sharing you eat them to alleviate jetlag. In terms of scents, do you reckon the tincture is better for perfumery or the co2?
The scent of the steam-distilled and the CO2 extract is so different that it would depend on what sort of perfume that I am making. I probably would not use the tincture in perfumery if I had either of the other two to choose from.