Juniper berries offer a sharp flavor similar to rosemary but with sweet citrus undertones and a turpentine-like finish. Juniperus communis is native to the northern latitudes of Europe, Asia, and North America. Being one of the world's most widely distributed shrubs, Juniper Berries have been historically traced to all corners of the globe.
Juniper berry essential oil, like juniper leaf essential oil, is derived from the juniper plant. However, juniper berry is derived from the berries of the plant, while juniper leaf is derived from the needles and branches. Although they share similar healing properties, they differ in composition.
Here we will be focusing on juniper berry essential oil. This balsamic, woodsy essential oil is commonly used internally, aromatically, and topically to treat a variety of ailments.
The History of Juniper Berry
There are over 50 species of juniper, however, the juniper berries used to make the essential oil come from the Common Juniper plant, scientifically known as Juniperus communis. The Common Juniper plant grows widely throughout Canada, the Northern US, Europe, and Northern Asia. 1
Juniper berries have been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. In the time of the bubonic plague, many people held juniper berries in their mouths to prevent infection with the disease. Surgeons used a tea made of juniper berries to disinfect their tools, and these berries were used medicinally by Native Americans. Warts, gout, nausea, urinary tract infections, and kidney diseases have all been historically treated with juniper berries.
Nowadays, juniper berries are commonly used to flavor gin and lunch meats, although they are also used extensively in aromatherapy. The essential oil made from these berries is used to treat infections, detoxify the body, treat insomnia, and relieve muscle pain. 2
Juniper berry essential oil is steam distilled from the berries of Juniperis communis. The resulting oil is clear or pale yellow in color and has a balsamic, woodsy, pine scent.
Juniper berry essential oil has antiseptic, antirheumatic, astringent, antispasmodic, analgesic, diuretic, and tonic properties. This is all due to its composition, which is primarily:
Uses for Juniper Berry Essential Oil
Juniper berry essential oil can be used aromatically to promote restful sleep, topically to reduce muscle pain and prevent infections, and even internally to support kidney and urinary tract function.
Juniper berry essential oil has antiseptic properties, which help fight against harmful pathogens and keep your skin and body healthy. Not only will it keep minor wounds clean and free of infection, but it can also clear up acne, rashes, eczema, and other skin problems.
To treat bites, scrapes, burns, cuts and other minor wounds, mix a few drops of juniper berry essential oil with a carrier oil and apply to the wound before covering with a bandage. To treat rashes, eczema or psoriasis, mix the essential oil with a carrier oil and massage gently onto the affected area.
For a great, natural way to fight acne, mix a couple of drops of this essential oil into a cup of water and use as an astringent rinse after cleansing the face. Alternatively, add a drop or two of this oil to your daily cleanser or moisturizer.
Spasms are involuntary muscle contractions that can lead to coughs, cramps and other pains. Juniper berry essential oil’s analgesic properties can help relieve the pain of muscle cramps.If you have cramps or painful muscles, add a few drops of this essential oil to a carrier oil and gently massage onto the painful areas. You can also add a few drops of this oil to a bath to soak in all of its healing properties.
Improves Respiratory Function
The antispasmodic properties in this essential oil can help relieve respiratory conditions. For those suffering from a persistent cough, diffuse juniper berry essential oil throughout the home or add a few drops to a bowl of steaming water. Cover your head with a towel and breathe in the steam for approximately five minutes.
Acts as a Diuretic and Tonic
The diuretic properties of juniper berry essential oil increase urination, assisting the body in removing extra water, salt, and toxins. This can help the body function more effectively and also helps improve the function of the kidneys while reducing bloating.
A tonic helps strengthen all of the body's systems. Juniper berry essential oil does just that, but it is especially effective at keeping the kidneys and urinary tract healthy. 4
To benefit from the tonic and diuretic properties of this oil, mix a few drops into a carrier oil and massage onto the lower abdomen. You can also add a drop to a glass of water and take internally.
The fresh scent of juniper berry essential oil can help relax and ground the mind. If you are suffering from anxiety, stress, or fatigue, simply inhaling the scent of this essential oil can help re-center your focus. This essential oil can also help promote restful sleep in individuals who suffer from insomnia. 5
To calm your mind, diffuse juniper berry essential oil throughout the home. You can also keep the scent with you throughout the day by lightly dabbing a drop or two on your wrists and neck. For a good night’s sleep, diffuse this oil throughout your room 15–20 minutes before going to sleep, or mix a few drops in a spray bottle with water and lightly spray your sheets and pillowcases.
Safety and Precautions
When used with caution, juniper berry essential oil is safe for topical, aromatic, and internal use. To avoid negative reactions, you should always be sure you are purchasing only 100 percent therapeutic grade essential oils.
If you have kidney or liver disease, you should not use juniper berry essential oil. It is typically safe for internal use, although it should not be ingested for more than four weeks at a time; prolonged use can have negative effects on the kidney and liver. 6
When using this essential oil topically, always conduct a patch skin test first and dilute in a carrier oil to avoid irritation.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult with your doctor before using any essential oils. Do not attempt to use juniper berry essential oil in place of a prescription medication or to treat a chronic condition before first consulting a medical professional.
When stored correctly in a cool, dark place, juniper berry essential oil will last for approximately three years. 7
With its wide range of uses, juniper berry essential oil is a powerful oil that should be a part of everyone’s collection. Whether you’re looking for a good night's sleep, a way to calm the mind, or a natural way to keep all of the body’s systems running smoothly, juniper berry essential oil can do the trick.
Statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.