Juniper berry essential oil comes from the same berry that gives gin its floral, woodsy taste. The oil from this berry smells much like high-quality gin tastes: distinctly sharp, floral, and woodsy.
But if you’re looking for nootropic benefits from the juniper berry, you’ll want to steer clear of gin and opt for the wonderful aroma of juniper berry essential oil.
Juniper berries come from the Juniperus communis plant, an evergreen pine tree that grows throughout North America, Europe, and parts of Asia.1 It’s the volatile oils found in the berries that are to thank for its many therapeutic attributes including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties, among many others.
Traditional use of this oil dates back to the ancient Egyptians, who used it as a laxative. Use of juniper berry essential oil has continued throughout history to this day. Native Americans touted its benefits for infections, injuries, and arthritis. Others have used it for relieving pain, gas, indigestion, and even bad breath.
Fast forward to the present day, researchers have found that juniper berry essential oil inhibits some viruses, reduces bloating, and can improve skin conditions when used topically.
However, the majority of mood and brain health benefits are reported from users who use juniper berry oil through aromatherapy. When inhaled, people report improvements in feelings of stress, weakness, and fatigue.
Nootropic Benefits of Juniper Berry Essential Oil
Antioxidant Properties of Juniper Berry Essential Oil
Antioxidants are compounds capable of neutralizing particles known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) or free radicals.2 These particles are created naturally when the body converts the food you eat into energy; however, their overproduction can result in damage to the cells.
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Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between ROS and the antioxidants in your body. This imbalance is known to influence how well people think and feel. Increased oxidative stress is implicated in many conditions, including depression, anxiety, and neurodegenerative diseases.3
Many factors can lead to excess ROS formation including stress, environmental pollutants, a poor diet, cigarette smoke, and alcohol, among many others. Because people are exposed to many sources that lead to excess ROS formation, it’s important that everyone is also exposed to plentiful antioxidants to offset this damage, mainly through diet.
Studies examining juniper berry essential oil have discovered that it’s a powerful antioxidant, largely due to its ability to promote the activity of three antioxidant enzymes: catalase, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxidase.4
Because juniper berry essential oil is a strong antioxidant, it’s capable of protecting the cells in the body from damage, including neurons. These benefits suggest that juniper berry essential oil may hold potential as a nootropic, boosting brain health and function.
Improves Sleep Quality
In one human study, juniper berry essential oil was combined with three other oils to determine if the mixture had any benefit on those who struggle with sleep disorders. Some of the patients eliminated their need for sleep medication and the majority of participants reduced their dosage amount of medication.5
Offers Neuroprotective Benefits
There is some evidence that juniper berry may help protect brain health. In a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease, injection of an extract from the juniper berry exhibited neuroprotective effects that resulted in improvements in Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms and activity.6
It is theoretically possible that the antioxidant potential of juniper berry essential oil may support overall cognitive function by protecting the function and health of brain cells.
From its antioxidant properties to its mood-boosting benefits, juniper berry is a powerful essential oil that can offer a wide range of cognitive benefits when added to your daily routine. Try using MONQ’s Mountain or Forest personal diffuser for on-the-go aromatherapy.
PhotoCredits: MichelleLeePhotography/shutterstock.com, fizkes/shutterstock.com, Melica/shutterstock.com