Common Name: Juniperberry
Scientific Name: Juniperus communis
Origin: Northern Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia and France
Synonyms: Common juniper
Essential Oil Properties and Characteristics
Juniperberry is a clear or very pale-yellow, mobile oil having a fresh, yet warm, rich-balsamic, woody-sweet and pine-needle like odour.
Origin and History
The shrub J. communis grows wild throughout central Europe. It is a small tree reaching the height of 12 metres with blue-green needle-like leaves, greenish-yellow flowers and small round berries. The berries take about three years to mature.
Juniper was commonly burnt as a fumigant and ritual incense by ancient Greeks to combat epidemics, and by Tibetans and native Americans for ceremonial purposes. The English name juniper is derived from the Latin juniores, meaning young berries.
The berries and extract are used as ingredients in diuretic and laxative preparations. The oil is used as a fragrance component in soaps, detergents, creams, lotions and perfumes. Juniper berries are used for making gin.
Method of Extraction
The best juniper berry oil is steam-distilled from the crushed, and partly dried ripe berries.
Precautions During Use (Contraindications)
Juniperberry oil has been reported to be non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitising. Juniper oil is contra-indicated during pregnancy or those with kidney disease.
It must be remembered that this refers to the internal use of herbal extracts of Juniperberry. It is also thought that Juniperberries reputation has been wrongly tainted as it has sometimes been confused with Juniperus sabina (savin) - from as far back as 1928
Juniperberry essential oil has antiseptic and astringent properties which make it very useful for people who have oily skin.
Juniperberry essential oil well with lavender, clary sage, rosemary, geranium, cedarwood and lemon.
Source: Lawless J. The Encyclopaedia of essential oils. The complete guide to the use of aromatic oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health and Well-being. ISBN 0007145187