Juniper berry essential oil

Juniper Berry essential oil information

Juniper Berry essential oil information

General Information

Common Name: Juniperberry

Scientific Name: Juniperus communis

Family:  Cupressacceae

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

Therapeutic properties

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