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Juniper Berry: Product Highlight

Juniper Berry: Product Highlight

Plant Details

Juniper (Juniperus communis), also called Common Juniper, is an evergreen conifer in the Cupressaceae family.  It is native to North America, Europe, and the mountainous regions of Southwest Asia and is said to have the largest geographical range of any tree.  Juniper trees thrive in full to partial sun exposure and slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil, with a pH somewhere between 6 and 8.  The trees can vary greatly in growth form, ranging from taller trees to low, spreading shrubs.  Juniper trees are slow growing and generally reach between ten and fifty feet tall with a width between ten and forty feet.  The leaves of the tree are needle-like and grow in whorls of three.  Juniper leaves are green with a single white stomatal band on the inner surface and do not mature into scale-like adult foliage like other members of the genus.   Juniper trees are dioecious, meaning the male and female cones grow on separate plants and require wind to move pollen from male to female cones.  Male Juniper cones are two to three millimeters long and yellow in color, falling from the trees in Spring after shedding their pollen.  Female cones appear as berry-like fruits that are spherical and around four to ten millimeters in diameter.  Juniper Berries are initially green and transform to a dark purple-black color with a blue waxy coating as they ripen.  They take around eighteen to twenty-four months to ripen, resulting in a tree having both unripe green berries and ripe dark fruits on its branches at the same time. 


History

Juniper Berries, along with the leaves and branches of the tree, have been used in the traditional medicine and spiritual practices of many cultures throughout history.  Ancient peoples believed that Juniper helped to protect them from illness, evil spirits, and negative energy.  The Old Testament of the Christian Bible mentions the use of Juniper in Psalms 120:4.  The verse describes the burning of a deceitful person with bad intentions with the coals of the broom tree, a species of Juniper shrub that grows in Palestine.  Some interpretations of this verse believe that the burning is a metaphor for cleansing and eliminating negative energies which are also thought to be benefits of Juniper Essential Oil.  Juniper was highly regarded for its medicinal benefits in ancient Egypt and was used as an important part of religious incense.  Ancient Egyptians also found Juniper Oil to be an effective treatment for tapeworms as noted on a papyrus dating to around 1550 BCE.  Juniper Berries have been found in multiple ancient Egyptian tomb sites including the tomb of Tutankhamun.  Ancients Greeks believed the berries could increase stamina in athletes and used them in many of their Olympics events.  Romans used Juniper Berries as a less expensive, locally available alternative to black pepper and long pepper which both had to be imported from India.  The berries were also used to cut black pepper and make the expensive spice stretch further.  Pliny the Elder's Natural History mentions that "Pepper is adulterated with juniper berries, which have the property, to a marvelous degree, of assuming the pungency of pepper. " Juniper Berries have long been used for medicinal purposes by many Native American cultures.  Native people were found to make a tea with the berries and berberis root as well as use the berries in a contraceptive method. 


Extraction

Juniper Berries are harvested in the fall when they reach maturity.  The branches are gently beaten with sticks causing the berries to drop.  The berries are then spread out in thin layers in a shaded area, allowing them to dry without fermenting.  Juniper Berry Essential Oil is extracted from the dried fruits of the tree through steam distillation.  The resulting essential oil is thin and clear with a fresh peppery and pine-like aroma.  The needles and twigs of Juniper trees also contain essential oil, but it is not as aromatic or as potent as the oil extracted from the berries. 

 

Benefits & Uses

When used in aromatherapy, Juniper Berry Essential Oil is believed to have properties that can keep us grounded and serene.  It has been found to calm the mind and ease feelings of stress and anxiety to keep emotions happy and balanced.  It is also known to improve sleep quality and duration for improved energy levels in the morning and an uplifted mood throughout the day.  Juniper Berry Essential Oil is believed to possess grounding and relaxing properties that may help set intentions and clear the mind of negativity when used in meditation and mindfulness practices.  It has been found to support healthy immune system function to help the body combat illness. 

When diluted and used topically, Juniper Berry Essential Oil may help to reduce inflammation in the body which can benefit the skin in many ways.  It is known to cleanse congested skin and balance oil production to help combat acne and blemishes.  Juniper Berry Essential Oil may work to tone the skin and protect it from environmental irritants which helps to soothe irritation and inflammation while preventing further damage.  It has been found to diminish dark spots and signs of aging while also working to encourage moisture retention in the skin for a healthy and youthful complexion.  Juniper Berry Essential Oil may also help boost the digestive system and encourage the production of digestive enzymes to improve the breakdown and absorption of nutrients from foods. 


Here are some recipes using Juniper Berry Essential Oil that we love…


Get Grounded Diffuser Blend

Get Grounded Diffuser Blend

Ingredients

Instructions

Add water to your diffuser up to the fill line.  Add drops of the essential oil blend.  This diffuser blend recipe is formulated for a 200ml ultrasonic diffuser.  Adjust the amount according to the size and directions of your diffuser.  

Mindful Intentions Meditation Roll On

Mindful Intentions Meditation Roll On 

Ingredients

Instructions

Add the essential oils to the bottle.  Fill the rest of the bottle to the top with fractionated coconut oil.  Replace the rollerball and cap, gently shake, and roll across the skin.  

 Youthful Complexion Facial Toner

Youthful Complexion Facial Toner

Ingredients

Instructions

Mix all ingredients in a 4 oz glass amber bottle.  Shake well to combine.  To use, soak a cotton round with the toner and then gently rub it over the face and neck.  Shake well before each use.  Store in a cool dark place for extended shelf life.  

 Stay Well Immune Boost Spray

Stay Well Immune Boost Spray

Ingredients

Instructions

Add 2oz of high-percentage alcohol to the bottle.  Add the essential oils and fill the remainder of the bottle with witch hazel, leaving a little space at the top.  Shake well before each use.  Spray around the home. 

Tummy Tonic Digestion Support Massage Oil

Tummy Tonic Digestion Support Massage Oil

Ingredients

Instructions

Add all ingredients to a 4-ounce amber glass bottle and shake vigorously to combine.   Pour a small amount into the hands and gently massage into the abdomen.  Store in a cool, dark location out of the reach of children and pets. 

 

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