The Essentials Guide: Juniper Berry

ADK_0519Welcome to the first installment of The Essentials Guide!

I’m kicking off this new series with a scent I use to hate – Juniper. Everything about it was unappealing to me. From the essential oil, the berries on the shrub itself, and even gin; I just wasn’t crazy about the aroma.

So, why am I starting with a scent I once disliked? Let’s travel back in time…

About ten years ago I was researching different oils to use in a blend to help my husband manage the pain and inflammation from plantar fasciitis. Juniper Berry kept popping up, and I kept ignoring it. There was no way I was buying an oil that I wouldn’t use for anything else. But, everything kept leading me back to Juniper. So, I bought it with the mindset – if the blend helped, at least the bottle wouldn’t be wasted.

I mixed up the blend (which did help, by the way) and I realized something – when the Juniper was mixed with other oils, I didn’t hate it. To me, that was a plus. I could just hide the scent. To try and use up the bottle of oil, I made a lotion blend for myself to help eliminate toxins. I used it a couple of times a week for a few weeks.

Then one day I found myself reaching for that bottle of Juniper and added it to my diffuser that morning – by itself. Who was I? Was I actually starting to like the smell?

I decided to do a little more research and that’s when it hit me – I needed it! At the time, I was going through a phase where I always felt overwhelmed and stressed out. I tried plenty of other oils, but nothing seemed to work for more than a couple of hours. When I did the research I found that it was helpful in releasing worry and negativity. Key word: RELEASING. Every other oil I tried was calming or relaxing, nothing actually helped to break apart that stagnant energy. And let me tell you, that Juniper was just what I needed. I started my day with it every morning that week, and before I knew it, that constant feeling of overwhelm slowly disappeared.

So, the point of this long story? Never say never. Trust your instincts and listen to your body. If you listen I promise it will lead you to the natural medicine you need. If you are drawn to an oil but typically don’t like the scent for no reason other than you just don’t like it, please give it a try. (But, as I said in yesterday’s introduction, scent and memory are closely related. If the scent of an oil triggers any unpleasant memory, please don’t use it.)

Now, on with the learning…

Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis)

Juniper Berry essential oil is steam distilled from the fruit (berries) of the common juniper shrub. It has a fresh, piney, and woody aroma.

It is a top-middle note that blends well with most wood and citrus oils, as well as Frankincense, Clary sage, Lavender, Benzoin, Fennel, Geranium, and Rose.

A bit of chemistry…

Juniper Berry is high in monoterpenes. The main chemical components are a-pinene and b-myrcene. What does this mean? Let’s break down the therapeutic properties of each chemical component…

a-pinene : Analgesic & antinociceptive (reduces pain), antibacterial, anti fungal, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antiviral, and anxiolytic (reduces anxiety).

b-myrcene : Analgesic & antinociceptive (reduces pain), anti-inflammatory, and sedative (calming to the central nervous system).

So, what are the physical, emotional, and energetic benefits?

Physical Benefits:

  • Improves circulation
  • Reduces fluid retention
  • Helps the body eliminate toxins, improve lymph congestion and lung function
  • Helps ease minor pain and inflammation
  • Aids in the reduction of unwanted bacteria and fungus
  • Immune support
  • Helpful in treating acne

Emotional/Energetic Benefits

  • Cleanses and protects the mind, body, and spirit
  • Releases worry and negative thinking
  • Helps ease overwhelm by providing emotional strength
  • Clears the mind

*Juniper Berry is non-toxic, but may cause irritation if oxidized. Be sure to keep your oils in a cool, dark place and replace the cap after use. When applying to the skin, use in a low dilution.

Quick Uses

  • Steam inhalation: Add one drop to a bowl of steaming water, cover your head with a towel, and inhale for about a minute. The combination of the astringent, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory qualities of this oil is helpful to the sinuses as well as your skin. It aids in clearing the sinuses, easing congestion from a cold or flu. For your skin, it will help decongest the pores, clearing out any bacteria and inflammation present from acne.
  • Peace & Calm diffuser blend: Add equal drops of Juniper Berry and Cypress essential oils to your diffuser for a calming blend that will clear negativity, ease worry, and a bring about a sense of peace.

I hope you enjoyed learning all about Juniper Berry! Throughout the month I will be focusing on some of the individual benefits of the oil and sharing recipes. To be the first to know about any new posts as well as some extras, follow along on Instagram.

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The Essentials Guide

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