Juniper essential oil is a super potent choice to ground emotions and propel action. Its fresh scent blends well with a wide variety of other oils, making it a versatile component of your essential oil closet. Read on to discover how Juniper EO can benefit you and your family.
Depending on your taxonomical vantage point, there are between 50-67 species in the genus Juniperus. Junipers are widely distributed across the northern hemisphere, and the most common species worldwide is J. communis.
Junipers are evergreen, long-lived trees and shrubs, and several species of juniper are commonly referred to as “cedars”, such as J. bermudiana, the Bermuda cedar.
Traditional juniper oil is extracted from the berries--the leaves and bark also contain oil, but its qualities are different and it goes by a different name. Interestingly, juniper berries are not actual berries: rather, they’re the cones of female trees, which produce many tightly overlapping scales that form the recognizable “berries.”
There is no favorite species which dominates the essential oil industry; many species are used, which presents a choice for those of us eager to bring juniper oil into our homes. Each species has a different chemical profile and different strengths.
Our Juniper EO is made from J. osteosperma, also known as Utah juniper, which is the most common tree in the Great Basin.
Traditional Medicinal Uses
In traditional medicine, the juniper berry was used primarily for digestive issues. The ancient Egyptians used juniper berries for tapeworm, the Romans used the berries for purification and stomach ailments, and medieval Europeans used them to remedy excessive flatulence. Even today, juniper is often touted as the essential oil to solve your gut problems.
Juniper berries have also been used to induce abortions--a chemical in the berries causes uterine contractions when consumed in large quantities--and the ancient Greeks ate the berries before athletic events to increase stamina.
Today, the primary use of juniper is as a food flavoring, most notably for gin.
Juniper Essential Oil Benefits
Calming + Grounding
The light, fresh scent of juniper essential oil has a powerful grounding effect on your psyche. I also find that its lightness helps to clear heavy mental cobwebs.
Improve Skin Appearance
Juniper essential oil can act as a natural toner, helping to soothe inflamed skin and even complexion. That’s why it’s a popular ingredient in face masks, cleansers, and makeup.
Gut Health and Digestion
Despite its reputation as a solution for indigestion and other gut problems, there is no research to confirm this traditional usage. The single study we found investigating the effect of juniper essential oil on digestion focused on cows: the researchers concluded that juniper EO did improve digestion in the rumen, but blocked the production of some proteins in the intestine.
Several studies have found that juniper essential oil has strong antioxidant action, although some species of juniper have better antioxidant abilities than others. In particular, Juniperus sibirica had the strongest antioxidant activity, with J. communis and J. excelsa not far behind.
The same study that compared the essential oils of different species also found that some species, most notably J. oxycedrus, seemed to have some antibacterial activity; another study, which investigated the antibacterial and antifungal ability of 3 juniper oils, found that only one made a significant impact.
These results indicate that the ability of juniper oil to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungus is spotty at best, and not to be relied upon.
How to use
Add juniper to your face wash or mask to give an extra clarifying boost to their active ingredients.
Add juniper to a relaxing bath to soothe your skin while inhaling the peaceful fragrance.
Create holiday spirit with festive essential oil decorations; check out our Tips for Decorating Your Home with Festive Fragrance for inspiration.
Juniper berries and essential oil are safe to consume in food in small quantities. Be sure that your essential oil is therapeutic-grade and free of impurities. Do not ingest juniper long-term or in large quantities, as this could cause serious side effects.
Pregnant women should not ingest juniper oil due to an increased risk of miscarriage.
Juniper essential oil is safe to diffuse or apply topically when properly diluted.
Always spot-check essential oils before topical application to check for sensitivity and limit diffusing time. Essential oils, although natural, are very potent substances with the potential for unforeseen side effects.
Clarifying Diffuser Blend
I like to diffuse this blend at the end of a long workday or when I’m feeling stuffed up. These fresh and clean scents never fail to invigorate me and get me feeling ready for the next thing. This blend would also be good in a linen spray to freshen up the fabrics in your home.