Juniper essential oil is mostly distilled from the plant Juniperus Communis, which belongs to the Cypress family. In French, juniper is genévrier, and in Italian - ginepro. In fact, the juniper plant gives the aroma and the name of the gin.
In aromatherapy, the common juniper is used to strengthen the nervous system and improve your spiritual wellbeing. It is also widely used to treat arthritis, gout, acne, dermatitis, and psoriasis.
The juniper plant is an evergreen shrub that reaches from two to ten meters in height and is grown mainly in the northern hemisphere. It has blue-green needle-like leaves and the female trees have blue or black fruits. The aroma is fresh and woody.
Actually, there are around 60 different species of the juniper plant. And so, keep in mind that when we refer to juniper in this article, we mean the Juniperus Communis genus.
Juniper essential oil contains alpha-pinene (51.4%), myrcene (8.3%), beta-pinene (5.0%), alpha-terpinene, gamma-terpinene, cineole, terpineol, camphene, caryophyllene, and other compounds.
The benefits of the juniper have been well known by Indians. It is said that they have used it to treat wounds or bone and joints related conditions.
During the plague, branches of the juniper plants were burned in French hospital wards to fight infectious diseases. Nowadays, juniper branches are still used in some spiritual practices and ceremonies in Tibet.
Juniper essential oil is traditionally used to treat arthritis, diabetes, gastrointestinal, or autoimmune diseases. There is evidence that juniper essential oil has antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal effects.
There are studies that find anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic, hypoglycemic (lowers blood sugar), and hypolipidemic (lowers serum lipid) effects of the berry fruits in experimental models.
Due to its chemical composition, juniper is widely used in medicine. Here are five benefits of using juniper that has been proven through clinical trials.
1. Antioxidant activity
The alpha and beta-pinene in the essential oil give a solid antioxidant potential to juniper oil. The polyphenols in the juniper protect against oxidative damage through various mechanisms.
2. Improve memory and focus
According to some tests, the inhalation of juniper oil at the rate of 1% or 3% daily for 21 days improved memory deficits. The inhalation of juniper essential oil was found to inhibit Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity and prevent oxidative damage to brain cells.
3. Antidiabetic effects
The use of juniper essential oil is claimed to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides in hypercholesterolemic rats significantly.
4. Antibacterial effects
Some studies have reported that juniper can protect against multiple bacterial species - Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Corynebacterium species, and Staphylococcus aureus.
According to Dr. Axe, you can cleanse your liver by adding 1 to 2 drops to your smoothie or water, provided that you use therapeutic-grade oil and after you consult a health care professional.
5. Trials in cancer treatment
Due to its antioxidant potential, juniper extract has been trialed in some cancer treatment studies. During clinical trials, it has exhibited some anti-proliferative effects for some types of cancer such as colorectal cancer, leukemia, liver cancers, and human neuroblastoma. These effects are thought to be due to the presence of phenolic compounds.
Juniper essential oil is widely used in cosmetics, beauty rituals, and relaxation techniques. It has the potential to cope with skin irritation and improve overall skin appearance.
Juniper essential oil successfully treats skin infections such as rashes and eczema. The high content of antioxidants makes it a natural tonic against skin pigmentation.
Regular use of juniper essential oil can also minimize the appearance of cellulite on your hips and thighs. Dilute it in almond or hemp oil and massage regularly. To relax and relieve sore muscles, you can add juniper oil to your body lotion or cream.
Last but not least, juniper essential oil is often used in muscle relaxation massages.
If you are looking for a recipe on how to use your juniper essential oil, here are some quick recipes.
A blend for energy and focus
You can easily recharge and improve your clarity and focus using a diffuser, aroma lamp, or roll-on stick. Mix 3 drops of juniper essential oil, two drops of basil essential oil, and add one drop of scotch pine essential oil.
Clean your face deeply
To clean your face from impurities, use a natural green clay mask and add 2-3 drops of juniper and clary sage oils.
Enjoy a relaxing massage
Use about 3 spoons of almond or coconut oil, add 5 drops of juniper essential oil, 5 drops of lavender essential oil, and two drops of coriander or chamomile essential oil.
Delve into the world of essential oils with certified aromatherapist Helen Nagle-Smith.
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