Have you ever wondered if there was anything to evergreens beside making good Christmas trees? One evergreen tree, the juniper tree, has many benefits for society. Highly regarded for thousands of years, the juniper produces an oily substance that is refined into juniper essential oil. In this guide, we are going to explore all there is to know about this powerful substance. We learn about its uses and the many health benefits it possesses. But first, let's start off by learning what juniper essential oil really is.
What Is Juniper Essential OIl?
Juniper essential oil is a sweet, woodsy-smelling oil extracted from the dried berries and needles of the juniper tree. The oil is extracted from the berries and needles of the juniper in a process known as steam distillation. Juniper (Juniperus communis), a coniferous evergreen shrub, belongs to the pine family. It can be found in the mountainous regions of North America, Southwest Asia, and Europe.
Since ancient times, the leaves and berries have been used for medicinal and spiritual purposes. In Medieval times, the berries were believed to hold the power to ward off witches. In more recent history, French hospitals would commonly burn rosemary and juniper to protect the ill from bacteria and infection. The wood of the juniper is often used in the manufacturing of furniture, pencils and fence posts. The leaves of juniper are also commonly used in the flavoring of gin.
The oil is extracted from the berries and needles of the juniper in a process known as steam distillation. The berries themselves are high in polyphenol and flavonoid antioxidants which contain strong free radical scavenging abilities. The main components of juniper essential oil include: camphene, alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, myrcene, sabinene, alpha-phellandrene, beta phellandrene, cineole, alpha-terpinene, gamma terpinene, terpineol, para-cymene, caryophyllene, and bornyl acetate. The oil can also contain traces of camphor, linalool, limonene, borneol, nerol, and linalyl acetate.
How Do I Use Juniper Essential Oil?
Research has shown that juniper essential oil contains over 87 active constituent compounds. These compounds include antioxidants, antifungals, and antibacterials. The fresh, calming aroma is often used in the treatment of anxiety and the relief of stress, and when diffused, it can clean and purify the air. If you want to maximize the effects of juniper essential oil, you can try the following methods:
Always check with your natural health care provider before ingesting juniper essential oil.
What Are The Benefits Of Juniper Essential Oil?
Considered throughout history as a natural anxiety remedy, juniper essential oil is claimed to be effective in dealing with emotional trauma because of the calming effect it is supposed to have on the brain. In one study, 26 of 29 insomniacs were able to reduce their drug use when using the oil fragrance at night. In fact, 12 of the 29 subjects eliminated their prescription medication for insomnia. At home, you can use juniper essential oil as a natural sleep aid by diffusing it in the bedroom, adding some to clothing. or adding a few drops in your bath.
Juniper helps to stimulate digestive enzymes. These enzymes aid in breaking down and absorbing nutrients, proteins, and fats from food. This is all possible because the oil falls under the 'bitter' category. 'Bitters' are herbs that commence the digestive process. Although, this has not been thoroughly proven in humans, in at least one animal study, cows who were given juniper had improved digestion. There is also research being done on the weight loss qualities of juniper essential oil, although nothing has been completely proven in this regard as of today.
Throughout the history of warfare, juniper was used in preventing infection and bacteria of the wounded. It was also used in treating mother and child from injuries sustained in the process of childbirth. The oil protects wounds from becoming septic or developing dangerous diseases such as tetanus.
Juniper oil has been proven to be effective in relieving any type of cramping, whether be it intestinal, muscular or respiratory. Possessing antispasmodic qualities, the oil relieves spasmodic cholera as well.
As an astringent, juniper oil aids in treating toothaches and hair loss, strengthens gums, and protects teeth from loosening or falling out. It also tightens loose muscles, which gives them feelings of firmness and youth. The astringent properties also have an effect in stopping diarrhea. Most importantly, the astringent properties of juniper reduce chances of hemorrhage by constricting the blood vessels.
Juniper essential oil promotes blood circulation, relieves swelling, and helps in the removal of toxins such as uric acid from the body. These properties help in the fight against painful ailments such as arthritis, rheumatism, renal calculi, and gout. All of these ailments are related to poor circulation and harmful toxins being present in the body.
Due to its toxic cleansing properties, juniper acts as a blood purifier and detoxifier. This is also known as having 'depurative' properties. It aids in the removal of toxins from the blood such as uric acid, heavy metals, hormones, and pollutants produced by the body itself. Juniper works to rid the body of these toxins as well as foreign toxins which may enter the bloodstream accidentally.
Carminative agents aid in the relief of intestinal gas. When gas becomes trapped, it can be very painful and can even, in extreme cases, be a major health concern if it persists. Juniper oil effectively removes these gases by forcing them into the downward passage. Juniper essential oil prevents additional gas from forming in the intestines. This makes juniper oil a great treatment for those with chronic gas problems.
Sweating is the body's natural process of cooling the body and removing toxins from it. Juniper contains 'sudorific' properties which promote heavy sweating and perspiration. Perspiration makes the body feel cleaner and healthier by removing excessive toxins, water, and salt from the body. This prevents acne and other dermatitis by cleaning the pores of the skin and opening sebum and sweat glands.
The stimulative properties of juniper essential oil help aid ailments such as dizziness, depression, and fatigue. Juniper's stimulative agents also increase activity in the brain, digestive system, nervous system, and excretory system, and also stimulates secretions in the endocrine and exocrine glands. These glands aid on the secretion of substances such as milk, tears, sweat, and urine.
When juniper essential oil is diluted and mixed with a skin cream, it can be applied to external wounds of the body to aid in the prevention of infection. This allows the body to not work as hard, which speeds up the body's natural healing process. The oil also has positive effects internally by helping in the treatment of conditions such as ulcers and internal wounds.
A 'tonic' refers to a substance that tones. Juniper oil helps in toning skin, muscles and numerous other systems of the body. These other systems include the respiratory, excretory, digestive, nervous, and circulatory system. Tonics help retain youth and aid in halting the aging process.
Stomachic substances have the job of keeping the stomach functioning properly. It helps fight ailments like ulcers and ensures the proper flow of bile, acids, and other gastric juices in the stomach. These substances are important in the process of digestion. In some occasions, the walls of the stomach are weakened to the prolonged buildup of acid in the stomach. This buildup of acid eventually leads to ulcers. Juniper oil prevents ulcers by not allowing this acidic buildup to occur.
Before We're Done
It's important to recognize that juniper essential oil is one of nature's great healers. Sometimes people take nature for granted and rely too heavily on chemical and man-made substances to heal their many ailments. These man-made remedies can sometimes have harmful consequences on those who use too much or those who use them improperly. That being said, there needs to also be some caution towards natural remedies. In the case of juniper, it should be avoided by those who are pregnant and individuals with kidney problems. Remember, it should always be used in low concentrations.