Juniper: More Than Just a Pretty Blue Berry
By Sarah Villafranco, MD
Posted in Blog, on October 26, 2015
INGREDIENT: Juniper Berry Essential Oil
FANCY LATIN NAME: Juniperus communis
WHERE IT COMES FROM: Juniper berries grow all over the world, on chubby conifer shrub trees that are part of the pine family. Juniper trees are found mostly in mountainous regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. Our juniper essential oil is certified organic and steam-distilled from berries grown in Hungary.
AROMATHERAPY USES: Juniper berry essential oil is used to relieve stress and anxiety, and to help purify the air. It can be used in a vaporizer to clear the air of airborne germs, and to facilitate meditation or prayer. It has strong diuretic capability, and can be useful in treating water retention or edema when working with a trained aromatherapist.
SKINCARE USES: Juniper essential oil has a mildly astringent quality, and, like many essential oils, is antiseptic. It is helpful in treating acne (only when properly diluted), and can be effective for alleviating symptoms of eczema and psoriasis, as it helps decrease the irritation and infection that can accompany angry skin. It is very useful in massage therapy, as it is anti-inflammatory and helps mobilize excess fluid from overworked joints and muscles.
THINGS TO KNOW: Juniper berry essential oil has a woody, warm, fresh, green scent, with a touch of spice and a hint of fruitiness – to my perfumer’s nose, it has an olfactory connection to ginger lily, although the two are otherwise not related. This essential oil is not recommended during pregnancy, and should be used with caution in people with severe kidney disease.
RANDOM SNIPPETS: Juniper “berries” are not actually berries – they are tiny little seed cones, like pinecones! The berries have been used for centuries as medicinals by various native cultures – mostly for their “purifying” capabilities. This likely stems from the diuretic effect of juniper, which can be useful in cleansing the kidneys and decreasing leg swelling or edema (also known as "dropsy"). The berries are also dried and used as a spice in cooking, and are the main flavor constituent of gin, a name that derives from the French and Dutch words for juniper – genievre and jenever, respectively. (This must be why juniper reminds me of my grandfather – he never missed his 5 o’clock Gin & Tonic, and he lived to be 95! Then again, he also stood on his head for 30 minutes a day until he was 90, so you have to factor that in if you're planning to emulate the man.)
OSMIA PRODUCTS WITH JUNIPER:
Our first ever perfume was created with two types of juniper oil - juniper berry essential oil and juniper berry CO2 extract. Juniper Fire is still one of our best selling scents, evocative of a beautiful, warm fire on a cold winter day.
We also love the effect of juniper in our newly reformulated Recovery Salt Bath - designed to help sore bodies recover from exercise, stress, or illness. We have been luxuriating in this bath soak lately, and so have our customers!
|And, of course, there's our Juniper Shea Soap. It has a gorgeous, gently spicy scent and a mild exfoliating effect, all while providing the incredible nourishment of organic shea butter - perfect for men or women who want soft, happy skin. This bar will be out of stock soon, so grab one before it's gone!|
So next time you're walking past a juniper tree, gently pluck a berry, smoosh it between your fingers, and inhale deeply. We'd love to hear how it makes you feel, or what memories it evokes for you. And, if you don't happen to live among the junipers like we do, at least you know how to get your juniper fix! (We meant Osmia products, not the gin...)
With love and blue berries from us to you,
Sarah + The Osmia Crew