Diet  Nutrition  

Juniper Oil – Health Wonder

Written by M. Macdonald

Updated May 16, 2023

Juniper oil, the essential oil extracted from the berries of the juniper plant, has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat various health concerns such as digestive issues, skin problems, respiratory problems, joint pain, and low energy. Its use can be traced back to ancient civilisations such as the Greeks, who used it to purify the air and promote sleep. In this article, we will explore the health benefits of juniper oil, the evidence behind these claims, how to use it, potential side effects, and recommendations for use.

Health Benefits of Juniper Oil

Relieving joint pain:
The leaves of the Juniper plant are used in traditional Uygur medicine for the treatment of rheumatism and arthritic pain because of the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of the plant’s powerful flavonoids. It’s wonderful for calming swelling in joints, muscles, limbs, and connective tissues. It also brings a sensation of warmth and circulation to the area where it’s applied. It also significantly increases vascular permeability, allowing its actives and whatever else you may be applying to absorb deep into the affected area.

A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that juniper oil can help reduce inflammation and pain in rats with arthritis.

You can add 2-3 drops of Juniper essential oil to a carrier oil such as coconut or to some aloe vera gel and massage it into the affected area.

Cognitive benefits:

The smell of juniper berries alone is great for reducing stress and helping to support strong emotions.

A study carried out and published in the International Journal of Aromatherapy showed that when combined with sandalwood, rose and orris, juniper oil used in aromatherapy was able to reduce the intake of sleeping medications in over 89% of subjects, and many were able to stop prescription medication altogether.

To benefit from the natural sleep aid properties of juniper, diffuse it in your bedroom before heading to bed, add a few drops to your laundry detergent when washing your sheets, or add a few drops to a warm bath in the evening for a relaxing soak.

Digestive benefits:
Juniper berries have shown to have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, making juniper a great natural remedy for urinary tract infections. It also has a diuretic effect, helping the body flush out excess fluids that may accumulate around the abdominal area, thus relieving digestive discomfort such as bloating.
Juniper can help stimulate digestive enzymes, making it easier to break down and absorb fats, protein and other nutrients from your food.
Another one of juniper’s wonderful abilities is soothing heartburn, acid reflux and indigestion.

For digestive discomfort, massage 1 to 2 drops of juniper berry oil diluted with coconut oil over the entire stomach, abdomen and chest, or consider taking it internally. However, consult with your natural health care provider before ingesting it.

Skin benefits:
Juniper oil has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties that can help fight against bacteria and fungus, making it great for treating skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis. A study from the Journal Pharmaceutical Biology showed that juniper oil can help inhibit the growth of acne-causing bacteria. Juniper oil can also help reduce the appearance of scars and dark spots, due to its astringent properties.

To benefit from juniper’s skin benefits, you can apply two or three drops topically to the affected area after diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut oil or jojoba oil, after washing the face. For the hair and scalp, add a couple of drops to your shampoo and/or conditioner.

Precautions

It is essential to conduct sensitivity tests on both the skin and stomach before using juniper essential oil widely, even though it is generally well-tolerated and unlikely to cause side effects or allergies. Overuse of any essential oil, particularly a new one, can result in allergic sensitisation and other effects.

Essential oils, like juniper berry oil, have potent medicinal properties but may not be suitable for everyone. Avoid using juniper oil if you have liver or kidney disease and keep it away from sensitive areas like eyes, ears, and nose. Use caution when using it on children or pets, and consult with a natural healthcare provider. If you’re pregnant or nursing, it’s best to avoid juniper oil due to its impact on hormones. If you have sensitive skin or take hormonal medication, speak with a doctor before use. Although juniper oil is generally safe, be mindful of potential risks and consult with a healthcare professional as needed.

Conclusion

Juniper oil has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of health issues, including joint pain, cognitive function, digestion, and skin conditions. The oil has several health benefits supported by scientific research, including its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. However, it is essential to conduct sensitivity tests before using the oil widely and to be cautious with its use, particularly around sensitive areas or in certain medical conditions. Overall, juniper oil can be a valuable addition to one’s health and wellness routine, but it’s crucial to use it responsibly and seek medical advice if it is needed.

Sources

Bouyahyaoui A, Bahri F, Romane A, Höferl M, Wanner J, Schmidt E, Jirovetz L. Antimicrobial Activity and Chemical Analysis of the Essential Oil of Algerian Juniperus phoenicea. Nat Prod Commun. 2016 Apr;11(4):519-22. PMID: 27396209.

Pepeljnjak S, Kosalec I, Kalodera Z, Blazević N. Antimicrobial activity of juniper berry essential oil (Juniperus communis L., Cupressaceae). Acta Pharm. 2005 Dec;55(4):417-22. PMID: 16375831.

Zhao J, Maitituersun A, Li C, Li Q, Xu F, Liu T. Evaluation on Analgesic and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Total Flavonoids from Juniperus sabina. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018 Jul 5;2018:7965306. doi: 10.1155/2018/7965306. PMID: 30069226; PMCID: PMC6057303.

Tumen I, Süntar I, Keleş H, Küpeli Akkol E. A therapeutic approach for wound healing by using essential oils of cupressus and juniperus species growing in Turkey. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:728281. doi: 10.1155/2012/728281. Epub 2011 Sep 18. PMID: 21941588; PMCID: PMC3175711.

T. Komori, T. Matsumoto, M. Yamamoto, E. Motomura, T. Shiroyama, Y. Okazaki, Application of fragrance in discontinuing the long-term use of hypnotic benzodiazepines, International Journal of Aromatherapy, Volume 16, Issue 1, 2006, ISSN 0962-4562, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijat.2005.10.001.

Azzimonti B, Cochis A, Beyrouthy ME, Iriti M, Uberti F, Sorrentino R, Landini MM, Rimondini L, Varoni EM. Essential Oil from Berries of Lebanese Juniperus excelsa M. Bieb Displays Similar Antibacterial Activity to Chlorhexidine but Higher Cytocompatibility with Human Oral Primary Cells. Molecules. 2015 May 21;20(5):9344-57. doi: 10.3390/molecules20059344. PMID: 26007187; PMCID: PMC6272234.


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