3 December 2021 / Caitlin Devlin
Juniper Berry Essential Oil: History, Uses and Benefits
This famous gin ingredient has strong cleansing and purifying properties.
It’s hard to pin down exactly where in the world juniper berries first originated from, as by the time of the Ancient Egyptians their use was already global.
Once used by the Zuni Indians to assist in childbirth, by the Medieval English to protect physical and emotional health, and by the Ancient Greeks to combat epidemics, juniper berries are now most famous for their role in flavouring gin. However, juniper berry oil still has a huge amount of medicinal properties, and is used in aromatherapy today for many of the same benefits than are recorded in medical texts from centuries past.
Juniper berry essential oil promotes healthy urination.
Juniper berry oil is a natural diuretic. This means that it promotes urination, allowing excess fluid to be expelled from the bladder and urethra, and contributing to the detoxification of the body, and potentially helping to reduce bloating.
Not only that, but research has shown that juniper berry oil has both antibacterial and antifungal properties. This makes it a popular choice for the prevention or treatment of urinary tract infections and bladder infections, as it acts as a natural agent against the responsible bacteria, whilst also encouraging the bladder to flush them out.
It can aid digestive health.
It has been suggested that juniper berry oil can help to stimulate digestive enzymes and aid the process of digestion. This is because it is a ‘bitter’: a herb that begins the digestive process. An animal study in 2007 showed that giving juniper berry oil to cows could significantly improve their digestion.
Applying diluted juniper oil topically to the abdomen can help to promote this effect, and can also aid antioxidation in the body. Juniper oil has been found to help increase activity of three important antioxidants: catalase, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and glutathione peroxidase. All three of these antioxidants have huge benefits, helping to reduce cell damage by fighting free radicals and toxins, and guarding against serious diseases.
It promotes relaxation and sleep.
Folklore has long considered juniper berry to be a natural anxiety remedy, and it has also been shown that juniper berry can incite a state of relaxation and aid sleep. A study in 2006 showed that insomniacs were able to take less sleep-promoting medication when inhaling a fragrance oil containing juniper berry, as the oil contributed to the sensation of needing to sleep. The effects were so powerful, in fact, that twelve subjects were able to use the fragrance oil to eliminate medication altogether.
Diffusing juniper berry oil in your bedroom can be a great way to naturally combat insomnia.
It’s a natural antiseptic.
As mentioned previously, juniper berry oil has strong antimicrobial properties that can help it to kill bacteria and fight infections. These properties aren’t mild – a study in 2003 even suggested that juniper oil could be effective against bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.
Juniper oil has also been found to be effective against fungi such as candida. This strong cleansing properties make juniper oil a popular ingredient in home cleaning sprays, and also make it suitable for cleansing skin when diluted.
An ancient remedy with an extensive resume, juniper berry is one of the major players in aromatherapy, and a useful addition to any medicine cabinet. Its purifying, earthy scent soothes and relaxes, deceptively calm, as the oil itself wages war on harmful bacteria.
Shop our juniper berry essential oil here.