Juniper (Juniperus communis)
Location: Juniper is found in North America, northern Europe and from Siberia to southwest Asia.
Extraction: Steam distilled from the leaves or the deep-blue ripe berries.
Colour and Odour: The essential oil is colourless and has a fresh, pleasing aroma.
Description: The juniper tree is a small evergreen growing to about 9 metres with short spiny leaves and has berries that are blue-black in colour. The berries take about 2 years to ripen. It is commonly found all over Europe in chalky or lime soils.
Background: Known by the ancient Egyptians and Greeks and used to combat epidemics. Around the time of the First World War, French hospitals used juniper in the sick wards as incense to combat diseases such as smallpox. Juniper berries are used in making gin.
Properties: Antiseptic, diuretic, detoxifying, stimulant.
Urinary System-Juniper is a strong antiseptic and diuretic for treating cystitis and kidney inflammation. Good for alleviating water retention.
Skeletal System-Arthritic and joint problems such as gout can benefit from juniper.
Emotion-Useful for treating sleep difficulties due to worry and tension. Juniper can be strengthening to those who are feeling emotionally drained.