Essential Oil Spotlight: Juniper Berry

Juniper berry (Juniperus communis) essential oil is steam-distilled from the berries and needles of cypress conifer trees. This essential oil is recognized by its sweet, balsamic, and tenacious scent.

This essential oil contains antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, cleansing, detoxifying, diuretic, stimulant, and tonic health properties. Juniper primarily affects the following body systems: digestive system, emotional balance, nervous system, and skin.

Historically, juniper has been used for physical and spiritual purification, cleansing infections, embalming, relieving arthritis and urinary tract infections, warding off plagues, epidemics, and contagious diseases, kidney and bladder problems, pulmonary infections, and fevers.

Today, juniper berry essential oil is commonly used to help with acne, alcoholism, dermatitis/eczema, kidney stones, and tinnitus. This oil may also help with detoxifying and cleansing the body, coughs, depression, energy, hemorrhoids, infections, liver problems, aching muscles, nerve function and regeneration, obesity, rheumatism, ulcers, water retention, and wounds.

Applications of Juniper Berry Essential Oil and Safety Data:

Topical Application: This oil can be applied neat (with no dilution). Apply directly to the area of concern or to reflex points.
Aromatic Application: The aroma of juniper evokes feelings of health, love, and peace and may help to elevate one’s spiritual awareness.
Internal Application: Juniper berry is generally recognized as safe for human consumption. Place a drop under the tongue, or take in capsules.
Safety Data: This oil should not be consumed by children under 6 years old; use with caution and in greater dilution on children 6 years old and over. Use with caution during pregnancy or while nursing.

Ways to Use Juniper Berry Essential Oil:

1. Skin Clarity Roll-on
We all aspire to have clear, healthy skin. If you’re struggling to achieve this, try combining 10 drops melaleuca, 8 drops lavender, and 8 drops juniper berry with 2 tsp. (10 ml) carrier oil in a 10 ml (1/3 oz) roll-on bottle. Roll the mixture on your face after removing makeup, and massage in if necessary. Click here to view the full recipe.
2. Hangover
Add 5 drops grapefruit, 2 drops rosemary, and 1 drop juniper berry to 1 cup (250 g) epsom salt. Dissolve 1/2 cup (125 g) of the mixture in warm bathwater for a soothing bath to ease hangover symptoms.
3. Diffuser Blends
Juniper berry essential oil comes with so many aromatic benefits that you can’t help but diffuse it with some of your favorite oils. Here are a few diffuser blends we’ve come up with that you can try!

4. Dermatitis/Eczema
Skin conditions can become extremely uncomfortable and irritating. To treat dermatitis/eczema, blend 2 drops helichrysum and 2 drops juniper berry with 1 tsp. (5 ml) fractionated coconut oil in a small roll-on bottle, and apply on the affected skin.
5. Air-Freshening Spray
Air fresheners should not only smell great, but also be emotionally uplifting. Combine 10 drops fennel, 8 drops lemon, and 6 drops juniper berry with 1 tsp. (5 ml) carrier oil in a 1 oz. spray bottle. Fill the remainder of the bottle with distilled water, and shake to combine. Spray the mixture around the room, and breathe in the emotional support.

Source:
Modern Essentials™: The Complete Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 9th Edition, p. 79.

All About Carrier Oils—FAQs and Information Charts

Because we have had many questions and figure others do too, we decided to dig deep and find the answers about the differences in carrier oils and how to choose one for your needs.

What are carrier oils, and how are they used?

A carrier oil is a vegetable oil derived from the fatty portion of a plant, usually from the seeds, kernels, or the nuts. Carrier oils are used to dilute and “carry” an essential oil into the skin during topical application.

In this article we are going to include oils, butters, glycerin, salts, and soap bases because they can serve similar purposes, even though some aren’t technically carrier oils. We’ve also included information graphics on other ingredients we offer that are commonly found in DIY products such as zinc oxide and citric acid.

What is the difference between essential oils and carrier oils?

“Essential oils are the volatile liquids that are distilled from plants (including their respective parts such as seeds, bark, leaves, stems, roots, flowers, fruit, etc.)” (Modern Essentials, p. 6). Because essential oils are volatile, they will evaporate when exposed to air.

“A carrier oil refers to a vegetable oil, wax, fat, or other oil that an essential oil is mixed with. The carrier oil ‘carries’ the essential oil and dilutes it so its effects can be spread over a larger area” (Modern Essentials, inside front cover). As mentioned above, carrier oils are pressed from the fatty portions of a plant. Carrier oils do not evaporate or impart their aroma as strongly as essential oils.

Can carrier oils go bad?

Yes. Because carrier oils are pressed from the fatty portions of a plant, they often contain essential fatty acids that, although very beneficial to our body, also contribute to a short shelf life. Because carrier oils vary in their ratio and the specific essential fatty acids they contain, their shelf life also varies. The level of natural fatty acids, tocopherols (vitamin E compounds found in many carrier oils), method of extraction, and other characteristics of an oil can all affect how quickly it becomes rancid.

How can you tell if a carrier oil is rancid?

Carrier oils, in general, should have a soft aroma. If you find your carrier oil has a strong, bitter aroma, it has likely gone rancid. The best way to tell is to compare the odor with the odor of the same carrier oil that is fresh.

How do I store my carrier oils?

Most carrier oils (avocado oil excluded) can be stored in the refrigerator to prolong shelf life. Some oils stored in the refrigerator may solidify or become cloudy and need to be returned to room temperature prior to use. Avocado oil should never be stored in the refrigerator because it contains many important, fragile constituents that can be affected by lower temperatures.

Some carrier oils that are less fragile and have a longer shelf can be stored at a cool room temperature.

How do I use the solid butters?

Our butters are solid at room temperature, so you will need to break off chunks and heat them up to get the measurements you need. The best way to melt the butters is to use a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can create one by placing the butter in a glass dish over a pan with an inch of boiling water. It is important to use low heat for most carrier oils and butter so you don’t alter their constituents. Do not microwave carrier oils or butters.

Shea butter, however, can become gritty if not melted and cooled properly. Heat shea butter to at least 175º F for at least 20 minutes. If possible, let it cool in the refrigerator. After it is cooled, store your shea butter at room temperature.

How can I use carrier oils?

Carrier oils can be used in many ways. One of the most common ways is to mix an essential oil and a carrier oil (such as fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil, olive oil, etc.) in a roll-on bottle. This can be an easy way to apply a diluted essential oil topically. Vegetable glycerin, Castile soap, or Epsom salts can act as an emulsifier to help disperse essential oils through other ingredients such as water. Epsom salts are commonly used as bath salts and can be a great way to disperse essential oils throughout a bath. Many of the carrier oils and butters can be used to make lotions, creams, lip balms, massage blends, soap products, body care products, candles, diffusers, air fresheners, sprays, and various other products.

General Safety Information

Use caution when trying any new ingredient, including carrier oils, on the skin or in the hair. Those with nut allergies should consult their medical practitioner before coming into contact with nut oils, butters, or other nut products. Also, latex (a natural rubber) is a natural constituent of shea butter. If you have an allergy or sensitivity to latex, avoid shea butter or perform a skin-patch test prior to use. For very in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.

What carrier oils does AromaTools™ offer?

AromaTools® offers the following carrier oils:

Information Charts

For more information about each carrier oil and how it can be used, click on an image below to enlarge.