Juniper Berry Essential Oil
Similar to cypress, juniper berry helps detoxify the body. It gets rid of extra water in the body without depleting potassium and other electrolytes. It is a mild diuretic, which can help with urinary problems like kidney stones, oedema and lower back pain. It also helps prevent the build up uric acid, so juniper can be helpful with gout and rheumatoid arthritis. Juniper can also help clear congestion in colds as well as when used in conjunction with teas such as Green or White Tea.
The flavour profile of young, green berries is dominated by pinene; as they mature this piney and resinous backdrop is joined by a “green-fresh” and citrus notes. The outer scales of the berries are relatively flavourless, so the berries are almost always at least lightly crushed before being used as a spice. They are used both fresh and dried, but their flavour and odour are at their strongest immediately after harvest and decline during drying and storage.
Juniper, typically Juniperus communis, is used to flavour gin, a liquor developed in the 17th century in the Netherlands. The name gin itself is derived from either the French genièvre or the Dutch jenever, which both mean “juniper”. Other juniper-flavoured beverages include the Finnish rye-and-juniper beer known as Sahti, which is flavoured with both juniper berries and branches. The brand Dry Soda produces a juniper-berry soda as part of its lineup. Recently, some American distilleries have begun using ‘New World’ varieties of juniper such as Juniperus occidentalis.
A few North American juniper species produce a seed cone with a sweeter, less resinous flavour than those typically used as a spice. For example, one field guide describes the flesh of the berries of Juniperus californica as “dry, mealy, and fibrous but sweet and without resin cells”. Such species have been used not just as a seasoning but as a nutritive food by some Native Americans. In addition to medical and culinary purposes, Native Americans have also used the seeds inside juniper berries as beads for jewellery and decoration.
Botanical Name: Juniperus communis
Edible: Not recommended
Extraction Method: Not applicable. This is a flavor preparation; a mixture of essential oils, isolates and aroma chemicals.