Homemade Juniper Oil
During a recent visit to Bend, Oregon this summer, my daughter and I harvested juniper berries with our Barebones Living collection snips. They spent about a month air-drying on our big hanging rack and, in all honesty, we nearly forgot about them. But, last week, we finished our first batch of juniper oil. Maddie helped me every step of the way and takes great pride in this oil too. When I learned about all the beneficial properties of juniper, I knew it needed to become part of my home apothecary. It is used to help sooth arthritis, heal skin infections, provide relief for heartburn and acid reflux, boost digestion, and relieve nervous tension, among many other uses.
Juniper (Juniperus communis) is widely known as the main flavoring in gin. In fact, the word “gin” is derived from the French and Dutch word for juniper, genévrier and genever. Juniper has a long history of use in various cultures and has been associated with different symbolic meanings over time. In ancient Greece, juniper branches were used to ward off evil spirits and the berries were strung together and hung over the front doors of homes to protect against disease, evil spirits, evil people, ghosts, and theft. Ancient Greeks also believed that juniper berries gave Olympian athletes their stamina. In ancient Egypt, juniper was commonly used in embalming practices. In medieval Europe, juniper was believed to purify the air during times of plague. In Native American cultures, juniper was used for medicinal purposes for its cleansing and purifying properties. Symbolically, juniper has been associated with various qualities and attributes, including affection, desire, protection, purification, strength, and wisdom.
- Wash and let the berries dry for a month. (Did you know that the whitish coating on them is a naturally occurring yeast?)
- Blend the berries into a powder with a food processor.
- Place the powder into a dry clean jar and fill with your carrier oil of choice. For this recipe, I used three equal parts avocado, olive and grapeseed oil.
- Close lid tightly and shake. Store in a cool dark place for 4-6 weeks, shaking daily, or whenever you remember.
- Strain with a cheesecloth and strainer and store in a clean, dry air-tight jar.
The smell of this oil alone is enough to ease your mind and body and can be worked into countless herbal recipes. If you are ready to take your herbal journey to the next level and expand your knowledge of how plants can nourish, soothe, and support? The Herbal Academy has a wide range of top-ranked herbal courses, workshops, resources, workbooks, journals, and so much more.
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