SAFETY: Generally non-toxic but is potent; Not for use with young children or during pregnancy or lactation
JUNIPER BERRY (Juniperus communis) is hands down my first choice of plants to work with to support cleansing and letting go, which makes it the perfect complement to Autumn’s energy.
Juniper has been used for thousands of years by many cultures for medicinal, cosmetic and spiritual purposes.Ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Native Americans revered it for it’s purifying effects on body, mind and spirit.The berries are also distilled with spirits and give gin it’s distinctive flavoring.
Juniper Berry has an affinity for the urinary system and is considered a kidney tonic in Chinese medicine.It flushes out and cleanses with it’s diuretic action.This tonifies and strengthens the kidney meridian.It is a systemic stimulant with overall warming and drying effects, which makes it useful for chronic cold conditions, rheumatism and arthritis.
Juniper promotes detoxification, helps to clear areas of stagnation and can help to relieve aches and pains due to lack of movement.This is a powerful plant medicine that works best when used for short durations and at mild to moderate strength.
On a mental-emotional level Juniper Berry helps to refresh and clear the mind.It has a stabilizing and centering effect, strengthens self-confidence and can be helpful for “brain fog,” stuck and negative thought patterns, confusion and apathy.It can be thought of as a mental detoxifier, just as it is a physical detoxifier.
In Chinese medicine the Kidney and Bladder meridians are related to the element of Water and the emotion of fear.Because of that connection Juniper can be used to help us release fears and anxiety from the deepest waters of our soul.
For internal use, work with the fresh or dried plants themselves instead of the essential oils.This is safer and it’s important to realize that different active plant constituents are released in making a tea which is water soluble vs. an essential oil which is oil soluble and very highly concentrated.It’s best to purchase the dried berries from an herbal shop or supplier rather than harvesting your own since there are many varieties of juniper and some produce berries that aren’t safe to consume.
As I’m writing this article I’m drinking a lovely Juniper Berry tea and it’s raining outside, so I’m definitely working with the Water element!Here is my tea recipe for supporting Autumn cleansing and overall gentle detoxification.
JUNIPER BERRY GENTLE DETOX TEA
3 teaspoons dried Juniper Berries
1 teaspoon dried roasted Dandelion Root
Sliced fresh Lemon
In a one quart Mason jar add the Juniper Berries and Dandelion Root.Pour boiling water over them to fill the jar.Cover lightly and let steep 15 minutes.Strain.Drink this tea over the course of the day, divided into several servings.To serve, pour tea into cup and add a slice of fresh lemon.I like mine as is, but you might like to add a bit of honey or stevia to taste.Drink hot, room temperature or iced.Tea can be refrigerated and will keep for up to 3 days but it’s much better, and really easy to make a fresh batch to use within 12 or 24 hours.
For topical skin application you can work with the tea above or the diluted essential oil.When I’m experiencing congestion or breakouts on my skin I like to make a mask with 1 tbsp of Aloe Vera gel and 1 or 2 drops Juniper Berry essential oil.Apply to freshly cleansed skin, leave on for 10 minutes, rinse and follow with a light moisturizer.
For muscular aches and pains, rheumatism or arthritis make a compress or body oil to apply to affected areas.
2 oz Organic Sunflower Seed or other natural carrier oil
Gently massage into the areas that are hurting.Use just enough to be absorbed by the skin, try a teaspoon or less at a time adding more as needed.Reapply several times a day, or as often as desired.
MUSCLE & JOINT COMPRESS
Make a strong Juniper Berry infusion by pouring one quart of boiling water over 2 tablespoons dried berries.Let steep 20 - 30 minutes and strain.Let sit until cool enough to apply to your skin, but still nice and warm.Make your compress by dipping a washcloth into the tea and wring out just enough that it won’t drip too much.Apply the warm compress to desired area and let it sit for 10-20 minutes.It’s nice to alternate with 2 compresses so that when one cools off you can replace it with a fresh warm one and continue alternating like that for 20 minutes.Sit and rest the area while the compress works its magic.
To work with the more spiritual aspects of Juniper Berries in helping to release deep seated fears and anxieties, an inhalation blend of the essential oil can be quite powerful and effective.
RELEASE FEARS & ANXIETIES BLEND
7 drops Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis)
2 drops Lemon (Citrus limon)
1 drop Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Apply the essential oils to the cotton wick of an aroma stick to carry with you.Set your intention by making a statement such as, “I intend to use this blend to help release any fears or anxieties that are limiting me right now.Let this bring forward the awareness, integration and healing that is for my highest good.”Or create a statement that resonates deeply with you.
Each morning take a quiet moment to bring your intention to mind.Close your eyes and take 3 slow full deep breaths of the aroma stick.As you do this consciously lengthen your spine straight and tall, relax your body, be present and allow the inhalations of the plants’ aromas and energies to fill you up and flow through you.Be open to any impressions or insights you receive.
Anytime you feel those fears or anxieties surfacing you can use the aroma stick again, taking several inhalations as needed.This won’t suppress those feelings but rather will help you release or integrate them in a healthy and appropriate way.
I hope this has given you some new ideas of how to work with powerful supportive medicine of Juniper Berry.Have fun exploring the possibilities!