The Juniper Tree is an evergreen shrub that grows in many parts of the world, including Asia, Europe and North America. This tree is identified by its stiff and needle-like blue-green leaves, small yellow or blue flowers and berries. These “berries” are actually seed cones that are small and fleshy. They are commonly referred to as “berries” due to their appearance. Juniper berries take 2-3 years to mature. In the first year the plant produces a flower, during the second year there is a hard green berry, and by the third year they are ripening to a deep blue. Juniper berries can be crushed, like peppercorns, or the juice and oil can be pressed. The berries are picked in the fall, once the plant has numerous “blue” berries. Juniper berries are not eaten in handfuls, straight off the bush like the sweet blueberries that they resemble. They have a strong, woody, spicy, pepper-like flavor and gritty texture. It takes a small amount of these berries to flavor a meal or beverage.
These small berries have been used for culinary and medicinal purposes since ancient times. The first record of juniper berries is in Ancient Egypt during 1500 B.C.E. Juniper berries have been used to flush out toxins, heal infections and even aid in digestion. These are just a few of the many uses of Juniper berries. The most common culinary use of the juniper berry is to flavor gin, or flavor foods. It is said that they can reduce the “gamey” flavor in wild meats. Juniper berries are also used as an essential oil. Common uses of juniper berry essential oil is aromatherapy. The scent of Juniper berries can have a calming effect and can help ease stress.
Juniper berries can benefit our skin as well. They are an antibacterial. If you are looking to deep clean your pores, Juniper berries can do just that! When they are dried and ground up, they can be used as an excellent exfoliator. These little berries can improve your complexion by balancing hormones. They also have anti-inflammatory components, so it is great for reducing redness or swelling. Whether you consume them, smell them, or use them topically, these small berries are very healing.
Juniper berries have many beneficial uses. We like to use juniper berries in a number of our products. For instance, we use them in our Happy Camper Bar Soap for multiple reasons such as:
- They are a natural bug repellent. They are known for repelling ticks and mosquitoes.
- We grind the berries to add a little extra scrub factor.
- They have a fantastic woodsy smell.
This soap is wonderful for outdoor lovers. It protects you from dangerous insects, while allowing you to truly embrace the wonderful aroma of being in the woods. For all of you indoor lovers, you may enjoy it as well. Sure, you might not need as much protection from bugs, but you may want to enjoy the aroma of being outdoors without have to actually be “outdoors.”
We have a whole Woodland Timber line of products, along with many other all natural products that contain juniper berries. Check them out at dayspabodybasics.com. You can also find us on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. If you would like to learn about other natural ingredients and how we can benefit by using them, then check out our Ingredient Highlight blogs.