Essential Oils: Junipers and Cypress
JUNIPERS: Juniper is known for its antirheumatic, anti-inflammatory, decongestant, analgesic,
diuretic, anti-infectious, and astringent qualities. The following 7 species of Juniper
are native to Arizona. Their environments, appearances, aromas and chemistries
vary greatly. While there is a great deal of overlap in the therapeutic uses of these
oils, we have attempted to highlight some of their differences.
Alligator Juniper (Juniperus deppeana)
Gathered on the Mogollon Rim, Coconino National Forest (5,000+ elevation). The tree is named for itʼs bumpy textured bark. The needles and berries have a bright and clean, somewhat lemony scent. This Juniper has strong mucolytic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antiviral properties. Effective diluted in a blend for a head cold. Should be avoided by those with a sensitivity to camphor.
Alligator Juniper Wood (Juniperus depeanna)
Gathered in the Prescott and Coconino National Forests by George Pynn of NaturalLivingFurniture.com, from long standing dead trees, 500- 1,500 years old (the older the wood, the richer the aroma!). This thick, fixative oil has deep, sweet and smoky notes. It is truly an incense of the Southwest. Sedating, tonifying, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and grounding. Blend with other oils to increase their skin penetration and prolong their aromas.
Arizona Juniper (Juniperus arizonicus)
Also known as Redberry juniper. We gather this juniper in Sedona and the Verde Valley (4,000- 5,000 elevation), when fully loaded with berries. The needles and berries have a mildly sweet, but strong turpentine scent. Immune stimulating, anti-inflammatory, antiinfectious. Diluted and apply topically for bladder irritation. Should be avoided by those with a sensitivity to camphor.
California Juniper (Juniperus californica)
The needles and berries from this tree contain a relatively high level of citronellol, from western Arizona (4,500 ft. elevation). This juniper has citrus overtones. It is a strong anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antifungal, antiviral, antispasmodic and mucolytic. Perfect in an antifungal blend for aching feet. Should be avoided by those with a sensitivity to camphor.
Common Juniper (Juniperus communis var. depressa)
Gathered on the Kaibab Plateau (8,500+ elevation). This low growing juniper is loaded with dark blue berries, and has the distinction of having true needles (all of the other Arizona junipers have scaled needles). The aroma is clean and sparkling. An antiinfectious, rubifacient, analgesic, all purpose juniper. Great for topical use in a massage blend.
One Seed Juniper (Juniperus monosperma)
Gathered at the Cinder Cones, East of Flagstaff (7,000+ elevation). This juniper is prevalent on the Navajo Reservation and is often burned for ash to be added to corn bread for added minerals. Interestingly enough, itʼs aroma is vegetal and ʻfood likeʼ. Anti-inflammatory, anti-infectious, antispasmodic, and tonifying. Dilute and apply topically in a blend with Sand Sage for indigestion. Very low camphor.
Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)
Gathered on the Mogollon Rim (7,000+ elevation). Also known as Weeping Juniper, for itʼs soft branches that hang down. The aroma has minor citrus overtones. Antirheumatic, antiarthritic, and analgesic. Only a trace amount of camphor. An excellent choice to dilute and apply topically for joint pain and stiffness.
Utah Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma)
Gathered mainly in the Sedona area (4,500 ft. elevation). Containing Borneol and Terpinene-4-ol, this juniper has a warm, spicy, long lasting aroma, which increases in sweetness and complexity as it ages. Mucolytic, antitussive, immune stimulating, anti-inflammatory, and antiinfectious. Perfect for a head and chest cold. Dilute and massage into shoulders, neck and chest. Should be avoided by those with a sensitivity to camphor.