First posted Dec 4, 2014
I love the scents of the season from times past, as we make preparations to celebrate the Longest Night of the Year…
Many people associate Winter Solstice with death and endings. I see it more as a completion of a cycle, a time for new beginnings. The Winter Solstice celebrates the new solar year. It is when the sun is farthest south, over the Tropic of Capricorn and we in the northern hemisphere have the shortest day/longest night of the year. In ancient times, the Romans honored the god Saturn with a “Saturnalia” celebration. Winter Solstice and Christmas still use some of those same traditions; such as exchanging gifts, feasting and decorating with wreaths, mistletoe, holly, ivy, cedar boughs and pine cones. (I like how the early Pagans used “The Holly and The Ivy” to represent the masculine and the feminine energies.)
I love the scents of the season, whether from burning candles or from diffusing essential oils. The holiday scents of Nutmeg, Mandarin, Cedarwood, Pine, and Juniper Berry are some my favorites.
Juniper Berry (Juniperus Communis) is an evergreen shrub/tree that grows to approx. 6 ft. tall. It has bluish-green needles with small white flowers and green berries that change to a bluish black color after 2-3 years. Most of Juniper Berries come from France, northern Italy, Austria, and Croatia. The essential oil is steam distilled from the crushed, partly ripened berries. It has a sharp, almost piney scent.
The ancient Romans used Juniper, like pepper to flavor their food. Since the 9th century Juniper Berries were used in Northern European and Scandinavian cooking. The berries have been used to flavor marinades for game birds, venison dishes, and other stronger-tasting meat. Vikings used to make a type of beer from Juniper berries in the 10th century. Juniper Berry is also one of the main ingredients in Gin, a liquor first produced in 17th century Holland.
The ancient Greeks burnt Juniper to combat epidemics. They also burned it for incense as a cheaper alternative to Frankincense and Myrrh. Europeans thought of Juniper oil as a cure-all for cholera, typhoid, and tapeworms. Tibetans used it for incense and Native North Americans burned Juniper in their cleansing ceremonies.
Research has shown that Juniper Berry:
- is helpful for anxiety and stress
- Is well known as a diuretic; which makes it useful for detoxifying the body
- Is good for inflammation.
- Is helpful to boost your immune system so it is good for colds and flu
I Love to use Juniper berry in my aromatherapy diffuser blends and room sprays.It adds a crispness to the sweeter floral and citrus essential oils that I use in my blends. I think that is why I like my Winter Solstice Blend so much. It has traditional holiday oils like Scotch Pine, Cedarwood, and Frankincense, but I think that it is the addition of the Mandarin and the Juniper Berry that adds a freshness that balances the blend.
In these weeks leading up to the Winter Solstice and Christmas, I hope you take some time for some Self- Care. It is a time of year that brings out the best in people as we give of ourselves to our family, to our friend, and to our community. It is also important that we take a moment to nurture our own spirit.To find the balance…
My Blog is for information only & is not meant to Replace Medical Advice.
Essential Oils are not for ingestion & should always be diluted before topical use.
- Juniper Berry is potent essential oil and should be used in low dosage.
Avoid if you are pregnant, or have kidney issues. And, always dilute essential oils before applying to the body.
- Battaglia Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. 2nd edition, The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy, Australia, 2003
- Davis Patricia. Aromatherapy an A-Z. New revised edition, Vermilion, an imprint of Edbury Publishing, a Random House Company, 2005
- Tisserand, Robert, & Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Edition, Churchill Livingstone, 2014
- Lawless. Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, Thorsons, 2002