JUNIPER BERRY OIL

Botanical Name Juniperus indica Bertol.
Synonyms Juniperus wallichiana Hook.f. & Thomas. ex Brandis
Family Cupressaceae
Local Name Dhupi
English Name Juniper, Black Juniper

Plant Description

Juniperus indica is a large deciduous shrub or small tree, ultimate branchlets densely arranged, straight, usually 4 angled. Leaves both scale like and awl or needle like; awl-like leaves 3-Gmm, awl like leaves 3-Gmm, spreading, present on lower branches; scale like leaves less than l.Smm, over lapping in four ranks, present on terminal branches. Seed cone ovoid, 6-13mm, erect, greenish brown when young, later turns to blue. Fruiting occurs
during May-August.

Juniperus indica is a Sinu-Japanese element and found throughout Nepal within the altitudinal range of 3300m to 4500m. It prefers open and rocky slopes and sometimes forms pure forest on lower sub-alpine regions.

Extraction

Juniper oil is extracted from the steam distillation of leaves, aerial twigs and berries of Juniperus indica. Yield percentage of Juniper oil ranged from 0.8% to 1.6% in fruits and 0.27% to 0.8% on berries on fresh weight basis.

Uses

Traditionally,fruits and leaves are used in kidney disorders, skin disease, fever, cold and cough, and wounds. Leaves are also used in diarrhoea, constipation, asthma and are regarded beneficial to heart and to relax the mind. Leaves and twigs are highly praised as incense in the monasteries.

Juniper oil is an important natural product used directly in fragrance compounding. The oil is used to scent pharmaceutical preparations, as well as in cosmetic products such as soaps, disinfectants, perfumery etc. The oil is extensively used in many food products, alcoholic and soft drinks. Juniper berry oil is used to flavour the alcoholic beverage 'Gin'. The oil is found to have diuretic and antiseptic properties.

Organoleptic Properties

Appearance: A mobile liquid
Colour: Pale yellow
Aroma: Sweet, fresh,wood balsamic odour.

Active Constituents

Juniper berry oil: Sabinene (19.4-31.3%), -Thujone 25.8%),terpinen-4-ol (3.7-13%),trans-sabinyl acetate (7.6- 24.3%), a-pinene, camphene, myrcene, a-pellandrene, a-terpinene, y-terpinene, 1,4-cineol, bornyl acetate and caryophyllene are identified as the major constituents in the Juniper berry oil.

Physico-Chemical Properties

Specific gravity 0.8563 to 0.8731 at 23° C.?>
Optical rotation [-] 22° to [-]41.7° at 23° C?>
Refractive index 1.481 to 1.899 at 23°C?>
Acid number 0.5 to 2.5
Ester number 3.06 to 20
Ester number 40 to 65 (after acetylation)
Solubility Due to altitudinal and regional variation some oils are soluble in 95% alcohol and some are not

Conservation Status

It is listed as lower risk/least concerned species under the
IUCN red list.