Pennyroyal Oil

Pennyroyal flower

Pennyroyal oil (Mentha pulegium)

Despite serious safety concerns, pennyroyal is used for the common cold, pneumonia, fatigue, ending a pregnancy (abortion), and as an insect repellant.

In manufacturing, pennyroyal oil is used as a dog and cat flea repellent, and as a fragrance for detergents, perfumes, and soaps.

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Origin of Pennyroyal Oil

Pennyroyal is a perennial herb that grows up to 50cm (20 in) tall with smooth roundish stalks and aromatic, gray-green oval leaves. Lilac flowers are produced in distinct whorls in late summer and autumn. The plant has a fibrous creeping root.

It is a herbal remedy of ancient repute, and was used to purify the blood, for digestive and menstrual problems and feverish colds. It also has a deserved reputation as an insect repellent.

It is indeed a wonder why such a poisonous plant or oil has been in use as a folk medicine from ancient times. Although it is also true that most of the medicines (particularly in homeopathy) are based on poisons collected from plants and animals. It is the accuracy in the number of doses, frequency of administration, and diagnosis of a disease that their use as a medicine depends upon.

Other Names: Mentha pulegium, commonly (European) pennyroyal, also called squaw mint, mosquito plant and pudding grass.

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Extraction: Pennyroyal oil is extracted from the fresh herb or slightly dried herb by steam distillation.

Chemical composition: The main chemical components of pennyroyal oil are pulegone, menthone, iso-menthone and neomenthone.

Blends well with: citronella, geranium, lavandin, rosemary, and sage.

By Raffi Kojian – http://Gardenology.org, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12734737

Uses for Pennyroyal Essential Oil

The health benefits of pennyroyal essential oil can be attributed to its properties as an antimicrobial, anti-bacterial, antirheumatic, antiarthritic, antiseptic, astringent, cordial, decongestant, depurative, digestive, emmenagogue, insecticide and stomachic substance.

Abortifacient: pennyroyal’s use as an emmenagogue and abortifacient is from ancient times. However, its action as an abortifacient was linked to its toxicity. The amount required for abortion also endangered the pregnant woman’s life.

Antimicrobial & Antibacterial: The antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of pennyroyal oil are the results of its toxicity. Even in trace quantities (mere parts per million) this poisonous oil is deadly to microscopic living beings (microbes). Even a few milliliters can cause death to a human. It kills microbes and bacteria and protects us from the infections caused by them. It also exhibits antifungal activity.

Antirheumatic & Antiarthritic: Being a depurative, it promotes the removal of toxins like uric acid from the body, thereby eliminating the biggest cause of rheumatism. Anesthetic effect on the nerves also helps withstand the pain of rheumatism and arthritis. Its cordial or warming effect heats up the affected area and gives a more comfortable feeling. Finally, its stimulating effect on blood circulation increases blood flow to important organ systems, bringing warmth to the affected places.

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Antiseptic: Wounds and internal organs, particularly the urinary tract, urethra, kidneys, and uterus may become septic due to infection by the germs. The highly poisonous nature of the pennyroyal oil makes it an antiseptic since it kills the germs or bacteria that cause sepsis. However, this oil should be used in very mild doses, as it is highly poisonous and an irritant.

Astringent: Traditionally, this oil is used as a gum strengthener, which is probably due to its astringent properties. This makes the gums contract and tighten their grip on the teeth. The effects of its astringency can also be felt on other parts of the body since it induces muscle contraction, pulls up loose hanging skin, gives the face a lift, strengthens hair roots, and helps stop hemorrhaging by contracting the blood vessels.

Cordial: Due to its stimulating property, the essential oil of Penny Royal increases blood circulation, which in turn warms up the whole body, thus behaving as a cordial. This warming effect gives relief from feelings of cold that often result from a fever.

Decongestant: The toxicity of this oil makes it an antiviral and fights infections in the lungs. This also loosens the phlegm and catarrh deposition in the lungs and the respiratory tracts, as well as promoting their expectoration. This way, it behaves as a decongestant for the lungs and respiratory tracts.

Depurative: There are certain reports that say that this oil can be used as a depurative, that is, a blood purifier. Certain components of this oil may help neutralize the toxins in the blood. Since it promotes blood circulation, it also helps proper mixing of fresh oxygen with the blood. In this way, it can purify the blood and keep the organs and cells properly oxygenated. An animal study found that pennyroyal essential oil increased hemoglobin, white and red blood cells, but did not have any effect on other blood indices. The increase in white blood cells indicates that it can strengthen the immune system.

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Digestive: In an animal study published in 2018, it was found that pennyroyal essential oil improved performance, organ weight, serum lipids and intestinal morphology. It increased nutrient absorption in the intestines. Pennyroyal is been in used in folk medicine to facilitate digestion. This property is also reportedly present in its essential oil and it promotes digestion by stimulating the secretion of digestive juices.

Emmenagogue: Pennyroyal essential oil is sometimes used in herbal medicine as an emmenagogue. It is believed to open blocked and delayed menstruation cycles. The resultant stimulation of certain hormones like estrogen and progesterone makes the cycle more regular. However, there is little scientific evidence to support this.

Insecticide: this oil is toxic to humans and to other animals, it is toxic to insects as well. It is a very efficient insect killer and is highly effective if used in fumigants, sprays, and vaporizers. Insects also try to stay away from this oil. This oil is highly praised and reputed as an insect repellant. An experiment undertaken to study the acaricidal effects of different herb essential oils found that the pennyroyal derivative was the most effective.

Stomachic: Used in extremely low doses, this oil can cure stomach problems and can settle the stomach. It cures infections in the stomach, helps maintain the acid-base balance in the stomach by stimulating secretion of acids and bile into the stomach, and soothes inflammation and irritation in the digestive tract.

Word of Caution

This oil is highly poisonous to humans and other animals. Ingestion in even small doses can cause death. It is a strong abortifacient as well, and should, therefore, be strictly avoided during pregnancy. It is not used in aromatherapy, as inhalation in small quantities can seriously damage the lungs, the respiratory tracts, and the liver. Utilized in extremely high dilutions to treat ailments topically is recommended only with the support of a certified Aromatherapist. Furthermore, although several medicinal properties of this oil have been discussed above, most of them are reported to have been in use traditionally and their authenticity is not guaranteed.

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Pennyroyal oil is UNSAFE. It can cause serious liver and kidney damage, as well as nervous system damage. Other side effects include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, burning of the throat, fever, confusion, restlessness, seizures, dizziness, vision and hearing problems, high blood pressure, lung failure, and death.

When applied to the skin: Pennyroyal oil is UNSAFE when applied to the skin undiluted. 0.05% maximum dilutions are recommended.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is UNSAFE to take pennyroyal by mouth or apply it to your skin when pregnant or breast-feeding. There is some evidence that pennyroyal oil can cause abortions by causing the uterus to contract. But the dose needed in order to cause an abortion could kill the mother or cause life-long kidney and liver damage.

Children: It is UNSAFE to give children pennyroyal by mouth. Infants have developed serious liver and nervous system injuries, or even death, after taking pennyroyal.

Kidney disease: The oil in pennyroyal can damage the kidney and make existing kidney disease worse.

Liver disease: The oil in pennyroyal can cause liver damage and might make existing liver disease worse.

Pennyroyal tea.

References:

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-480/pennyroyal

https://essentialoils.co.za/essential-oils/pennyroyal.htm

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-penny-royal-essential-oil.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentha_pulegium

https://www.poison.org/articles/2016-mar/pennyroyal-oil

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2532629

https://www.sciencedirect.com/book/9780443062414/essential-oil-safety

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/287343314_Effect_of_pennyroyal_Mentha_pulegium_extract_on_blood_parameters_in_mice

https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/8928306

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2018.e00881

Lavender Tea

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Flower Tea

The best benefits of lavender tea include relaxing the body, reducing muscle spasms, promoting healthy digestion, and aiding sleep. It also helps in eliminating inflammation, balancing mood, healing the skin, and soothing chronic pain, among many others.

When you drink lavender tea, it can provide relief from inflamed tissues, arthritis, insomnia, high anxiety, gastrointestinal upset, tension, skin irritation, and headaches, just to name a few.

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It has an impressive concentration of calcium, iron, vitamin A, and phenolic compounds, as well as powerful terpenes, such as linalool. These nutrients can have a number of notable effects on human health.

You will find lavender flower in Mother Jai’s Herbal Tea Blends.

Health Benefits of Lavender Flowers

Reduce Anxiety & Stress: organic compounds in lavender leaves and flowers soothe the body and mind, relieve anxious thoughts, and assist in balancing mood. Antioxidants work to lower stress hormones in the body by regulating the endocrine system.

Treats Insomnia: brewing a tea of lavender flowers and enjoying before bed can help relax the mind and body to assist in attaining sleep.

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Anti-Inflammatory: adding lavender flowers to your bath and soaking in it can help reduce inflammation in the joints.

Skin Care: lavender water or tea can be sprayed on the skin to soothe dry, irritated patches, including eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.

Antiseptic Ability: applying crushed leaves and flowers on an open wound will disinfect the wound and stop the bleeding. The compounds will assist in speedy healing and prevent scare tissue formation.

Hair Care: lavender tea added to shampoo and conditioner can assist improving follicle health, nourish the scalp, and strengthen and smooth hair. Can be used as a conditioning rinse after shampooing as well.

Protects Heart Health: lavender tea is known to reduce blood pressure and prevent hardening of the arteries thus reducing the risks of heart attack and stroke.

Prevents Digestive Issues: polyphenols found in lavender extracts work to prevent the development of harmful bacteria and prevents gas accumulation in the gut. Drinking the tea after a large meal can ease discomfort, reduce bloating, and eliminate cramping.

Make Your Own Lavender Tea

Ingredients

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  • 4 teaspoons of fresh lavender buds (1 tablespoon of dried lavender buds)
  • 2 cups of water (filtered)
  • 1 teaspoon of honey, to taste, if desired

Recipe

  • Step 1: Add the fresh or dried lavender buds to a teacup
  • Step 2: Bring the water up to a boil, then remove from heat for 1 minute.
  • Step 3: Pour the water over the lavender buds and allow them to steep for 5 minutes. Place a plate over the top to keep the steam inside the mug, further infusing the tea.
  • Step 4: Remove the plate, add honey if you want to sweeten the flavor, and enjoy! No need to strain the lavender buds out; most will have sunk to the bottom of the cup.

Side Effects of Lavender Tea

Caution should be used if you have allergies to lavender or other relatives of the mint family. Side effects can include constipation, headache, increased appetite, skin irritation, and redness.

  • Pregnancy: When pregnant, using lavender is not recommended, as it can stimulate menstruation, which can lead to a miscarriage or other complication in pregnant women.
  • Low Cholesterol: Due to the cholesterol-lowering properties of this tea, if you are already taking cholesterol medicine, negative interactions may occur.
  • Blood Thinners: This tea has anticoagulant property, which is good for heart health, but if you are already taking blood-thinning medication, it can be very dangerous, particularly before undergoing surgery.
  • Sun Sensitivity: Excessive lavender tea consumption can increase the sun sensitivity of the skin, and may also cause skin irritation and rashes.

If you experience any of these side effects, stop using lavender tea immediately. If you think you may be at risk for a negative interaction with a medication, speak to your doctor before adding this tea to your daily or weekly health regimen.

References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-838/lavender
  2. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/lavender-tea.html
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavandula
  4. https://www.healthline.com/health/what-lavender-can-do-for-you
  5. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265922.php
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/
  7. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/lavender/ataglance.htm
  8. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2120003
  9. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/244993841_Lavender_and_sleep_A_systematic_review_of_the_evidence
  10. http://www.unusualhealth.com/lavender-oil-uses/
  11. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01837966
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23573142
  13. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1876382016300828

Juniper Berry

Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis)

Juniper berries actually aren’t berries at all. They are female seed cones that come from juniper plants — a type of conifer (Pinophyta), which is a cone-bearing plant or tree. Juniper plants vary in appearance and can grow low and wide like a shrub or tall like a tree. Their uniquely fleshy, merged scales make them look like a berry, thus the name.

In addition to their slightly misleading name, juniper berries are also not a berry you would generally eat with breakfast, like blueberries (even though they’re similar in size). Instead, juniper berries are often used as a bitter spice. In fact, they give gin its distinctive flavor. Juniper berries are officially the only spice to come from a conifer tree.

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You will find Juniper Berry in Mother Jai’s Products, click below to shop.

One of the major uses of these berries is in juniper berry essential oil. Known in folk medicine and some modern research as a natural antiseptic and antioxidant, the essential oil of juniper berries is a popular therapeutic oil. It’s also one of the essential oils the FDA approves for limited internal use.

Juniper is used for digestion problems including upset stomach, intestinal gas (flatulence), heartburn, bloating, and loss of appetite, as well as gastrointestinal (GI) infections and intestinal worms. It is also used for urinary tract infections (UTIs) and kidney and bladder stones. Other uses include treating snakebite, diabetes, and cancer.

Juniper Essential Oil Uses

Colds, flu, acne, cellulitis, gout, hemorrhoids, obesity, rheumatism, toxin build-up. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 58-61.]

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The essential oil of juniper is obtained through steam distillation of the needles, wood and powdered fruits of juniper, bearing the scientific name Juniperus communis.

Major Constituents: a-Pinene, Sabinene, B-Myrcene, Terpinene-4-ol, (+)-Limonene, B-Pinene, Gamma-Terpinene, Delta-3-Carene, a-Terpinene. See Essential Oil Safety for more complete list of constituents. [H. Schilcher, D. Emmrich, C. Koehler. Gas Chromatographischer Verleich von Atherischen Wacholderolen und Deren Toxikologische Bewertung. (Pharmazeutische Zeitung 138, 1993), 85-91. Source cited in Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 314.]

Blending: Juniper essential oil blends well with the essential oils of Bergamot, Cedar Wood, Cypress, Grapefruit, Geranium, Lavandin, Lavender, Lavandin, Lime, Lemon, Lemongrass, and Vetiver.

Benefits of Juniper Berries:

  • Relieve Oxidative Stress and Prevent Disease: juniper berries are full of antioxidants that help your body prevent and fight disease by relieving oxidative stress caused by too many free radicals in your system. They contain 87 different distinct bioflavonoids.
  • Natural Antiseptic: strong antibacterial and antifungal qualities. Powerfully destroys black mold (aspergillus), candida and staphylococcus, kills antibiotic resistant strains, and eliminates bacteria and reduces inflammation in the mouth without toxic side effects.
  • Improves Skin Conditions: juniper berries, specifically in essential oil form, is to treat skin issues like rash or eczema. The antioxidants they contain are probably one major reason this can be effective. Helps treat skin pigmentation disorders like vitiligo. The essential oil of juniper berries has also been used for some time to reduce the appearance of cellulite, a harmless cosmetic issue involving fatty deposits that are often found on the thighs, hips and buttocks.
  • Helps Improve Digestion: Juniper berries have long been considered a digestive aid in folk medicine, but few studies have examined these effects at length. Because they function as diuretics, juniper berries can help relieve bloating in some cases.
  • Aids in Restful Sleep: juniper berry essential oil as a relaxant and has a positive impact on brain chemistry, encouraging rest.
  • Effective Against Cancer: juniper berry essential oil or extract has been found to cause apoptosis (cell death) in a drug-resistant strain of leukemia, HepG2 (liver cancer) cells and p53 (neuroblastoma) cells.
  • Good for Heart Health: due in part to its antioxidant qualities, juniper berries can help to improve heart function. For example, juniper berry essential oil has been found to reduce high blood pressure in animal studies, related to the antioxidants it contains. A similar study stated juniper berry’s function as a natural diuretic (in its original or essential oil form) also contributes to its blood pressure-lowering activity. Juniper berries also function as an “anticholinesterase agent.” This is important for heart function because anticholinesterase agents (natural or pharmaceutical) help to build up acetylcholine in the nervous system, which in turn can slow heart action, lower blood pressure, increase blood flow and induce contractions of the heart.
  • Should Be Part of Diabetic Diet Plan: An ethanol extract and a tea of juniper berries seem to have the potential to reduce high blood sugar in diabetic rats. Juniper berry essential oil also seems to limit the amount of malondialdehyde produced by animal bodies. Although malondialdehyde’s role in diabetes isn’t understood entirely, its concentration is much higher in people with diabetes (and cancer).
  • Relieves Pain:  is numbing when applying to painful joints and muscles to relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Fights Arthritis: Juniper essential oil promotes and improves blood circulation. It also helps in the removal of toxins like uric acid from the body. Both of these properties help fight ailments like rheumatism, arthritis, gout, and renal calculi, all of which are related to improper circulation and the accumulation of toxins in the body. This essential oil also relieves swelling.
  • Relieves Cramps: Juniper essential oil is also effective in nearly all forms of cramps, whether it is muscular, intestinal, respiratory or any other area. It relaxes muscle cramps and helps cure spasmodic cholera as well. Being an antispasmodic, it helps cure many other problems related to cramps or spasms.
  • Improves Breathing:  reduces inflammation in respiratory tissues and improves breathing.
  • Relieves Stress and Improves Emotions:  is calming and helps to ease stress without imparting the sedative effects that clary sage and the chamomiles are known for. Spiritually, Juniper Berry Essential Oil used in a room mist, diffuser or candle burner cleanses and purifies the air. It is a good choice for use during prayer or meditation.
  • Insect Repellent: like citronella oil, the scent of juniper may naturally repel bugs like mosquitoes according to scientific research. Spray it on your clothes, mix it with a carrier oil and massage into your skin, or diffuse it indoors and outdoors to purify the air and help prevent bug bites. You can even include it in your own homemade bug spray.
  • Might Reduce Cellulite: You can also use juniper oil as a cellulite remedy. It may help to reduce the appearance of cellulite thanks to active components like alpha-pinene, sabinene and juniperene. Add 100 percent therapeutic grade juniper berry essential oil to grapefruit cellulite cream to decrease cellulite.
  • Promotes Sweating: A sudorific substance is an agent which can bring about heavy sweating or perspiration. This is nothing to get annoyed at. The occasional perspiration makes you feel lighter and healthier and helps in the removal of toxins, excess salt, and water through sweat. This cleans the skin pores and openings of sweat and sebum glands, which prevents acne and other skin diseases.
  • Healing Tonic: Have you ever heard of health tonics? Have you had any? Juniper oil is also considered a tonic, because it tones up everything, including the muscles, tissues, skin, and various other systems inside the body. This includes the respiratory, circulatory, nervous, digestive, and excretory systems. This tonic effect helps retain youth for a long time and maintains proper health for all your years.
  • Speeds Up Healing Process: If a diluted solution of this oil is applied on wounds or blended with a skin cream and applied, it helps your wounds heal faster and keeps them protected from infections. This oil is equally beneficial in healing internal wounds, cuts, and ulcers.
  • Other Benefits: It disinfects air and helps cure kidney stones, inflammation, urinary tract infections, acne, eczema, other skin diseases, dandruff, and enlargement of the prostate gland.

Uses of Juniper Berry Oil

The fresh and calming aroma of juniper berry oil is widely renowned for relieving stress and anxiety. When diffused, it can also cleanse and purify the air. If you want to use juniper berry oil to get its healing and calming effects, try these methods:

  • Vapor therapy. Use a burner or vaporizer to diffuse the oil, which helps relieve emotional issues, such as addiction, nervous tension and hangovers.
  • Massage oil or added to bath water. This works well for pain relief, such as for arthritis, pain in passing urine, swollen joints, gout and muscle fatigue.
  • Add to lotions and creams. Try this for skin-related problems, such as oily skin, acne, dermatitis, psoriasis and weeping eczema.
  • Use in a compress. Ideal for eczema, arthritis and general infections.

RECIPES

Juniper Berry Tea: by adding 1 cup of boiling water to 1 tablespoon of juniper berries, covering, and allowing the berries to steep for 20 minutes. The usual dosage is 1 cup twice a day. However, juniper is said to work better as a treatment for bladder infections when combined with other herbs. Combination products should be taken according to label instructions.

Juniper Berry Oil: made by steam distilling the berries. However, you can make your own infused berry oil at home. Here’s a step-by-step procedure from Lisa Lise:9

  1. Put juniper berries in a clean and sterilized jar. Fill at least three-quarters of the container.
  2. Fill the jar with your oil of choice. Choose a safe oil, such as olive oil or coconut oil.
  3. Close the lid tightly and place the jar in a cool and dark place. Give it a good shake every day for four to six weeks.

Note: Check the jar regularly for any unpleasant smell, which may indicate bacterial growth. If it smells strange, throw it out and make a fresh batch.

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PRECAUTIONS

Juniper, juniper berry, and juniper extract are LIKELY SAFE when consumed in normal food amounts.

Juniper is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts short-term, when inhaled appropriately as a vapor, or when applied to the skin in small areas. Using juniper on the skin can cause some side effects including irritation, burning, redness, and swelling. Avoid using it on large skin wounds.

Taking juniper by mouth long-term or in a high dose is LIKELY UNSAFE as it can cause kidney problems, seizures, and other serious side effects.

First, pregnant women should never consume juniper berries in whole or essential oil form as it may potentially cause damage to the unborn child or force uterine contractions. Juniper is also not recommended for those with poor kidney function.

It is possible to develop an allergic reaction to juniper berries, which could manifest with skin issues (like a rash) or breathing issues. If you experience any of those conditions after using juniper berries, discontinue use and consult your doctor immediately.

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Juniper berries may also interact negatively with certain medications, according to a 2014 study. The berries seem to inhibit a drug metabolizing enzyme in the human body known as CYP3A4. This enzyme metabolizes about half of the drugs on the pharmaceutical market, while the other half of medicines actually inhibit the enzyme.

There is a fairly extensive list of medications that could result in toxicity when taken in conjunction with juniper berries. If you are taking any medications, you should first consult with your doctor before using juniper berries or juniper berry essential oil.

Surgery: Juniper might affect blood sugar levels, making blood sugar control more difficult during and after surgery. Stop using juniper at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

References:

  1. https://draxe.com/juniper-berries/
  2. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-724/juniper
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4665443/
  4. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/antioxidants/
  5. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/what-the-heck-do-i-do-with-juniper-berries-12985861/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21707254
  7. http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Juniper_Berries_9389.php
  8. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/juniper-berry
  9. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/medicinal-benefits-juniper-berries-7691.html
  10. https://www.aromaweb.com/essential-oils/juniper-berry-oil.asp
  11. http://www.aromatalk.com/aromatalk/2009/01/spotlight-juniper-berry-essential-oil-juniperus-communis.html
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26784665
  13. http://www.floracopeia.com/Essential-Oils/essential-oils-sub/wild-crafted-juniper-berry-oil.html
  14. https://www.cancercarewny.com/content.aspx?chunkiid=21780
  15. https://draxe.com/juniper-berry-essential-oil/
  16. https://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/juniper-berry-oil.aspx
  17. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-juniper-essential-oil.html

Black Pepper

Black pepper essential oil (Piper nigrum) is steam-distilled from the berries (peppercorn) of the Piperceae. Although black pepper itself is frequently used, the oil is not so widely known. However, it’s an oil high in monoterpenes, a chemical constituent known to have a powerful impact on the body in many ways. The aroma of black pepper is spicy, musky, warm, and peppery.

Find it in Mother Jai’s Aroma Sprays, Warming Pain Relief & Arthritis Relief Oils.

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The warm, mild aroma of Black Pepper will remind you of freshly ground peppercorns combined with a soft floral scent. While you may not desire to diffuse it by itself, it can spice up your favorite diffuser blend. Black Pepper is an excellent choice to help in reducing occasional discomfort after exercise or easing achy joints that are associated with normal aging or wear and tear.

Therapeutically, black pepper oil is mostly used as a supplement for digestive and nervous system support and wellness. For this reason many people will use the oil as a flavoring in their cooking, just as you might with crushed black pepper. However, the ratios will be MUCH different. You wouldn’t use a full teaspoon of black pepper oil (yikes!!), but rather start off with a drop, to find the right amounts for your recipes.

Plant Description

Native to India, the black pepper plant is a climbing vine that can grow up to 10 meters high. The stem of the black pepper plant grows into a plentiful green column as the many shoots that grow from the stem begin to produce green, almond-shaped leaves. Growing next to these luscious leaves are clustered flowers and the fruit of the plant—the peppers. The peppers, or fruits, are round and can grow to be approximately 6 mm in diameter. These fruits turn from green to red and are picked at various times of their ripening stages to produce varying types of peppers. In order to produce black pepper, these tiny and rotund fruits are typically picked when they are fully grown, shiny, and green.

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Chemistry of Black Pepper Essential Oil

Main Chemical Components: Caryophyllene, limonene, carene, sabinene

Black Pepper essential oil contains a high amount of natural chemicals that can support and protect the human body. Some of the most prominent chemicals are monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, which are known for their antioxidant activity when ingested. These chemicals also help support the immune system.

Oils that Blend Well with Black Pepper Essential Oil

Black Pepper essential oil blends well with Bergamot, Clary Sage, Frankincense, Geranium, Lavender, Clove, Juniper Berry, Sandalwood, and Cedarwood essential oils for diffusion.

Primary Benefits

  • Rich source of antioxidants
  • Supports healthy circulation
  • Aids digestion
  • Enhances food flavor
  • Soothes anxious feelings

Emotional Benefits

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Aromatically, black pepper essential oil helps people to examine things with clarity and honesty. It allows a person to take off their own facade or mask, share their true thoughts and emotions, and unblock the flow of growth in this way. It might help a person who is dealing with repressed memories or emotions, allowing them to dig deep into their past or their present experiences. It can help you uncover hidden truths or face patterns or habits with courage.

Other Benefits

Black pepper oil is rich in certain useful minerals and vitamins too. For example, there is vitamin-A (Beta Carotene), which is very beneficial for ocular health as well as for antioxidant activity. It has vitamin-K, which is essential for maintaining proper circulatory and metabolic functions, muscles, and bones. Furthermore, it has calcium, potassium and selenium. While calcium is good for bones and potassium for regulating blood pressure, selenium is essentially required for the proper formation of bones, nails, hair follicles and teeth, as well as for proper functioning of the brain.

In Other Words It’s Really Good For:

  1. Cognitive support and brain health. [Dorene Petersen, Presentation: Clinical Use of Aromatherapy for Brain Health: 7 Essential Oils. August 9, 2017, New Brunswick, NJ. Alliance of International Aromatherapists 2017 Conference. AIA 2017 Conference Proceedings page 221-222.]
  2. Aching muscles, arthritis, chilblains, constipation, muscle cramps, poor circulation, sluggish digestion. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 56-64.]

Black Pepper Essential Oil Uses

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  1. Ability to provide warm sensations when applied topically. This factor makes it a perfect oil to use in a relaxing massage blend. Create your own warming and soothing massage blend by combining one to two drops of Black Pepper essential oil with a carrier oil. Using Black Pepper essential oil in a massage blend not only provides warm sensations during a massage, its aromatic components also help enhance your relaxing experience.
  2. Improves Circulation. When black pepper essential oil is taken internally, it promotes healthy circulation and stimulates mucus and bile flow. It has warming properties when taken internally and applied topically. Mix black pepper oil with cinnamon or turmeric essential oil to enhance these circulatory activities.
  3. Helps the body kill cancer cells. According to a 2010 study conducted at Michigan State University, black pepper oil and its constituents exhibit anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer activities. All compounds derived from black pepper suppressed human cancer cell proliferation, with peperine being the most effective compound.
  4. Need a good way to calm unwanted anxiety? Black Pepper essential oil is a great way to relieve anxious feelings. When used aromatically, Black Pepper essential oil can help soothe tightened emotions. To relieve yourself of anxious feelings, place a few drops of Black Pepper essential oil into a diffuser or inhale it directly to receive its aromatic benefits. Dilute 1 drop and rub over the heart center as desired for emotional support.
  5. Black Pepper is a powerful essential oil with amazing uses and benefits. With the right combination of essential oils, its effects can be amplified. When you combine Black Pepper essential oil with Juniper Berry oil and/or Cedarwood oil, it can help produce a calming and grounding effect on your senses and emotions, and can help you de-stress and relax.
  6. Contains many natural chemicals that are important in supporting natural functions of the body. Some of these chemicals include monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, which are known for their antioxidant activity when ingested. To provide your body with greater antioxidant support, put one or two drops of Black Pepper essential oil into a Veggie Capsule and take internally.
  7. Enjoy your favorite seasons with good health by using Black Pepper essential oil. Because Black Pepper has certain natural chemicals such as monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, it can support the immune system when needed most. To better protect your health, take one to two drops of Black Pepper essential oil in a Veggie Capsule when seasonal threats are high. Research published in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology found that black pepper extract contains anti-virulence properties, meaning it targets bacterial virulence without affecting cell viability, which may be less prone to the development of drug resistance. The study showed that after screening 83 essential oils: black pepper, cananga and myrrh oil inhibited staphylococcus aureus biofilm formation and almost abolished the hemolytic (destruction of red blood cells) activity of S. aureus.
  8. To soothe muscles and joints or to warm the skin during cold weather. Because of its warming, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, black pepper oil works to reduce muscle injuries, tendinitis, and symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine assessed the efficacy of aromatic essential oils on neck pain. When patients applied a cream composed of black pepper, marjoram, lavender and peppermint essential oils to the neck daily for a four-week period, the group reported improved pain tolerance and significant improvement of neck pain.
  9. Use to quit smoking. Black pepper oil may help reduce cravings for cigarettes and symptoms of anxiety in smokers deprived from smoking. A 1994 study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence found that black pepper oil can suppress certain smoking withdrawal symptoms, including cravings for cigarettes. Forty-eight cigarette smokers participated in a three-hour session conducted after overnight deprivation from smoking. The participants were divided into three groups: One group of smokers puffed on a device that delivered a vapor from black pepper essential oil, a second group puffed on a device with a mint/menthol cartridge and a third group used a device containing an empty cartridge. After puffing and inhaling from the devices throughout the session, reported cravings for cigarettes were significantly reduced in the black pepper group relative to each of the two control groups.  In addition, negative effects and symptoms of anxiety were alleviated in the black pepper, and participants reported that the intensity of sensations in the chest was significantly higher with the black pepper cartilage. This study suggests that respiratory tract sensations are important in alleviating smoking withdrawal symptoms and cigarette substitutes delivering black pepper constituents may prove useful in smoking cessation treatment. Black pepper oil is also among the best essential oils for anxiety and nervous conditions.
  10. Improves digestion. Black pepper oil may help ease the discomfort of constipation, diarrhea and gas. A range of studies has shown that it exhibits antidiarrheal, gastro-protective, antidiarrheal and antispasmodic activities. Black pepper does this by stimulating the stomach to increase hydrochloric acid secretion, which is necessary for proper digestion. Black pepper has been used to effectively treat IBS symptoms as well as bladder dysfunctions.
  11. Lowers Cholesterol. A 2002 study on the hypolipidemic (lipid-lowering) effect of black pepper in rats fed a high-fat diet showed a decrease in the levels of cholesterol, free fatty acids, phospholipids and triglycerides. Researchers found that supplementation with black pepper elevated the concentration of HDL cholesterol and reduced the concentration of LDL cholesterol and VLDL cholesterol in the plasma of rats fed high-fat foods. Use black pepper essential oil internally to reduce high triglycerides and improve your total cholesterol levels.
  12. Stimulates appetite. Research shows that olfactory stimulation using black pepper essential oil, which is a strong appetite stimulant, can facilitate swallowing in people with neurological disorders. Inhalation and ingestion of black pepper oil activates the insular or orbitofrontal cortex, resulting in improvement of the reflexive swallowing movement. In 2008, the effects of olfactory stimulation with black pepper oil were investigated in pediatric patients receiving long-term enteral nutrition (feeding with liquid supplements or tube feeding) due to neurological disorders. In eight out of 10 patients, black pepper oil intervention was continued for three months, and five patients showed increases in the amount of oral intake — plus black pepper treatment helped facilitate swallowing movement.
  13. Helps the body detoxify.  Black pepper oil creates a warming sensation when applied topically, so it increases sweating. It also serves as a diuretic and increases urination, helping remove bodily toxins and excess water from the body. This reduces swelling and inflammation; plus it can help lower blood pressure naturally. A 2013 study published in Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics found that piperine supplementation helped normalize blood pressure, improve glucose tolerance (giving you normal blood sugar levels), reduce inflammation and improve liver function in rats fed a high-fat diet. These changes clearly suggest that peperine reduces symptoms of human metabolic syndrome by helping the body to remove toxins and reduce inflammation.
  14. Diaphoretic & Diuretic. Black pepper oil, when ingested, increases sweating and urination. Both of these properties play an important role in the removal of toxins from the body, clearing of the pores on the skin, and disinfecting the body. Sweating and urinating help eliminate extra water and fat from the body, thereby reducing weight, lowering blood pressure and making the body very relaxed. These properties are also helpful for reducing inflammation.
  15. Stimulates energy production. Black Pepper Oil is stimulating and is a good choice for inclusion in blends intended to help enhance alertness and stamina. Black Pepper should be avoided before bedtime. Consider massaging 1-2 drops into the soles of the feet daily, or diffusing as needed for increased energy.

Inspiration for Using Black Pepper Essential Oil

For a muscle rub: In a 5 ml roller bottle; add 5 drops Peppermint, 3 drops Clove, 5 drops Wintergreen and 3 drops Black Pepper essential oils. Top with FCO.

To summon inner strength, diffuse; 2 drops Basil, 2 drops Bergamot, 1 drop Cinnamon, 1 drop Lemon and 1 drop Black Pepper.

Blend into coconut oil or basic salve recipe to warm and promote circulation.

Cautions

If taken in large quantities, it may cause uneasiness, unrest, vomiting, loose motions, irritation and inflammation of the intestines, sleeplessness, overheating, and smelling strongly of pepper. However, there is nothing serious about these symptoms. Keep pepper away from the eyes and nose, as it may cause irritation, sneezing, and burning. Possible skin sensitivity. Keep out of reach of children. If you are pregnant, nursing, or under a doctor’s care, consult your physician. Avoid contact with eyes, inner ears, and sensitive areas.

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