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Progress in Essential Oils

By: Brian M. Lawrence
Posted: March 3, 2006, from the March 2006 issue of P&F magazine.

Juniper Berry Oil and Extract

Maurer and Thomas (1994) reported on the occurrence of nitrogen bases in juniper berry oil (Juniperus communis L.). Starting with 10 kg of the oil, a basic fraction (10 mg) was obtained, which had a rich aroma. Although the two main components were found to be cis- and trans-p-menth-3-ene-1,2-diol, two pyrazines (3,6-dimethyl-2-ethylpyrazine and 2,3,5,6-tetramethylpyrazine) and 11 pyridines [3-methoxypyridine, 3-isopropylpyridine, 5-isopropyl-2-methylpyridine, 6-isopropyl-3-methylpyridine, 3-isopropenyl-6-methylpyridine, 3-pentylpyridine, (E)-3-pentenylpyridine, (Z)-3-pentenylpyridine, isopropyl nicotinate, 2-isopropylpyridinyl methyl ketone and sec.butyl nicotinate] were found as trace constituents of the oil.

Analysis of Polish juniper berry oil by Gosa et al. (1997) revealed that the major constituents were:

alpha-pinene (44.1 percent)

sabinene (6.6 percent)

limonene (4.2 percent)

p-cymene (11.9 percent)

borneol (5.2 percent)

farnesene* (5.0 percent) *correct isomer not identified

The composition of juniper berry oil produced in different seasons from different locations in Greece was analyzed by Koukos and Papadopoulou (1997). A summary of the results of these analyses can be seen in T-1. The results of the study revealed that both the maturity of the juniper berry and the area from which it was harvested had a pronounced effect on the composition of the oil.

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