Progress in Essential Oils

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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