Oleum Juniperi. U. S., Br. Oil of Juniper.
Ol. Junip. [Juniper Oil, Oil of Juniper Berries]
"A volatile oil distilled from the ripe fruit of Juniperus communis, Linné (Fam. Pinaceae). Preserve it in well-stoppered, amber-colored bottles in, a cool place, protected from light." U. S. "Oil of Juniper is the oil distilled from the ripe fruit of Juniperus communis, Linn., and rectified." Br.
Oleum Fructus (vel Baccae) Juniperi; Huile volatile (Essence) de Genievre, Fr.; Oleum Juniperi, P. G.; Wachholderöl, Wachholderbeeröl, G.; Essenza di ginepro, It.
The proportion of oil which jumper berries afford is stated very differently by different authors. Trommsdorff obtained 1 per cent. The highest quantity given in the table of Re-cluz is 2.34, the lowest 0.31 per cent. Zeiler gives as the product of the fresh ripe fruit 1.3 per cent., of that a year old 0.86 per cent. The berries are most productive when bruised. The oil of juniper consumed in this country is brought from Europe, and is believed to be procured chiefly from the tops of the plant, being sold for a price which is altogether incompatible with the idea that it is prepared from the fruit alone. "A colorless or faintly green or yellow liquid, having the characteristic odor and taste of juniper fruit. It is soluble in 4 volumes of alcohol with not more than a slight cloudiness. Specific gravity: 0.854 to 0.879 at 25° C. (77° F.). The optical rotation varies from 0° to -15°, in a 100 mm. tube at 25° C. (77° F.)." U.S.
"Colorless or pale yellowish-green. Odor that of the fruit; taste warm, aromatic and bitter. Specific gravity 0.862 to 0.890, increasing with age; optical rotation -3° to -15°; refractive index at 25° C. (77° F.) 1.472 to 1.488. Soluble, when freshly distilled, in 4 parts of a mixture of equal volumes of alcohol (90 per cent.) and absolute alcohol/ becoming less soluble with age." Br.
According to Fluckiger (Pharm. Chem., 2d ed., 1888, 402), it is composed essentially of two hydrocarbons, the more abundant of which, boiling at 160° C. (320° F.), has been shown by Wallach to be pinene, C10H16. Above 175° C. (347° F.) another oil is obtained, which seems to be cadinene, C15H24. It also contains a small amount of an ester to which the peculiar juniper-like odor and taste was supposed to be due, but this cannot be the case, as the odor persists after the complete saponification of the small amount of ester. Juniper camphor is also present, its melting point is 165° to 166° C. (329°-330.8° F.). Oil of turpentine is often fraudulently added, but may be detected by the specific gravity of the mixture being less than that of the unadulterated oil of juniper.
Uses.—Oil of juniper is occasionally used as a carminative in intestinal flatulence, but is more popularly employed for its diuretic effect. Because of its local irritant action it should never be used when there is an active inflammatory process in the kidney or urinary tract. It is frequently combined with potassium bitartrate. To it gin owes its peculiar flavor as well as its diuretic effects.
Dose, two to ten minims (0.12-0.6 mil).