The humble berry has both provenance and healing powers
Read our notes on its fascinating history
When it came to deciding the notes of October, a jolt of juniper was a must for us. Its freshness is the perfect balance to the earthy notes of a woodland walk and the sweetness of freshly harvested apples. But, aside from its unique scent, it has an incredible folklore and history. Below are some of the most fascinating nuggets we’ve found.
- While there are said to be nearly 70 species of juniper all over the world, a study shared at Beltane in 1996 said that there is evidence the juniper tree may have been one of the first shrubs to appear in the British Isles in the post-Ice Age era 12,000 years ago. Once the ice sheets retreated, this sun-loving shrub started to thrive.
- Juniper berries were first recorded as a medicinal cure in Ancient Egypt and have been prized for their ability to aid digestion, kidney problems, flatulence, and arthritis. It has since been adopted into aromatherapy treatments, with a few drops of juniper oil said to have effective anti-inflammatory powers.
- Much of juniper’s folklore lies in Scotland, where in medieval times it was used to flavour liquor, such as whiskey. In the time since, it has of course become better associated with gin. From the 17th to 19th centuries, it was one of the country’s most popular exports which people collecting the berries and selling them on markets in Aberdeen and Inverness to be exported to Holland for gin production.
- Juniper also has folkloristic roots at the other end of the British Isles in Cornwall, where juniper wood was commonly used in Beltane fires to purify buildings and their owners. Its berries and branches were often burnt in the presence of a poorly person in the hope that the same purifying properties would help to disperse infection.
Our Notes of October candle is harnesses the bright freshness of juniper and woods, making it perfect for any space in your home. And we think it is wonderful all year round, especially in your home workspace.