Juniper Leaf Oil


Juniper-leaf-banner

Juniper is not ‘just another’ plant in the Jungle; more than that, it owns myriad health benefits and the most astonishing remedial use is its power to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in breast cancer cells. It is also celebrated as the most common therapeutic plants used by the native North Americans.

Beckoned as Hapusha in Sanskrit, Juniperus communis or the Common Juniper is also called as Aaraar in Hindi, Havusha in Bengali, Gin plant, Alpine Juniper, Horse savin and Fairy circle in English. Juniper has been a part of the Ayurvedic remedy of leucorrhoea, asthma, urino-genital infections, dropsy, gout, bronchitis, bladder and kidney stones, sluggish digestion, rhinitis, rheumatism and certain other water-retention disorders.

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History and importance of Juniper leaf and its essential oil:

Juniperus communis is an evergreen coniferous shrub in the Juniperus genus and belongs to the Cypress family, Cupressaceae. There are about 67 Juniper species spread across the world. Juniper has scale-like or needle-shaped leaves. The most soaring Juniper forest is located at an altitude of 4,900 meters in the Northern Himalayas and the South-eastern Tibet and is one of the tallest tree-lines on this planet.

Nicholas Culpeper, the most renowned herbalist and physician of the 17th century prescribed the use of Juniper berries for treating sciatica, asthma and for speeding up childbirth. Juniper was used in folklore medicine for curing snakebites and poisonous stings.

The Seminole Indians in Florida used Juniper for treating headache, swollen joints, diarrhea, stiff neck and common cold. Native Americans also used the berries as a female contraceptive agent.

The indigenous Europeans burned the berries during the last three days of April as a ceremony for cleaning and guarding against sorcery. Juniper leaves were hung near the main door for preventing the entry of witches. Juniper was trusted to bring in good luck in love life and was burnt as incense for keeping away from insects, ghosts and evil spirits.

Juniper is quoted in the Bible as the tree where Prophet Elijah hid. The leaves and berries of this plant have been used by the Tibetans for medicinal and spiritual uses. They believed that the burning of Juniper helped in breaking spiritual barriers, curses, hexes and protect from snakes and other venomous bites. It was used in Tibet for both religious and medicinal purposes.

Herbal tea prepared with Juniper berry and leaves is been taken especially after meals for helping with digestion and for preventing bladder problems. Herbalists recommend drinking this tea in alternative days or as a part of your daily routine as an aid in flushing out the toxic remains in the system, support normal metabolic functions and aid in your weight-loss regimen by discarding the fluid withholding in the system.

Chemical constituents and remedial attributes of Juniper leaf oil:

The essential oil of Juniper has rubefacient, astringent, antiseptic, carminative, analgesic, stimulant, anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, anti-rheumatic, diuretic, expectorant, anti-catarrhal, antispasmodic, neurotonic and sudorific properties.

The major chemical constituents contributing to its healing values are about 90 percent of various monoterpenes, where as Juniper berry essential oil contains only 50-60 percent of it. Juniper leaf oil also has esters, terpinene-4-ol, antiviral and anti-cancerous compound known as DTP- deoxypodophyllotoxin.

Ayurvedic uses of Juniper leaf and its essential oil:

Ayurveda is a common sense science that simply goes with the saying “There is no smoke without fire”. In a much similar manner, Ayurveda states that every illness has a root cause behind. Identifying it and treating the root cause of a disease instead of its symptoms, is the secret behind the success of Ayurvedic healing in the treatment, prevention and voyage towards longevity.

None of us can deny being a part of nature and that is the mantra of Ayurveda. It firmly indicates that all things in the universe are a component of Nature and everything is made up of the five fundamental energies known as Panchamahabhutas. They are space, earth, water, fire and air.

Every person has a unique identity, which is an outcome of his/her unique individual constitution known as Prakriti. It is a combination of the three biological energies known as doshas (vata, kapha and pitta), which are an arrangement of Panchamahabhutas.

Pitta (fire + water = metabolism, body temperature, leadership traits); vata (air + space = circulation, respiration, creative abilities); kapha (earth + water = reproductive functions, physique, sustenance, trust and love).

Every individual has a distinct combination of these doshas with a predominance of any one dosha and it determines one’s physical set up, mental makeup, character, behavior/attitude and the depths of their spiritual being.

Leading a well-organized life helps in retaining absolute balance with nature, whereas irregular eating habits, junk and ready-to-eat food items, sedentary lifestyle, climatic conditions, change in sleeping patterns, lack of physical exercise, work pressure, stress and certain other factors can pave way for imbalance of your system with nature. This leads to imbalance between doshas and thus, sickness steps in.

Ayurveda is a holistic healing practice that prescribes natural remedies for striking balance with nature. It prescribes unique remedies for every person based upon their unique individual constitution, even for the same illness as it appreciates individual differences and trusts that every individual has a different mechanism that reacts to variations in their own way.

Ayurvedic medications for the mind, body and the soul include herbs, plant essential oils, yoga, Ayurvedic routine, meditation, Panchakarma or the Ayurvedic detoxification technique, Abhyanga or Ayurvedic massaging and many other Ayurvedic therapies for complete cure and prevention of illnesses.

Juniper leaf essential oil is recommended for pacifying kapha and vata dosha and for enhancing pitta dosha for trouble-free metabolic functions.

Let’s take a look at the uses of Juniper leaf oil according to the methods of usage:

Juniper-leaf-broucher1. Juniper leaf oil in steam inhalation:

Steam inhalation is an ancient treatment for instant relief from blocked nasal passages, sinusitis pain, headache and for attracting hidden toxins and excess oil in the skin surface.

Steam inhalation with therapeutic herbs and medicated oils as per the medical condition and Prakriti of a person is one among the Ayurvedic detoxification technique known as Panchakarma. Swedhana or promoting sweat is the most suitable treatment for people with Kapha imbalances.

Fluid retention is one among the kapha vitiations, which paves way for the buildup of ama or toxic remains. This slows down the normal functioning of the body and gradually weakens the immune power. When your body’s immunity reduces, the entry of micro-organisms like bacteria, virus and fungi becomes much easier.

This paves way for cold, flu, chest and bronchial congestion and few other respiratory infections. 2 drops of Juniper leaf oil with 1 drop of Eucalyptus oil and 1 drop of Clove bud oil can help in loosening the phlegm and mucous deposits, open up the blocked nasal passages, alleviate pain and lets out the toxic remains by promoting sweat with its sudorific and diaphoretic properties.

A refreshing steam inhalation blend for energizing the skin, especially the facial skin includes 2 drops of Juniper leaf oil with 1 drop of Rose Geranium oil, 1 drop of Palmarosa oil and 1 drop of Lime oil can work wonders on your skin.

The antiseptic properties of this blend can help in soothing wounds or infections caused by acne. This treatment also helps in opening the clogged pores, removing dirt, dead skin cells and excess oil in the sebaceous glands, controlling the secretion of sebum and enhancing the circulation of blood in the skin with its rubefacient properties, allowing the skin to look supple and healthy.

2. Juniper leaf oil in massage blends, baths and compress:

Rheumatism, obesity, edema, gout, renal calculi, bladder stones, congestion, inflammation, swelling and respiratory infections are kapha imbalances.

Ayurveda recommends hot compress, Abhyanga or Ayurvedic massaging and warm bath diluted with therapeutic essential oils for treating water retention or kapha vitiations. Abhyanga is the primordial art of maneuvering the muscles, nerves and joints with the help of palms, foot, elbows and certain Ayurvedic techniques.

Using Ayurvedic essential oils in massage, compress and medicated baths is the easy way for passing on the therapeutic values of essential oils to the bloodstream.

Skin is by far the largest and prominent part of the human body just like the outer rind of bananas. Massaging your body with 10 drops of Juniper leaf oil, 5 drops of Ginger oil, 5 drops of Marjoram oil, 5 drops of Wormwood oil along with 3 ounce of sesame oil can work effectively in eliminating the surplus fluid deposits, toxic remains, salt, fat deposits and uric acid by influencing the frequency and mass of urine and sweat with its diuretic, sudorific, diaphoretic and detoxifying properties.

This assists in reducing swelling, inflammation, redness, soreness, pain and muscular tension associated with arthritis, rheumatism and edema. The tendency to pacify vata imbalance along with the circulatory or the rubefacient properties of Juniper leaf oil helps in treating cellulites, pain, swelling and muscular stiffness related to varicose veins.

It’s pitta augmenting properties help in stimulating the functions of liver and pancreas (normalizes the level of insulin) thus fostering secretion of bile, gastric juices and other digestive acids for relieving flatulence, colic pain and trouble-free digestion.

An invigorating bath with 5 drops of Juniper leaf oil, 2 drops of Geranium oil, 2 drops of Orange bitter oil and 2 drops of Petitgrain oil can help in controlling the free radicals, relaxing the nerves, soothing the muscles, tranquilizing the mind and stimulating positive effects on the brain.

This is an excellent remedy for treating cancer (especially in preventing the spread of free radicals, apoptosis or cellular death and cellular damage), alleviating stress, fatigue, anxiety and negative feelings. Taking this bath before bedtime can support you in sleeping tight and recharge your system for a new-fangled day ahead.

A 2015 study published in PubMed on ‘Deoxypodophyllotoxin isolated from Juniperus communis induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells’ by Benzina S, Harquail J, Jean S, Beauregard AP, Colquhoun CD, Carroll M, Bos A, Gray CA, Robichaud GA, Universite de Moncton, Canada have concluded that they “identified the diterpene isocupressic acid and the aryltetralin lignan deoxypodophyllotoxin (DPT) as potent inducers of caspase-dependent programmed cell death (apoptosis) in malignant MB231 breast cancer cells.”

3. Juniper leaf oil in mild creams, lotions and topical applications:

Adding 2 drops of Juniper leaf oil with 1 drop of Lavender oil and 1 drop of Jojoba oil in gentle skin care creams and lotions for topical use on athlete’s foot, pimples, eczema and other inflammatory skin conditions can foster quicker healing with its antiseptic and antibacterial properties.

4. Juniper leaf oil in diffusers, burners and aromatic candles:

Juniper leaf oil has been used since the traditional times for spiritual and remedial uses. It’s restoring, supportive, fresh, sweet-woody and balsamic fragrance implants absolute peace and feelings of oneness with the universe and the divine.

Adding 3 drops of Juniper leaf oil with 1 drop of Clary Sage oil, 1 drop of Vetiver oil and 1 drop of Sandalwood oil in your diffuser, burner, aromatic candle or vaporizer during prayers, meditation and other sacred ceremonies can uplift your mind, nourish your spirit, open up the mind for newness, instill positive feelings and nurture the soul, helping it to identify its purpose on earth.

Disclaimer:

This is only for educational purposes and is not meant for diagnosing any medical condition or for substituting any prescription medicines or expert advice of a medical professional. We are not healthcare experts and this article is shared only with the idea of widening the knowledge of Ayurvedic healing, the pioneer of all medical systems.

Juniper leaf essential oil is non-irritant and non-toxic but is still recommended for topical use only. This is because pure and organic essential oils are highly concentrated liquids and may cause allergic reactions if used directly on the skin. Do not take essential oils internally.

The essential oil of Juniper leaf should not be used by people with chronic kidney disorders, pregnant and nursing women as it has the potent to cause uterine contractions, making it a traditional medicine for inducing labor. Keep essential oils out of reach of children.

Thought for the day:

A weed is a plant whose virtue is not yet known. –By Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Suggested Reading:

  1. Aromatherapy: A Practical Guide (The Healing series) by Marion Wayman
  2. Clinical Botanical Medicine by Eric Yarnell, Kathy Abascal, Carol G. Hooper
  3. Junipers of the World: The genus Juniperus: 3rd Edition by Robert P. Adams
  4. Evidence-based Essential Oil Therapy: The Ultimate Guide to the Therapeutic and Clinical Application of Essential Oils by Dr. Scott A Johnson
  5. Medicinal Plants of North America: A Field Guide (Falcon Guide)
    by Jim Meuninck

Reference Links:

  1. Juniper by Wikipedia
  2. Health benefits of Juniper essential oil by Organic Facts
  3. Deoxypodophyllotoxin isolated from Juniperus communis induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells by Benzina S, Harquail J, Jean S, Beauregard AP, Colquhoun CD, Carroll M, Bos A, Gray CA, Robichaud GA, Universite de Moncton, Canada published in PubMed
  4. Ayurvedic drug plants by Anil Kumar Dhiman
  5. Junipers by Eat the Weeds

Cypress Oil


“Cypress allows the mind to collect itself and takes people out of sorrow and depression; it regulates female hormones and helps with ovarian cysts”, says Light Miller and Bryan Miller in their book Ayurveda and Aromatherapy.

Cypress-bannerHaving its uses inscribed in the Holy Bible, Cypress essential oil has been used by mankind for more than 4,000 years. Though associated with death and underworld, this tree is known for regenerating the inner soul.

Botanically known as Cupressus sempervirens, Cypress trees bear the Eastern Mediterranean region as their native. As the Greek name Sempervirens means ‘ever living’, Cypress trees are found to be ever living with the oldest known as Sarv-e-Abarkooh being found in Iran’s Yazd Province that is estimated to be of approximately 4,000 years old.

Extracted from the needles and twigs of Cupressus Sempervirens, Cypress essential oil has plenty of reasons to be celebrated as one of the ancient bliss of mankind. It is used in Ayurveda for treating various ailments like cardiovascular problems, cellulites, varicose veins, menstrual problems, cold and other respiratory illnesses.

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Historical uses and importance of Cypress and its essential oil:

Having mentioned in the Bible as a valuable medical aid for strengthening oneself mentally and physically, Cypress essential oil captures a remarkable position in the list of natural medications.

As quoted in the Bible on Isaiah 44: 14, the verse ‘He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the Cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it‘ is just enough to sing the glorious history of Cypress.

The wood of Cupressus sempervirens were used in the primordial times for building ships, houses and for making furniture. The doors of the ancient church ‘St. Peter’s Basilica’ in Vatican City is made of Cypress woods. Some of the valuable sources state that the ever-living property of this tree led the Egyptians to make coffin out of Cypress woods and the Greeks to make statues of God. Some Biblical scholars even state that the cross of Jesus Christ has been made of Cypress wood.

Indigenous to Cyprus Island, Cypress trees were initially worshipped as an earthly symbol of the Goddess Beruth. This tree signifies immortality and death in ancient art and literature and is often correlated with meditation and reflection.

Hippocrates, the father of medicine prescribed Cypress for treating hemorrhoids. The significant aroma of this tree is said to grant mental clarity and the cones were used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for curing bleeding gums and other oral problems.

Cypress and its essential oil have been used since ancient times mainly to treat various illnesses associated with the circulatory system. It was also used in treating all types of common diseases ranging from cold, cough, skin diseases and hair loss problems to inflammation in the internal and external parts of the body.

The essential oil of Cypress was also used as an effective perfume agent that spreads the sweet memories of a lovely surrounding. It is for this cause, Cypress and its essential oil are always used in religious rituals and in mourning ceremonies where its healing attributes is believed to calm the mind, strengthen it and assist one in recovering quickly from losses.

Chemical constituents and therapeutic properties of Cypress oil:

Cypress essential oil contains various chemical components, the majority of which are a-pinene, delta carene and limonene. The other constituents include sesquiterpene, a-terpinene, sabinene, carvone, 4-terpinol, b-cymene, carveol, cedrol, a-thugene and santene.

Contrary to its depiction as a symbol of mourning, Cypress essential oil has a handful of health benefits with its astringent, antimicrobial, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, firming, anti-seborrheic, anti-dandruff, anti-aging, antioxidant, aromatic, antispasmodic, antiseptic, diuretic, vasoconstricting, mucolytic, fluid retention, decongestant, sedative, hepatic and haemostatic properties.

Ayurvedic Health Benefits of Cypress Oil:

Celebrated as one of the 12 sacred oils of Bible, Cypress is also known as one of the oldest trees on earth. It is also used in Ayurvedic healing in the treatment of numerous health disorders for more than 4,000 years.

Ayurveda is held high as the oldest healing system and is adorably called as the mother of all healing sciences including the Traditional Chinese Medicine, Homeopathy, Siddha, Unani, Acupuncture and Chiropractic.

Ayurveda firmly states that all things on earth are a part of nature and nature is made up of five vital elements namely fire, water, earth, space and air. Perfect health symbolizes perfect balance of the human body with nature and illnesses occur when there is imbalance with nature.

Every individual is unique according to Ayurveda with a distinct individual constitution comprising of three biological energies known as doshas. These doshas are nothing but a representation of the five vital elements.

Vata dosha represents air and space, pitta dosha stands for fire and water and kapha symbolizes water and earth. Just like nature, human body is also made up of five elements where earth is the physical structure of the body, fire is the force supporting body temperature and metabolism, water is the blood and other vital fluids, air is what we breathe and space is the soul that rests within us.

Every person has a predominance of any one of these doshas and it determines the personality, character and behavioral attributes. Balance between these doshas represents health and heartiness and imbalance causes sickness.

Ayurvedic remedies like essential oils, herbs, healthy balanced diet, yoga, prayer, meditation and Ayurvedic routine progresses towards striking balance between these doshas.

Cypress essential oil is said to lessen increased kapha and vata dosha and pacifies pitta dosha.

The Ayurvedic health benefits of Cypress oil are:

Cypress broucher1. Alleviates respiratory ailments:

As a natural tonic for smooth respiration, Cypress essential oil is effective in curing various respiratory illnesses like whooping cough, spasmodic coughs, cold, flu, sore throat, emphysema, influenza and bronchitis.

The explicit antimicrobial, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and decongestant properties of this oil greatly attribute in toning up the respiratory system by freeing it from infectious microbes and increase the effectiveness of the lungs simultaneously.

A 2012 study on the chemical composition and antibacterial and antioxidant activities of Cypress essential oil states that it fights actively against infectious microbes like Pseudomonas aeruginosa,  Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Halomonas elongate and Salmonella typhimurium and thus it can be readily used as an antimicrobial and antioxidant agent.

2 to 3 drops of Cypress oil added to warm bathing water or in steam inhalation assists in loosening heavy mucus and phlegm deposits in the nasal passages and respiratory tract.

Adding 1 drop of Cypress oil with cold rubs or ointments and massaging it gently on your chest, throat and back followed by steam inhalation helps in treating cough, cold, sore throat and flu by reducing the inflammation and irritation caused due to infection.

2. Enhances the human circulatory system:

Cypress essential oil is an exuberant natural medication that enriches the human circulatory system and helps in its better functioning. It is held high as one of the most commonly used essential oils for the circulatory system.

Cypress essential oil helps in improving circulation by strengthening the blood vessels and capillaries. Good circulation results in the supply of nutrients to the entire body, hormonal balance, a stabilized body temperature and a good immune system.

Few of the complicated diseases like cardiovascular problems and hypertension can be kept away with proper blood circulation.

Massaging your body with 6 drops of Cypress oil blended with 5ml of coconut oil can help in treating a variety of circulation problems like low blood pressure, hemorrhoids, hair loss, varicose veins and hormonal imbalances.

Regular massaging has been proved effective in treating baldness, curing broken capillaries and checking the proper functioning of blood vessels.

3.  Controls inflammation:

Inflammation in the muscles, veins, capillaries and blood vessels causes pain and irregular flow of blood to various organs of the body. Being an anti-inflammatory agent Cypress essential oil effectively reduces the inflammation in various parts of the body.

Adding 2 drops of Cypress oil in warm bathing water or in massaging blend can help in the treatment of varicose veins, hemorrhoids, muscular pain and inflammation of the respiratory system.

4. Helps in tightening the human cells:

Aging symptoms force most of the people to lose their beauty and confidence gradually. Cypress essential oil is a wonderful astringent that helps in strengthening and tightening the human cells, the outcome of which is strong gums and teeth, less hair fall, youthful skin and it also aids in retaining perfect structure.

2 drops of Cypress oil blended with mild skin care cream or 1 ml of virgin olive oil and massaged slowly into the skin in circular motion helps in tightening the sluggish, wrinkled and lifeless skin.

This property also assists in contracting blood vessels to prevent loss of blood and promotes blood clotting. Cypress essential oil is also found to be effective in treating nose bleeds and other severe wounds that result in huge blood loss.

5. Helps in getting rid of excess fluid in the body:

Human body comprises of more than 50% of water and appropriate level of fluid in the body determines active functioning of the system. Excess water content might lead to obesity, sluggishness, swelling, rheumatism and respiratory problems.

Being diuretic in nature, Cypress essential oil helps in eliminating the toxic substances such as acid, urea, salts and excess fluid by increasing the frequency and quantity of urine. Less urination results in accumulation of toxins in the body and might lead to increased cholesterol level, malfunctioning of kidneys and rise in blood pressure.

Cypress essential oil is often recommended to treat problems with kidneys and high blood pressure. It is also a sudorific and helps in excreting the toxins from the body in the form of sweat and perspiration by opening up the sweat glands. It was used in folklore medicine for treating rheumatism, cold, swelling in the legs, diarrhea, acne and few other skin problems.

Gently massaging the foot sole or the affected parts of the body with 2 to 3 drops of Cypress oil mixed with 1 ml of sesame oil or adding 2 drops of Cypress oil in warm bathing water can help in discharging excess water deposits, toxic substances and promote urination and sweating.

6. Heals wounds quickly:

Infectious microbes play a major role in making wounds septic. Cypress essential oil is an excellent antiseptic and antibacterial agent that fights against the disease causing micro-organisms and help in quick healing of wounds. It is for this reason that Cypress oil is often used in making antiseptic ointments, creams, lotions and hair care products. Mix 1 drop of Cypress oil with 10 drops of coconut oil and apply it topically for treating external wounds.

7. Aids womanly problems:

Cypress essential oil plays a prominent role in helping woman to get rid problems associated with menstruation and menopause. Add 2 drops of Cypress oil with 1 ml of sesame oil and massage it on your lower abdomen treating menstrual pain, heavy blood flow, irregular periods, mood swings and anxiety.

With its unique healing properties, this natural massage regulates the blood flow in the pelvic area thus relieving blocked menstruation and regularizing hormonal imbalances. The pacifying aroma of Cypress oil also aids in relaxing the mind and calming the soul.

8. Calms the mind and results in inner peace:

Cypress essential oil acts as a sturdy support that makes you stronger both mentally and physically. It relaxes the nervous system and makes you calm during times of anger, anxiety, abandonment and fear. It makes you feel mentally strong and helps to recover from heavy losses.

For these immortal values, Cypress essential oil remains as a symbol of mourning since ancient times. To sense the touch of absolute peace and sacredness, add 2 drops of Cypress oil to your diffuser, vaporizer or burner during any time of the day.

Other health benefits of Cypress Oil:

Few sources state that Cypress oil has hepatic properties that help in proper functioning of the liver by regulating its production of enzymes. It cleanses the liver and frees it from toxins thus helping in the treatment of jaundice, indigestion and other liver problems.

Cypress oil is well known for its aroma and is used in perfume industry to make perfumes, deodorants, room fresheners, soaps and beauty care products. With its antimicrobial properties, it is also used in making powerful insect repellents.

Disclaimer:

This article is for educational purpose only and is not meant for treatment or for replacing any prescribed medication or professional medical advice. Never use essential oils internally and also dilute essential oils before using it topically as pure and organic essential oils are highly concentrated substances that can cause harm if used directly on the skin. Consult your Ayurvedic practitioner before choosing the right essential oils for your unique health condition and individual constitution.

Thought for the day:

The poetry of the earth is never dead. – John Keats

Suggested Reading:

  1. HEALING POWERS OF CYPRESS OIL (The Aromatherapy Professional: Healing with Essential Oils) by KG Stiles
  2. The Cypress Tree by Kamin Mohammadi
  3. Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: How to Use Essential Oils for Beauty, Health, and Spirituality by Gregory Lee White
  4. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance with Essential Oils by Gabriel Mojay
  5. Aromatherapy for Women: A Practical Guide to Essential Oils for Health and Beauty by Maggie Tisserand

Reference Links:

  1. Cupressus Sempervirens by Wikipedia
  2. Chemical composition of Cupressus sempervirens published in PubMed.
  3. Study on the Chemical Composition, Antibacterial and Antioxidant Activities of Cupressus sempervirens published in the Journal of Agricultural Science.
  4. 120 Uses of the twelve oils of ancient scripture by Sharing Great Health Inc.