Juniper wood as a possible implant material

J Biomed Mater Res A. 2003 Mar 15;64(4):672-83. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.10437.


Natural materials, such as wood and bone, possess structures fulfilling the requirements of support and transport of nutrients. Similarity in function and properties provides inspiration for investigating the possible use of wood as an implant material. Juniperus communis wood is dense, durable, and strong and has naturally impregnated essential oils that display antiseptic properties. This study investigated the toxicity of the oil, the effect of sterilization on the mechanical properties of the wood, and bone attachment with animal studies. The possible toxicity of the oil was determined orally and by intravenous injection. At low concentrations, the dose that would be released by the wood in the body could be tolerated without any detrimental effects. Sterilization of the wood in boiling water lowered the elastic modulus and modulus of rupture to a level at which the elastic modulus could be better matched to bone. Wood shaped into the form of femoral implants were implanted into rabbits and displayed good acceptance by the body up to a period of 3 years, indicating bone apposition, abutment into pores, and growth into drilled cavities.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials*
  • Bone Substitutes
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Femur / anatomy & histology
  • Juniperus* / chemistry
  • Juniperus* / cytology
  • Materials Testing
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage
  • Plant Oils / toxicity*
  • Prostheses and Implants*
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Tensile Strength
  • Wood*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Bone Substitutes
  • Plant Oils