Herb Reference Guide

Juniper

History

The common juniper produces a cone shaped fruit (berry) that is bluish black ripening in the second or third season. It is a member of the Cypress Family. The fruits have been distilled for their oils and used historically to flavor Gin. It is used as a ground cover in landscaping and is easily adaptable to clay and poorly drained soils. Once you get to know this plant you will recognize it (the genus) everywhere as it has a wider distribution than perhaps any other tree or shrub. It is common in North and Central Europe and is found in the mountainous regions bordering the Mediterranean. It is also found in Asia, the Caucasus, Iran Afghanistan, the Western Himalaya, The United States and Canada. It grows as many different cultivars ranging from a low growing to ground cover form to a dense upright form.

Function

Its primary function of medicinal use in almost all cultures has been as a diuretic and for the various end results the use of diuretic affords. Native American tribes used the berries as a food especially to suppress the appetite in times of low food supply or famine. Berries of various species have been found in Egyptian tombs. It has really functioned more as a food flavoring in various cuisines especially to flavor wild game and impart a sharp, clean, crisp flavor.

Uses of Juniper

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Essential oils such as Pinenes, beta-myrcene, terpinenes, terpines, beta cadinenes, flavonoids, and various diterpenes.

Parts Used

  • Fruit

Important precautions

Not for use during pregnancy or if you have kidney disease. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.

Additional Resources

Mitchell, William A. ND, Applications of Botanical Remedies in Naturopathic Medicine, self published, Seattle, WA, 2000.