What is Juniper?

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.

What is Juniper Used For?

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 and Benefits of Juniper


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 of Juniper

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.

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Ecologically Harvested is a term that describes all herbs sold by Gaia Herbs that are not Certified Organic. Ecologically Harvested herbs include herbs that are harvested in their natural habitat, (i.e., wild harvested) according to specific guidelines for harvesting these herbs (i.e., away from roads and industry, as well as guidelines to avoid overharvesting). Our term, Ecologically Harvested, also includes herbs that are grown in managed woodland areas, fields designated for specific herbs, and herbs that are grown by indigenous growers, such as Kava Kava. All Ecologically Harvested herbs pass pesticide and heavy metal testing as well as microbial testing, prior to release.