Juniperus communis or Common Juniper.
The juniper is an evergreen tree native to Europe, Asia, and
the northern parts of North America and it is especially abundant in
central Texas and Eastern Oregon. The history and folklore concerning
the juniper tree is long reaching. The first recorded mention of use is
in an Egyptian papyrus from 1500 B.C.E. that tells of its use in
treating tapeworms. Juniper was the symbol of the Canaanites fertility
goddess Ashera. The Romans used it for all types of stomach ailments,
and noted herbalist Nicholas Culpepper wrote that it was used in a
treatment for flatulence. Native Americans of the northeast used it to
relieve infection and ease the pain of arthritis. The Hopi boiled the
berries and parts of the tree and consumed it to treat stomach
disorders. Western European folklore tells that is a juniper tree is
planted by the door to your home, a witch cannot enter. The purple, blue, violet, or blackish-brown
fruits are harvested in early autumn for culinary and medicinal use.
Primarily sugars, but also pinene, limonene, tannins, and antioxidant flavonoids.
The berries, whole, ground, or rubbed through a sieve. To
prevent loss of essential oil, juniper berries should not be ground,
crushed, or rubbed until just before use. The herb is frequently
combined with birch leaf, horsetail, parsley "seed," or restharrow in
herbal diuretic teas.
May be taken as a tea, extract or capsule, and may be liberally sprinkled on food or added to drinks and smoothies.
Today, the best known use of juniper berries is the main
flavoring agent in Gin. Juniper berries are a mild diuretic that
stimulate urination without causing loss of electrolytes. Added to food,
juniper berries prevent gas and heartburn. Historically, they have been
used to treat bladder and kidney infections.
If you have been using juniper berry tea for several weeks and
you urine smells like violets, you have been using the herb too long.
Continued overdose can cause renal irritation and blood in the urine, so
only use in moderation. Since juniper berries can stimulate uterine
contractions, avoid use during pregnancy. They should not be used by
anyone who has inflammation of the kidneys.
This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is
not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.