Botanical Name: Juniperus communis | Family: Cupressaceae
Common name(s): Juniper
- Evergreen tree or shrub | Zones 2-9 | Gardens, yards, fields
- Full sun
Harvest the ripe berries (they ripen the second year and will be dark purple). If drying, dry in the shade to preserve the oils.
PREPARATION / DOSAGE
Infusion: Steep, covered, 1 teaspoon of the berries in a cup or boiling water for 20 minutes. Drink 1 cup, 2-3x/day.
Tincture: 10-30 drops 3x/day.
External: Apply as a diluted essential oil (made by steam distillation)
Note: You can also chew on the berries, but not too many (6-10/day).
Constituents: Volatile (essential) oil, various sugars, resin, vitamin C
Actions: Antiseptic, carminative, diuretic antirheumatic, emmenagogue
Uses: Cystitis, edema, digestive issues, chronic arthritis/rheumatic conditions, stimulates menstruation and increases menstrual flow
Cautions: Should not be used in the case of Kidney disease, infection, or pregnancy because of it’s powerful action on the kidneys.
- Spicy, sweet, warm
- The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra
- Indian Herbology of North America, Alma R. Hutchens
- Holistic Herbal, David Hoffman
- Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Andrew Chevallier
- The Complete Medicinal Herbal, Penelope Ody
- Backyard Foraging, Ellen Zachos
- photo credit: Waxy blue berries via photopin (license)
Eastern Red Cedar’s (J. virginiana) berries are also medicinal – I remember these berries on our cedar tree when I was a kid. And, yes, juniper berries (unripe) are used to make gin.