Botanical: Juniperus communis
Family: Cupressaceae (cypress) - Coniferae (conifer)
Other common names: Common Juniper, Ginepro, Enebro, Ground Juniper, Hackmatack, Horse Savin
Excess water weight? Juniper Berry promotes urine flow and helps to clear the kidneys, bladder and prostate of toxic wastes, while at the same time helping to combat urinary tract infections in both men and women. Well-known in the kitchen and as a flavoring for gin, Juniper Berry's warm, aromatic qualities aid digestion and also help to relieve gout, arthritis and painful joints.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
The common Juniper is a bitter, aromatic, prickly bush or tree that thrives in most soils, tolerating both acid and alkaline soils and dry and wet conditions, in sun or partial shade and often in exposed positions. Juniper encompasses many species and is usually a low-growing, ornamental shrub that rises to a height of six or eight feet, but it may also grow as a tree to a height of thirty feet. It is a slow-growing, coniferous evergreen with silvery green, spiny needles, flowers and berries, which take up to three years to ripen. Both male and female plants are necessary for berry production, and Juniper is cultivated for the slightly resinous, sweet-flavored berries that are borne only on the female bush. Junipers are widely distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and the berries are used for medicinal and commercial purposes. It is said that the flavor of the berries is stronger the farther south the plant is grown, and Juniper is a rare and endangered species in some states of the United States. The use of Juniper goes back many centuries. In the Middle Ages, the scent of Juniper was believed to ward off plague, contagious diseases and leprosy. For hundreds of years, Juniper Berry has been (and still is) an herbal remedy for urinary tract infections and other problems, including urine retention and gallstones, and it is an old folk remedy for gout. In the 1500s, a Dutch pharmacist used Juniper Berries to create a new, inexpensive diuretic drink that he called gin, which was not only used for medicinal purposes, but its delightful juniper-flavor (and other obvious enjoyments) became a very popular beverage. In North America, the Native Americans believed that Juniper would cleanse and heal the body and keep away infection, and different tribes used it to treat a wide range of illnesses from kidney complaints to stomachaches, colds and syphilis. The Navajos used it for flu, and because it was an excellent survival food, many of the tribes used it to fight off starvation by drying and grinding the berries into cakes. Roasted Juniper Berries have been ground and used as a substitute for coffee, and the berries are frequently used as a spice for pickles, sauerkraut, game, pork and in patés. Needless to say, it is highly valued commercially as the flavoring for gin. The word gin is a shortened form of the Dutch, genever, which was originally derived from the Latin, juniperus.Some of the constituents in Juniper include the volatile oils, camphene, cineole, myrcene, alpha- and beta-pinene and terpinene (the active ingredients), as well as resin, sugar, gum, lignin, wax, salines, beta-carotene, betulin, borneol, catechin, glycolic acid, limonene, linalool, menthol, rutin, tannins, calcium, chromium, iron (and many other valuable minerals),
B-vitamins and vitamin C.
Juniper Berry is an effective diuretic and antiseptic that not only promotes the flow of urine, but also treats infection of the urinary tract at the same time. As a diuretic, the herb stimulates the kidneys and bladder to get rid of retained and excess water (possibly also helping in cases of obesity). Juniper increases the filtering of waste products by the kidneys and helps to expel prostate sediment and gallstones. It is also thought to dissolve kidney stones. The herb helps to prevent the crystallization of uric acid in the kidneys, retaining it in a solution and passing it in the urine; this is of great benefit to those suffering from gout (a condition marked by painful inflammation of the joints caused by uric acid deposits).
As an herbal antiseptic and further aiding urinary and prostate health, Juniper Berry is helpful in combating bacteria, including urinary and bladder infections, such as cystitis, urethritis, prostatitis, vaginitis and inflamed kidneys, etc.
Juniper Berry is an old herbal therapy for the digestive tract. The active volatile oil content helps to eliminate gas and expel intestinal flatulence and assists in the digestion of gassy foods like cabbage, etc. The herb has been used to ease stomach cramps, colic and indigestion; and in small doses, it stimulates the appetite.
The anti-inflammatory properties of Juniper Berry are thought to ease the pain of rheumatism, arthritis, sore muscles and gout.
Juniper Berry has traditionally shown excellent results in the treatment of lung disorders as an effective expectorant and decongestant. It is highly recommended in catarrhal conditions and has helped to ease breathing and treat bronchial asthma, emphysema, sinusitis, head colds, flu and general congestion.
Juniper Berry is considered a purifier of the blood and overall system cleanser, and by removing acid and toxic wastes from the body, the herb helps to reduce overall susceptibility to disease. As an excellent antiseptic, it helps to control general infection and disease.
In preliminary lab studies, Juniper has demonstrated antiviral activity against virus A-2 and Herpes simplex virus I and II.
Pregnant women should not use Juniper Berry Herbal Supplement, because it stimulates the uterus and may cause abortion. The USFDA does not recommend this herb as safe, and prolonged use (more than a month) is not recommended, as it may cause kidney damage. If kidney disease is suspected, Juniper berries may over-stimulate the kidneys and adrenals and should be avoided. Those with kidney disease or acute kidney infection should avoid this herb. Juniper should not be used in cases of heavy menstrual flow, and the herb may interfere with the absorption of iron and other minerals. Some people may have allergic responses to Junipers.