Juniper- Juniperus Communis

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This Juniper (Juniperus communis) monograph is an excerpt from the 1999, first edition of Dr. Sharol's book "Herbal Medicine From The Heart of The Earth." You can purchase the 2020, third edition of this book with additional herbs, as well as updated and expanded information in Dr. Sharol's Book Store. You receive free shipping in the USA. The expanded 3rd edition materia medica, and additional herbal tidbits are also available as a kindle ebook at Amazon and details on this e-book are here.

Juniper berry - Juniperus communis in the Cupressaceae or Pine family

Parts used: Berries.

Taste/smell: Sweet, pungent, aromatic.

Tendencies: Drying, stimulating.

Dosage: Infusion: 1 teaspoon of crushed berries per cup of water; or 1:4 dry liquid extract: 10-20 drops 1-4 times per day in a little water.

Mental picture and specific indications: Juniper helps bring clarity in confusing situations and is specific for atonic conditions of the gastrointestinal, respiratory and urinary tract.

Use: (a) Stimulating diuretic acting on the glomerulus to increase filtration rate, (b) Carminative, (c) Antiseptic, (d) Stomachic, (e) Hypoglycemic, (f) Renal vasodilator.

It is used in chronic bladder and kidney infections with atony, for edema from renal suppression, renal congestion, amenorrhea or dysmenorrhea from atonic, sluggish conditions, atonic liver conditions, digestive atony, arthritis, gout and sciatica. The ability to relieve the pain of inflammation in arthritis, gout and other diseases may be due to its prostaglandin-inhibiting action. Juniper is used as a flavoring in gin.

Contraindications: It has been thought to be contraindicated in acute or chronic inflammatory conditions of the kidneys due to kidney irritation by hydrocarbon volatile oil components like pinenes and cadinene. However, research with rats using ripe berries showed no damage to the kidneys. It is thought that use of non-ripe berries or other parts of the tree than the berries  might contain  higher levels of pinene, which might cause kidney irritation. Since animal studies show the essential oil prevents implantation of the fetus on days 0-4 of pregnancy in mice, it is contraindicated during pregnancy.  Additionally, juniper is a uterine stimulant due to reflex activity from urinary tract irritation. It should be used in small dosages and if concerned about urinary tract irritation, combine it with a mucilaginous demulcent like marshmallow to help counter the possible urinary tract irritation. Diuretic action is through stimulation of the glomerulus with little excretion of sodium. Therefore it is not beneficial as a diuretic in hypertension.

If you are looking for directions on making teas or tinctures, please see our "Making Herbal Products" page.

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Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.

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