Juniper Berries

Juniperus communis, Cupressaceae. The dried ripe berries are the part of the plant used.

The ripe, unshrivelled berries should be picked in the autumn and dried slowly in the shade, to avoid losing the oil that is present.

Functions of juniper berries

Juniper berries make an excellent antiseptic in conditions such as cystitis. The oils that are contained in the berries stimulate the kidney nephrons and should be avoided in cases of kidney disease. Juniper berries:

  • have a bitter action which stimulates digestion and eases flatulence and colic.
  • can be used with menstrual cramps and scant or irregular periods.
  • is used in rheumatism, gout and arthritis.
  • used externally will ease the pain in the joints or muscles.
  • can be used for eczema, psoriasis and other skin problems.

Notes on juniper berries

  • Due to the actions on the kidneys, juniper berries should be avoided in any cases of kidney disease.
  • It should be avoided in pregnancy.
  • The very young and the very elderly would be considered 'at risk' users and therefore it is not recommended for them.

Dosages

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1 teaspoonful of the lightly crushed berries and leave to infuse for 20 minutes. A cup should be drunk morning and night.

For the treatment of chronic rheumatism this treatment should be continued for 4-6 weeks in the spring and autumn.

References

Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

Hoffmann, F. and Manning M. 2002, Herbal Medicine and Botanical Medical Fads. The Haworth Press.

McIntyre, A. 1995, The Complete Women's Herbal. Henry Holt Reference Books.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.

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