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Juniper berry quick review
Botanical description: an evergreen tree, belongs to the pine family (Cupressaceae). The Juniper is a small coniferous shrub that grows up to 10 feet in height.
Active constituents: volatile oil, calcium, cadinene, carbohydrates, chromium, cobalt, copper, wlemene, fats, fiber, flavonoid glycosides, iron, limonene, magnesium, myrcene, phosphorus, pinene, potassium, protein, resin, sesquiterpenes, tannins, terpene alcohols, 4-terpineol, thujone, tin, vitamin C.
Health benefits : warms to the digestive system and increases the production of stomach acid, stimulates the appetite, settles the stomach, and relieves gas; used externally as a compress to treat acne, athlete's foot, and dandruff.

Dosage: 1,000 mg to 2,000 mg daily, divided in two or three doses.
Side effects : diarrhea, purplish urine, blood in the urine, kidney pain, intestinal pain, elevated blood pressure, and a quickened heartbeat.
 

Juniper berry


Juniper is an evergreen tree, grows mainly in the plains regions of Europe as well as in other parts of the world. Juniper belongs to
the pine family (Cupressaceae).The Juniper plant with the botanical name of Juniperus communis. It is also known as Baccae juniperi, Juniperus communis, Juniperi fructus, juniper berry, common juniper, ginepro, genievre, zimbro, enebro. The Juniper is a small, evergreen coniferous shrub or small tree that can grow up to 10 feet in height. Common Juniper has needle-like leaves in whorls of three; the leaves are green, with a single white stomatal band on the inner surface. The bark is reddish-brown and the leaves are light green on one side, dark green on the other three sides, and needle-like. It is dioecious, with separate male and female plants. The seed cones are berry-like, green ripening in 18 months to purple-black with a blue waxy coating; they are spherical, 4-12 mm diameter, and usually have three (occasionally six) fused scales, each scale with a single seed. The seeds are dispersed when birds eat the cones, digesting the fleshy scales and passing the hard seeds in their droppings. The male cones are yellow, 2-3 mm long, and fall soon after shedding their pollen in March-April. The berries, grown on the female plant, are green, then as they ripen in 2-3 years, turn a bluish-black color. The medicinal portions of the plant are referred to as berries, but they are actually dark blue-black scales from the cones of the tree. Unlike other pine cones, the juniper cones are fleshy and soft. Juniper contains bitter substances, at least partly accounting for its traditional use in digestive upset and related problems.
 

Active constituents of juniper berry


The active constituents of juniper berry include volatile oil, calcium, cadinene, carbohydrates, chromium, cobalt, copper, wlemene, essential oil (alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, myrcene, sabinene, thujone, limonene), fats, fiber, flavonoid glycosides, iron, limonene, magnesium, myrcene, phosphorus, pinene, alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, potassium, protein, resin, sesquiterpenes (caryophyllene, cadinene, elemene), tannins, terpene alcohols, 4-terpineol, thujone, tin, vitamin C, and wax. Juniper contains volatile oils, also called essential oils, which possess a characteristic turpentine-like smell and give the plant a bitter taste. This oil contains terpenes, flavonoid glycosides, tannins, sugar, tar, and resin. Terpinen-4-ol stimulates the kidneys, increasing their filtration rate. The flavonoid amentoflavone exhibits antiviral properties.
 

Medicinal uses and health benefits of juniper berry


Juniper has been used in traditional herbal medicine to treat juniper berries, including gout, warts and skin growths, cancer, upset
stomach, and various urinary tract and kidney diseases. Juniper has been used to clear uric acid from the body. It is high in natural insulin, and has the ability to heal the pancreas where there has been no permanent damage. The antiseptic volatile oil is excreted in the urine which disinfects the urinary tract as it passes through. This action is enhanced by a diuretic effect which dilutes the urine. It is useful for all urinary infections and for water retention problems. Juniper is used externally as a compress to treat acne, athlete's foot, and dandruff. The antiseptic action of Juniper on the urinary tract is used in herbal medicine to help treat cases of cystitis and urethritis. Juniper has properties that help to reduce flatulence or wind and colic and assist digestion. Juniper berry is used for indigestion and digestive disorders such as belching, heartburn, and bloating, as well as menstrual problems and diabetes. Juniper warms to the digestive system and increases the production of stomach acid, stimulates the appetite, settles the stomach, and relieves gas. Juniper may relieve gastrointestinal complaints that are related to low stomach acid levels by promoting the secretion of stomach acid. Infusions of juniper berries have been used as antibiotics when treating various sores or wounds, including eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions. Juniper's anti-inflammatory properties help to relieve the inflammation, stiffness, and pain that are present in conditions like arthritis, rheumatism, and gout. The diuretic action of Juniper helps to reduce this fluid retention around the joints. Diluted essential oil is used on the skin to help promote the removal of waste products from underlying tissues. Cade oil hair rinse is effective on psoriasis of the scalp, and is made by adding a few drops of oil to hot water and leaving on the hair for fifteen minutes before rinsing off.
 

Dosage and administration of juniper berry


The usual dosage is of dried juniper berries is 1,000 mg to 2,000 mg daily, divided in two or three doses. Limit use to no more than 6 weeks. Teas are often taken to relieve digestive problems. Juniper tea may be made by soaking one teaspoonful of dried juniper berries in about 6 ounces of boiling water. The mixture is covered and steeped for 10-20 minutes. Then strain out the solid parts before drinking. One cup can be drunk two times daily. Juniper oil can be used in a hot vapor bath, and inhaled in the steam for respiratory infections.
 

Side effects, precautions, interactions


Excessive applications (greater than the amounts listed above) may cause kidney irritation. Side effects of juniper overdose include diarrhea, purplish urine, blood in the urine, kidney pain, intestinal pain, elevated blood pressure, and a quickened heartbeat. Juniper preparations have diuretic properties and may increase the side effects caused by diuretic drugs. Juniper may interfere with the absorption of iron and other minerals when taken internally.

Juniper should not be applied to open wounds. Topical juniper oil may result in irritation and swelling at the sites where it is applied. Pregnant women and women attempting to become pregnant should not use juniper because it may cause uterine spasms and it may decrease fertility.