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Juniper Berry



The herbal uses of the juniper berry dates back to early times. The first recorded mention of use is in an Egyptian papyrus from 1500 B.C.E. that tells of its use in treating tapeworms. Throughout history, Juniperus communis has been used by numerous different cultures to treat conditions such as Warts, Gout, Skin growths, upset Stomach, and various Urinary tract and Kidney diseases. It's been noted that Greek and Arabian physicians used juniper to treat many ailments as well as the Romans, who used it for all types of Stomach disorders. Native Americans of the northeast used the berries as a food and medicinal herb used to relieve Infection and ease the Pain of Arthritis. The Hopi boiled the berries and parts of the tree and consumed it to treat Stomach disorders. Historically, juniper berries have been used to treat Bladder and Kidney Infections and were used in tea as a Disinfectant for surgeon's tools.

The antiSeptic properties of juniper berry helps aid in the removal of waste and Acidic Toxins from the body, and stimulate a fighting action against Bacterial and yeast Infections. Considered by some to be a useful Diuretic, juniper has been used to remove excess water retention, which can help with water weight loss, as well as improving Digestion and easing gas and Stomach cramping without causing loss of electrolytes.

Additionally, the berries are believed by some herbalists to be beneficial for reducing Congestion and relieving Asthma and Colds.

Juniper is normally taken internally by eating the berries or making a tea from them. It is useful for Digestive problems resulting from an underproduction of hydrochloric Acid, and is also helpful for Gastrointestinal Infections, Inflammations, Gout, palsy, epilepsy, Typhoid Fever, Cholera, cystitis, urethritis, Rheumatism, weak Immune system, Sciatica, to stimulate Appetite, helps eliminate excess water, and Cramps.

Relieves Inflammation and Sinusitis. Helps in treatment of Pancreas, Prostate, Kidney, and gallStones, leukorrhea, dropsy, Lumbago, hypoglycemia, Hemorrhoids, scurvy, kills worms, treats snakeBites, Cancer, and Ulcers. Regulates sugar levels. The lye made of the ashes will cure the itch, scabs, and Leprosy. Used as a Diuretic.

Juniper berries (Fructus juniperi) are most effective when used in combination with other herbs such as broom, uva ursi, cleavers, and buchu. Dried berries are excellent as a preventative of disease and should be chewed or used as a strong tea to Gargle the Throat when exposed to contagious diseases.

When juniper oil is used in a hot vapor bath, it is useful to inhale the steam for Respiratory Infections, Colds, Asthma, Bronchitis, etc. The pure oil should not be rubbed on the Skin as it can be very irritating and cause blisters.

Breathed in a vapor bath, it is useful for Bronchitis, consumption, and Infection in the Lungs.

SIDE EFFECTS AND CAUTIONS: Caution should be exercised with using juniper berries, because a number of species of juniper bear berries that are not fit for culinary purpose. For instance, extensively grown decorative evergreen yew trees and shrubs, also belonging to genus Taxus, may often be mistaken for juniper and berries produced by these trees and shrubs enclose seeds that may prove to be fatally toxic. Although the juniper plants are very widespread, you should avoid consuming juniper berries if you are unable to identify the plants.

In addition, be careful never to use the oil extracted from juniper berries to add flavor to food items since the oil obtained from a number of species of juniper is exceptionally poisonous. At the same time, it is not advisable to undertake self-medication with juniper as it may result in adverse side effects. Practicing self-medication with juniper may be dangerous, keep away from it. Nevertheless, herbal medicine practitioners have used juniper as a Diuretic to promote urination. In addition the herb has also been used to treat pre-Menstrual syndrome. However, using juniper for this purpose is never advisable as this may result in the Inflammation of the Kidneys and Bladder.

As the juniper berries possess Diuretic properties, people enduring Kidney ailments should not consume them. Even people who are suffering from Diabetes should be cautious while consuming juniper berries as they have the potential to raise the glucose level in the bloodstream. Pregnant women should avoid juniper berries as they may result in contraction of the Uterine and in some exceptional cases may even lead to forced abortion.

A number of people may develop contact Dermatitis (Inflammation of the Skin caused by an allergic reaction to contact with vegetables, animals or chemical substances) while touching or holding the juniper berries. Thus, it is advisable to wear gloves while harvesting the juniper berries. This is also essential as the leaves of the juniper plants are somewhat itchy.