Juniper (_ juniperus communis_ ) is also known as juniper berry, baccae juniperi, genievre, wacholderbeeren and zimbro.
The small shrub grows wild in Europe and produces berries rich in a volatile oil. This oil gives the plant a characteristic odour and is most abundant just before the perfect ripeness and darkening of the fruit. Other beneficial ingredients include resin, sugar, gum, water, lignin, wax and salines.
Health benefits Juniper helps treat: Rheumatic pains in joints and muscles. Fluid retention. Urinary infections such as cystitis and urethritis. Flatulence or wind Colic Rheumatoid arthritis. Swelling and inflammation of the joints is a symptom commonly associated with rheumatoid arthritis. The diuretic action of juniper helps to reduce this fluid retention around the joints and scientific testing has indicated that juniper has effective anti inflammatory properties. Juniper may also help shift accumulated acidic wastes from around arthritic joints Poor digestion.
How to use it Infusion: pour 1 cup of boiling water onto 1 tsp of lightly crushed juniper berries and leave to infuse for 20 minutes. Drink 3 times a day.Cautions Combining herbs with certain drugs may alter their action or produce unwanted side effects. Tell your healthcare practitioner about any prescription or non-prescription drugs you're taking. Pregnant women and women attempting to become pregnant should not use juniper, as it may cause uterine spasms and may decrease fertility. Juniper should not be used during pregnancy as it may cause abortion. Women who are breastfeeding should avoid juniper. Juniper may reduce blood glucose levels, so should be used cautiously by people taking hypoglycaemic medications (ie. drugs that lower blood glucose levels) such as insulin. Juniper contains vitamin K, which can promote blood clotting and reduce the effectiveness of anti-coagulant drugs such as warfarin. Juniper preparations have diuretic properties (ie. increase urine output) and may increase the side effects caused by diuretic drugs, particularly the potassium losses caused by thiazide diuretics (eg. amiloride and chlorothiazide). People with diabetes should consult their healthcare professional before taking juniper. People with kidney disease should not take juniper. Juniper should not be applied to open wounds. Possible side effects include blisters, diarrhoea and skin reactions. Large doses may cause convulsions and kidney damage.