Juniper - Very Beneficial Herb for Digestion


Juniperus communis Cupressaceae

This eveIgreen shrub is found throughout Europe and its blueblack berries have long been used for medicinal purposes. They were believed to protect against the plague and cure snake bites. Juniper grows slowly but can reach a height if 15m. Whorls of evergreen leaves, like short, sharp needles, cover its erect stems. In April and May yellow or blue .flowers appear on the male or female plants respectively.

Parts used

  • Fruit
  • Harvesting of juniper berries should not take place before the autumn of the third year of growth.
  • The whole of the berry is used: crushed for infusions and decoctions or ground to a powder for capsules.
  • Juniper is also available in the form of tinctures and an essential oil.
  • Juniper berries are often combined with other diuretic plants such as spiny restharrow and goldenrod.


For internal use

TO TREAT urinary problems DECOCTION Put 10g of berllies into 750ml of boiling water. Leave to boil for 20 minutes, then filter. Drink 2-3 cups a day.

TO TREAT digestive problems INFUSION Put 0.5-2g of crushed berries into a cup of boiling water. Cover and infuse for 10 minutes, then strain. Drink 15 minutes before meals. TINCTURE Put 10-20 drops of tincture (1:5 in 45% alcohol) into a small glass of sweetened water. Take three times a day.

For external use

TO TREAT muscle pains, rheumatism, neuralgia, tendinitis
INFUSION (as above) Put 100-200ml into the bath water. ESSENTIAL OIL Dilute, allowing 3 drops to 10ml of carrier oil. Massage affected area two or three times a day.



About 0.5 to 2 per cent of the berry is made up of an essential oil that is rich in monoterpenes. It also contains some bitter elements, which promote digestion. Flavonoids and tannins are also present.

Medicinal uses

Juniper berries are used to stimulate the appetite and to treat flatulence and other digestive disorders. The berries are also antiseptic and diuretic and are therefore used to treat minor urinary problems. In 1987 Italian research showed that juniper is anti-inflammatory.

The essential oil is used to treat neuralgia and rheumatism, while an infusion added to bath water has a gentle, relaxing effect which relieves tendonitis and muscle pains.
Juniper has also been shown to be active against viruses and research in 1994 suggested its potential for treating diabetes.


Juniper will grow in most soil types. Plant in sun or light shade from ripe seeds or cuttings taken in autumn.


  • Juniper must not be taken if you suffer from kidney disorders.
  • Prolonged use (more than six consecutive weeks), or an overdose can impair urination and lead to albumin or blood in the urine, kidney pains or cardiovascular complications.
  • Sensitive individuals may experience an allergic skin reaction to juniper.
  • Juniper must not be taken by pregnant or breastfeeding women.


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