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Juniper Berries - Juniperus communisJuniper berries are a mild diuretic that stimulate urination without causing loss of electrolytes. Added to food, juniper berries prevent gas and heartburn.
Juniper berries act as a strong urinary tract disinfectant if consumed and were used by American Indians as a herbal remedy for urinary tract infections. Western tribes combined the berries of juniperus communis with Berberis root bark in a herbal tea to treat diabetes. Clinical studies have verified the traditional use of this treatment in insulin-dependent diabetes. Compounds in these plants when combined and ingested have been shown to trigger insulin production in the body's fat cells, as well as stabilize blood sugar levels. Native Americans also used juniper berries as a female contraceptive.
The chief use of Juniper is as an adjuvant to diuretics in dropsy depending on heart, liver or kidney disease. It imparts a violet odour to the urine, and large doses may cause irritation to the passages. An infusion of 1 oz. to 1 pint of boiling water may be taken in the course of twenty-four hours.
Juniper Berry Oil has a sweet, fresh, woody odor that is mentally stimulating. Because of its powerful detoxifying properties, it has a rejuvenating effect on the body. Helps support healthy respiratory and musculoskeletal systems. Mix with a carrier oil and add to a warm bath.
The Juniper is a small shrub, 4 to 6 feet high, widely distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere. It occurs freely on the slopes of the chalk downs near London, and on heathy, siliceous soils where a little lime occurs. It is a common shrub where bands of limestone occur, as on some of the Scotch mountains and on the limestone hills in the Lake district. The berries are used for the production of the volatile oil which is a prime ingredient in Geneva or Hollands Gin, upon which its flavour and diuretic properties depend.
It is a shrub or small tree, very variable and often a low spreading shrub, but occasionally reaching 10 m tall. Common Juniper has needle-like leaves in whorls of three; the leaves are green, with a single white stomatal band on the inner surface. It is dioecious, with male and female cones on separate plants, which are wind pollinated.
Cautions for Juniper BerriesIf you have been using juniper berry teas for several weeks and you urine smells like violets, you have been using the herb too long. Continued overdose can cause renal irritation and blood in the urine. Since juniper berries can stimulate uterine contractions, avoid use during pregnancy.