LATIN NAME: Juniperus communis
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The berrylike juniper cone, a purple fruit, is produced by female varieties of an evergreen shrub that can grow 6 to 25 feet tall. Juniper is known for giving gin its tart bite. It also acts as a diuretic, since it includes among its components terpinen-4-ol, which increases the rate at which the kidneys filter body fluids. Because of this diuretic action, juniper is used to treat high blood pressure and premenstrual syndrome. Juniper oil is thought to have anti-inflammatory effects, considered useful for treating arthritis and gout. Juniper teas can be taken for digestive problems.
WARNING: Because it can irritate the kidneys and urinary tract, juniper is suitable for short-term use only.
WARNING: Do not use juniper if you have a kidney infection or a history of kidney problems.
- Animal studies indicate that the herb prompts the uterus to contract, suggesting that it may also bring on menstrual periods.
- Pregnant women should not use juniper, because it may stimulate contraction of the uterus.
TARGET AILMENTS: Take internally for:
- Bladder infections, cystitis, edema (water retention), digestive problems.
- Menstrual irregularities and premenstrual syndrome.
- High blood pressure.
Apply externally for:
SIDE EFFECTS/Not serious: Individuals with hay fever may develop allergy symptoms such as nasal congestion when taking juniper. If this happens, stop taking the herb and call your doctor.
Serious: Juniper in high doses can irritate and damage the kidneys and urinary tract. If you develop diarrhea, intestinal pain, kidney pain, blood in the urine, purplish urine, or a faster heartbeat, stop taking juniper immediately and see your doctor as soon as possible.