Juniper Berry

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Juniperus communis (Juniper berries)

Juniperus communis grow as evergreen shrubs producing round, dark purple berries known as juniper berries and small sharp leaves. Preferring to grow in dry open wood areas, juniper is native to growing in Europe. The berries are harvested in autumn for medicinal use.1 
In ancient times, the plant was thought to ward of the plague when burned. The sprig of the plant was specifically thought to protect one from evil spirits.2 Traditionally, the berries were used to preserve and flavor meat, and in liqueurs such as gin.
Due its antiseptic and diuretic properties, juniper is clinically used for urinary tract conditions, such as in dysuria, cystitis, urethritis and fluid retention.4 It is also known to ease digestive conditions such as colic and in various stomach ailments.
Additionally, juniper can be used to stimulate menstruation and increase menstrual flow.2 When applied externally, juniper is known to relieve chronic muscular rheumatic pain, gout and neuralgia, due to it’s anti-inflammatory action.5 In addition, through external applications, it can aid in slowing the progression of alopecia, as well as help with skin disorders.3
1. Godfrey, Anthony and Saunders Paul R. Principles and Practice of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine: Volume I: Botanical Medicine Monographs. CCNM Press Inc, 2010. Print.
2. Chevallier, Andrew. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. DK Publishing, 1996. Print.
3. Stuart M. The Encyclopedia of Herbs & Herbalism. Classic Bookshops, 1979. Print.
4. Bone, Kerry. The Ultimate Herbal Compendium: A Desktop Guide for Herbal Prescribers. Phytotherapy Press, 2007. Print. 
5. Weiss, RF. Herbal Medicine. England: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1998. Print.


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