Juniper (Du Song Zi)
Botanical Name: Juniperus communis, Juniperous chinensis
A strong aromatic herb, juniper is considered to ward off witches and has been used for centuries as a Kidney stimulant to help flush out impurities and cystitis. They herb is used to make gin, improve the flavor of meats and as a fragrance in soaps and lotions.
Below is an overview of Juniper, combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Juniper.
Western Name: Juniper
Also Known As: Common Juniper, Genevrier, Bai de Genevrier, Huile de Genevrier, Jenever
Organs/Systems: Stomach, Wounds
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Berries in decoction are Diaphoretic and Emmenagogue. The Leaves have Diuretic properties. Antibacterial, Aphrodisiac, Astringent, Depurative, Rubefacient, Sedative, Stomachic, Vulenary, Antispasmodic, Aromatic.
Pin Yin: Du Song Zi
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Heart, Spleen, Lung
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Promotes Digestion. Warms the Middle. Expels Phelgm/Warms Lungs. Cleanses the Kidney and Liver.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Berry, Leaves
Flavors/Temps: Bitter, Pungent
Caution: Caution if pregant or suffering from kidney problems.
History/Folklore: The berry is used as a condiment in food and as a flavoring for gin and bitter preparations. The ripe berries are used to cook with and the green fully grown, but still unripe berries, are used to make gin. The word “gin” derives from either the French “genievre” or the Dutch “jenever” which both mean “juniper.” There is a popular European drink made of an aqueous extract of the berry called “Roob,” or “Rob of Juniper.”
The Scandinavians like to use juniper berries in their cooking to impart a “ sharp, clear flavor” to meats and wild bird dishes. The leaves can also be used by rubbing them into meats to impart flavor.
Juniper is used as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics. The essential oil is calming and stress relieving without sedating.
Juniper berries take two to three years to ripen, so that blue ripe berries and green unripe berries occur on the same plant.
The oil is most abundant just before the perfect ripeness and darkening of the fruit when it changes to resin.
Native American Indians are reported to have used juniper berries to suppress appetite in times of hunger and some tribes are said to have used it as a female contraceptive. Native Americans also used the seed on the inside of the juniper berries as beads for jewellery and decoration.
The berries have been found inside Egyptian tombs and are believed to have been imported from Greece who used it as a medicine long before using the berries in food.
The Greeks used the berries in their Olympic games to increase stamina. The Romans used the berries as a cheap substitute for black pepper. Pliny the Elder mentions black pepper also being adulterating with juniper berries.
The branches and berries are used for ritual cleansing, purifying and protection. The smoke is considered to cleanse negative energies. In the Middle Ages Juniper bushes were planted at door entrances as a protection against witches.
Small Juvenal trees are used in the ancient art of bonsai training.
Volatile Oil (including Pinene, Mycrene, Sabinene, Limonene, Terpinene, Camphene and Thujone), Resin, Sugar, Gum, Lignin, Wax and Salines.
Juniper Berry Oil
Do not confuse juniper berry oil with cade oil which is distilled form Juniper wood (Juniperus oxycedrus).
In Sweden, a beer is made from juniper extract that is regarded as a healthy drink.
Relieve Muscle Pain
Juniper berry oil is often added to massage oils to help relieve muscle pain tension.
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