Juniper Berries are beneficial in treating infections, especially within the urinary tract, bladder, kidneys, and prostate. Their antiseptic properties help remove waste and acidic toxins from the body, stimulating a fighting action against bacterial and yeast infections. Juniper Berries also help increase the flow of digestive fluids, improving digestion and eliminating gas and stomach cramping. As a diuretic, Juniper Berries eliminate excess water retention contributing to weight loss.
Juniper Berries' anti-inflammatory properties are ideal for relieving pain and inflammation related to rheumatism and arthritis. In addition, Juniper Berries are beneficial in reducing congestion, as well as treating asthma and colds. Juniper Berries make an excellent antiseptic in conditions such as cystitis. But the essential oil present in this herb is quite stimulating to the kidney nephrons, and so Juniper should be avoided by those suffering from kidney disease.
Juniper Berry is also known by the names Juniper Bush and Juniper Bark. The Juniper is a small shrub, 4 to 6 feet high, widely distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Juniper Berries take two or three years to ripen, and as a result both blue and green berries occur on the same plant at the same time. Only the blue, ripe berries are picked. Herbal uses of Juniper Berry dates back to early Greek and Arabian physicians. During the Bubonic Plague, cautious people kept a few berries in their mouths to produce an antiseptic aura and prevent infection. Juniper tea was once used to disinfect surgeon's tools.
Juniper Berries were also used as a food and a medicine by the Indians of the American plains. Historically, many conditions have been treated with Juniper Berries by several cultures, including gout, warts and skin growths, cancer, upset stomach, and various urinary tract and kidney diseases. In addition to their use in herbology, the berries have been used as a flavoring agent in gin and luncheon meats. The primary chemical constituents of this herb include essential oil (camphene, cineole, myrcene, pinene, terpinene), sesquiterpenes (cadinene, elemene), flavonoids, glycosides, tannins, podophyllotoxin, and vitamin C.