Juniper – Juniperis communis
- Created: 31 July 2014
Other Names: Mountain Yew, Melmot Berry, Horse Saver
Planetary Ruler – Mars/sun
Correspondences: Element – fire, Gender – male, Sign – Aries
Juniper was used by the ancient Egyptians as part of the embalming process and for various medicinal remedies.
It was also used in ancient times as an incense to drive away evil spirits and to deter disease; it was burned to ward off the plague. In French hospitals it was burnt with rosemary to purify the air. The oil was also used topically for the treatment of fever and smallpox.
The ripe fruit (berries) is gathered in autumn.
The juniper bush is very widely distributed in the northern hemisphere, being found from North America to south west Asia, and from Siberia to the Mediterranean. It grows from southern coastal sites to more northerly moorland and mountainous regions.
It is a small coniferous tree or shrub which grows best on poor soil reaching a height of up to 15m high. It has slender twigs with needle like leaves, yellow male, and blue female flowers on separate plants. The bark is reddish brown in colour, with spherical blue-black fruit.
Valuable remedy for cystitis, and helps relieve fluid retention, but should be avoided in cases of kidney disease.
In the digestive system, juniper is warming and settling, easing colic and supporting the function of the stomach.
Taken internally or applied externally, juniper is helpful in the treatment of chronic arthritis, gout and rheumatic conditions.
Applied externally as a diluted essential oil, it has a slightly warming effect on the skin and is thought to promote the removal of waste products from underlying tissues.
The berries are a purgative for the digestive system
Powerful antiseptic in the urinary tract
Juniper also stimulates menstruation and tends to increase menstrual bleeding.
Juniper should not be used during pregnancy
Large amounts can cause kidney damage