Herb Spotlight: Juniper

I moved to Arizona almost a year ago, and something I’ve fallen in love with is the Juniper tree. It has a devastating beauty as it overtakes the landscape. Also, if I partake in a cocktail it only includes gin which is created from the juniper berry. I’ve never become acquainted with it’s healing properties and figured it would be a nice homage to my new home state to spotlight Juniper today.

Generally you use the juniper berry for liquid extracts taken orally. But there are other ways to utilize the plant as well.

Breakdown of Juniper 

Scientific Name: Juniperus communis [aka: gin berry, geneva]

Parts Used: Berry, Resin, Bark & Essential Oil

Magickal Stats: Fire element, ruled by the Sun

Improves Function of: 

  • kidney
  • bladder

Aides in Relieving Symptoms of:

  • menstrual problems not related to inflammation
  • chronic arthritis
  • gout
  • poor appetite
  • GI infections
  • upset stomach

Assists Spiritually With: 

  • Increase vitality
  • Driving out spirits

How Does it Work

Juniper berries are commonly used to make the alcoholic beverage gin and contain the terpinene-4-ol which stimulates the filtration rate of the kidney. With this terpene stimulation there is a frequency of urination and diuretic properties.

Native Americans used the berry to extract decoctions to treat fever and even as a birth control.

What Do I Do With It?

Berries: Pour 2/3 of a cup of boiling water over 2/3 of a teaspoon of dried berries, steeping for ten minutes, and then straining. This decoction is recommended first in small doses because if you were to have a kidney infection the stimulation in your kidney would be really bad for your immune system. If ingesting the effects go best with diuretics like marshmallow, plantain and hydrangea. Berries can even be dried and hung to dye clothes and hair.

Extract can be applied topically to help with arthritic joints, sprains and strained muscles.

Bark: Bark is oft used for furniture and even pencils.

Resin: Resin is hard to come by, but if you gather the leaves and make it yourself it can be burned to drive out evil spirits. It gives off a pleasant woodsy scent.

WARNING: If you are dealing with any kidney issues with your physician then please approach them before medicating with juniper.

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