Long associated with ritual cleansing, juniper was burned at temples as part of regular purification rites. Several medicinal recipes survive in Egyptian papyri dating to 1550 BC. In central European folk medicine, the oil extracted from juniper berries was regarded as a cure-all for typhoid, cholera, dysentery, tape worms and other ills associated with poverty.

Botanical Name: Juniperus communis

Common Name: Juniper
Family: Cupressaceae (formerly Pinaceae)
Part Used: Dried ripe fruit – pick after they have turned from green to purplish-blue – this process can take 2 years!

Active Constituents:

  • Volatile oil (0.5-2.0%)
  • Resin (10%)
  • Bitter principle – juniperin
  • Organic acids
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenolic compounds (antioxidant)
  • Tannins – anthocyanins

Qualities: Warm, dry, neutral, slightly pungent, bitter-sweet


Minnie mouse ankles – Hall.

Kidney slowness, puffy ankles, bladder weakness, heart insufficiency. 

“A remedy to treat tapeworm: juniper berries 5 parts, white oil 5 parts is taken for one day” – Egyptian 1550 BC


  • Antiseptic
  • Diuretic
  • Carminative
  • Bitter digestive tonic
  • Increases elimination of uric acid metabolites
  • Antirheumatic


  • URINARY – Cystitis – acute or chronic. Specifically cystitis in the absence of renal inflammation.
  • MSK – Rheumatic disorders – gout, arthritis – externally to ease arthritic pain in joints and muscles
  • GIT – Flatulent colic and dyspepsia
  • Diabetics with fluid
  • Fluid retention etc with adrenal gland issues/picture (Hall)

Specific Indication: Cystitis in the absence of renal inflammation

Dose: 1:2 LE 10-20ml / week

Use berries in a casserole/stew/hotpot with celeriac/celery (but don’t over-do!)


  • Other urinary antiseptics – BUCHU or UVA-URSI
  • Dorothy Hall says to combine with celery because balances the soda/potassium levels
  • Buchu & dandelion

Cautions and Interactions: None Known

Caution with kidney stones (Hall).

Contraindications: Kidney disease or inflammation. Pregnancy (uterine stimulant and abortifacient)


  • INFUSION: Sip a weak infusion (15g berries to 500ml water) for stomach upsets, chills or period pain
  • ESSENTIAL OIL LOTION: Add 5 drops oil to 50ml equal parts rosewater and witch hazel for oily skin and acne
  • CHEST RUB: Dilute 10 drops juniper essential oil and 10 drops thyme oil in 20ml almond oil and rub into chest for stubborn coughs

References & Links to Articles:

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