The berrylike juniper cone, a purple fruit, is produced by female varieties of an evergreen shrub that can grow 6 to 25 feet tall. Juniper is known for giving gin its tart bite. It also acts as a diuretic, since it includes among its components terpinen-4-ol, which increases the rate at which the kidneys filter body fluids. Because of this diuretic action, juniper is used to treat high blood pressure and premenstrual syndrome. Juniper oil is thought to have anti-inflammatory effects, considered useful for treating arthritis and gout. Juniper teas can be taken for digestive problems.
Taken internally for:
Applied externally for:
Over the counter:
Available in whole berries, bulk, capsules and tinctures.
Tea: 1 tsp. ground juniper berries steeped in 1 cup boiling water for 10 to 20 minutes. Used for no more than six weeks at a time.