Juniper (Juniperus communis)

What is Juniper?

Juniper is a family of conifer shrubs and trees found growing in Northern regions of North America, Europe, and Asia.

There are a few species used for medicine, but by far the most common is Juniperus communis (common juniper).

The berries of the juniper bush are exceptionally high in terpenes — giving them a powerful “pine-like” flavor and aroma. The essential oil content of the berries makes them an excellent antibacterial and anti-fungal agent. One of the main uses of the herb is for treating upper and lower respiratory tract infections, digestive tract infections, urinary tract infections, and topically on wounds and injuries.

Juniper berries are also used for their diuretic effects — which become especially useful for supporting urinary tract infections when combined with the powerful antibacterial profile of the berries.

The berries of the juniper bush are most famous for their role in making gin — where they’re one of the main ingredients that adds the light, piney flavor of the liqueur. Traditional gin uses juniper and other antibacterial herbs like angelica as a health topic to ward off infection and disease (including the black plague).

Common Names of Juniper

  • Juniper Berry
  • Common Juniper

Herbal Actions of Juniper

  • Alterative
  • Analgesic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Bitter
  • Carminative
  • Diuretic
  • Nootropic (mild)
  • Urinary Antiseptic

Safety & Contraindications

Avoid juniper berry with kidney disease or during pregnancy. Otherwise, juniper is considered by experts to be a very safe herbal remedy.