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Juniperus communis

Juniperus communis                    Common name:  Juniper
Family:
Cupressaceae

Parts used:  Berries

Constituents:  Volatile oil (pinene, camphor, cineole, limonene, thujone, borneol, terpinen), condensed tannins, diterpenes, resin, flavonoids (amentoflavone, quercitin, apigenin), glucuronic acid

Medicinal actions:  Stimulating diuretic, antiseptic, carminative, anti-inflammatory, bitter, digestive tonic, emmenagogue, anti-rheumatic, aborifacient

Medicinal use: Juniper is used in arthritis and rheumatism because of its anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties and will relieve muscle aches due to excess lactic acid. Topically the essential oil can be used in arthritis, muscle/joint pains, gout and neuralgia. Has a specific use in the treatment of cystitis in the absence of renal inflammation.

Pharmacology:

  • Volatile oils are diuretic, antiseptic, uterine stimulant, anti-viral and topically irritant. Terpinen specifically is an irritant to the kidneys and stimulates glomerular filtration rate.
  • Flavonoids amentoflavone has demonstrated anti-viral activity

Pharmacy: Infusion: 1 tsp lightly crushed berries/cup water; infuse 20 min, 1 cup BID. Tincture (1:5, 45%), 1 – 2 ml TID. Essential oil:  5 parts to 30 parts fixed oil, 30 drops TID. Short term use only.

Contraindications: In acute kidney infections or kidney disease (nephritits and nephrosis) and pregnancy due to the stimulation of uterine contractions.

Toxicity: A key sign that long term use may be irritating the kidneys is albuminuria. Thujone may accumulate and is neurotoxic. Pulse dose every 2-3 weeks to avoid. Topically may cause burning, erythema, and inflammation.

Interactions: None known.

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