Healing Remedies of the Juniper Bush
Juniper in folk medicine
Juniper belongs to the cypress family and is an evergreen coniferous bush or tree up to 8-12 m tall. Fruits are dark blue cones. Distributed throughout the European part of the CIS, often found in Siberia and the Urals.
Grows on sandy soils, forming an undergrowth in pine forests, often in clearings. The life span of this plant is amazing: from 600 to several thousand years. Due to this, as well as the fact that its wood does not rot, in some cultures this plant is considered a symbol of immortality.
A little about juniper
This plant has a characteristic coniferous aroma, which indicates high phytoncidal properties (6 times higher than that of pine or spruce). It is believed that one hectare of juniper is enough to purify the air of an average city from harmful microbes.
Perhaps, it was thanks to the phytoncidal qualities that since ancient times, juniper twigs were used as amulets from evil spirits: they were hung in huts, barns, worn on the body, they drove cattle, they made (and are now doing) brooms for a bath. In some countries, it is believed that juniper protects against snake bites.
The wood of this plant has been used for the manufacture of dishes, decorations, and crafts for a long time. Previously, milk was stored in juniper tubs so that it would not spoil longer. Soft yet durable, the wood of this plant lends itself well to cutting and other finishing.
All parts of the plant have rich healing properties, which we will discuss below. In addition, juniper is readily used in landscape design: there are many species and varieties that are highly decorative and unpretentious.
The species diversity of this plant is quite large. The most common types and varieties:
- M. high - tree-like form up to 15 m high (varieties: pyramidal and variegated);
- M. daurian - creeping bush (variety Expanza);
- M. low - dense, low-growing shrubs, forming a kind of pillows of branches (Nana variety);
- M. medium - short shrubs with a spherical or creeping crown (varieties Pfitzeriana and Mint Julep);
- M. solid - a picturesque tree up to 8 m high (sotr Franco);
- M. scaly - low ornamental shrub (varieties Blue Carpet, Blue Star and Meyeri);
- M. Siberian - unpretentious creeping shrub.
The varieties of this plant are distinguished by the shape of the crown, the color of the needles, the length of the branches, the exactingness of conditions and many other parameters. But all junipers, without exception, are beautiful and useful plants that can decorate any garden plot or park.
Healing properties of juniper
In medicine, both official and folk, this plant is given close attention.
Juniper fruits are considered medicinal raw materials - cones. They are harvested when they become bluish-black, with a bluish bloom - in late autumn. But the branches and roots of the plant are also widely used.
Pine berries contain resins, tannins, wax, organic acids, macro- and microelements (manganese, iron, copper, aluminum) and carbohydrates. But the most valuable component is essential oil, which gives the berries a characteristic aroma and has a number of healing properties.
Juniper essential oil is known for its expectorant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory properties. It is often added to mixtures for baths and saunas, inhaled with colds and bronchitis, used in baths and compresses for sore joints or purulent wounds.
It also has a diuretic and choleretic effect when taken orally, therefore infusions and decoctions of berries are prescribed for edema and various diseases of the genitourinary and digestive system.
Modern women are also familiar with this oil as a component of anti-cellulite products. When added to an aroma lamp, juniper oil has a tonic effect, but it can also relieve stress and tension.
The antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, disinfecting properties of this plant determine a wide range of its applications for skin diseases, oral cavity problems, ear infections, for air purification in the room and for many other purposes.
Healing juniper: application in traditional medicine
The most common uses for this valuable plant are:
- fumigating pomesmoke needles for disinfection;
- steaming berries and branches in a bathhouse or any other room (for the same purpose);
- adding a decoction of juniper or essential oil to baths (for gout, rheumatism, arthritis, skin diseases, sweating, stress, fatigue);
- compresses, bandages (for skin diseases, wounds, joint diseases), as well as tampons with decoction or essential oil (for ear diseases, gynecological problems);
- ingestion of a decoction or tincture of berries (for urolithiasis, inflammation of the bladder and ducts, constipation, stagnation of bile, colds and lung diseases, to combat worms);
- preparation of ointments (for warts) and massage oils (for cellulite and simply fortifying).
The list goes on for a long time. There are also a lot of specific recipes and application schemes. There are pharmacy medicines from juniper, but you can prepare them yourself. Here are the most popular recipes.
Broth: 2 tablespoons of berries are poured with 2 glasses of boiling water and kept in a water bath for 20 minutes. Then it is filtered and brought to the original volume with boiled water. Take three times a day on a spoon - for bronchitis, acute respiratory infections, flu.
Water infusion: 10 g of berries are poured with one glass of boiling water and insisted until cooled. The range of applications is very wide: from gargling and adding to baths to ingestion (like a decoction) as a disinfectant, antiparasitic, bile and diuretic.
Alcoholic infusion: pour crushed juniper berries with 70% alcohol (1 part berries, 20 parts alcohol). Insist in a dark place for two weeks, drain. Take before meals, three times a day, 30 drops with water (for gastrointestinal diseases, bronchitis, to cleanse the blood) or make compresses (for arthritis, rheumatism, gout).
They also make a tincture from the shoots of this plant (read more in our article Useful properties of juniper oil ).
Ointment: carefully chopped berries are mixed with olive oil or pork fat to obtain a viscous gruel. Treat warts.
The use of juniper preparations is contraindicated in pregnant women, as well as in people with severe renal impairment, severe hypertension and a tendency to allergic diseases.
Be careful! You can not use the fruits or branches of Cossack juniper as a remedy - it is poisonous!