Evergreen shrub up to 3 m tall. Trunk with brown bark, strongly branched; leaves-needles linear-subulate, grooved above, keeled below, in whorls of 3. Flowers unisexual, dicotyledonous; men’s in earrings, women’s – in green spherical cones. Blooms in May. The fruits are cone-berries, ripen in the second year in autumn.

Common juniper in the wild is found in the south-west of the European part of Russia, in the Caucasus, in Siberia. It grows in undergrowth, deciduous and mixed forests, in pine forests on sandy soils, on dry hills, along mountain slopes and river banks.

Mature black fruits are used for medicinal purposes, cone-berries, young shoots (branches), root wood and roots are used in folk medicine.

The taste of the fruit is sweet and spicy. The smell is peculiar, fragrant. The collection is made by shaking off the fruits on a canvas or matting spread under a bush. The collected fruits are cleaned of impurities, dried in air or in a dryer with constant shoveling. Drying fruits in ovens is not recommended. Raw materials are stored in well-ventilated areas with frequent shoveling. Keep away from rats!


When collecting, it will be necessary to remember that the fruits can be confused with the Cossack juniper, which is poisonous.

The berries of the Cossack juniper are bumpy, with two seeds, while the common juniper has three seeds. The color of the fruits of the Cossack juniper is black-blue, the color of the common juniper is black-brown. The leaves of the common juniper are awl-shaped, hard, sharp, those of the Cossack – flat, pressed.

Juniper fruits contain essential oil (0.5-1.5%), which includes pinene, camphene, terpinene, phellandrene, etc. The fruits contain sugars (up to 80%), organic acids – acetic, formic, malic , resin, wax, yellow amorphous substance uni-perine and mineral salts.

Juniper berries are used as a diuretic, disinfectant of the urinary tract (for kidney diseases, stones and sand in the kidneys, liver diseases), and also an expectorant and improve digestion.

It is necessary to take into account the irritating effect of berries on the parenchyma of the kidneys, therefore, in acute nephritis, they are contraindicated.

Preparations from juniper berries, taken orally, moderately irritate the mucous membrane of the digestive canal, activate the motor and secretory functions of the intestine, the released essential oil has an antimicrobial effect, inhibits fermentation processes, relieves spasms of sphincters.

The essential oil secreted by the kidneys irritates the kidney parenchyma, which causes a pronounced diuretic effect of products from juniper berries.

In a small amount, juniper essential oil is secreted by the bronchial and sweat glands, acting as an expectorant and slightly diaphoretic. There is evidence that juniper berries slightly increase the separation of milk in lactating women.

Juniper is useful for scrofula and fever (as a diaphoretic). Externally used for scabies, rheumatism and gout as an analgesic: rub juniper oil or tincture or take aromatic baths not only from berries, but also from young stems.

In folk medicine, cone-berries are brewed and drunk for diseases of the kidneys, bladder, kidney stones, liver disease, edema as a diuretic and stomach tonic, inflammation of the appendages of the tubes (in women), rheumatism, raw berries are eaten with a stomach ulcer, a decoction of berries and branches are drunk in the absence of menstruation, a decoction of the branches – with diathesis, a decoction of the roots – with a stomach ulcer. Juice from the cones is drunk for pain in the abdomen, root wood – against venereal diseases.


Decoctions: 1) for internal use: 15 g per 200 ml; 1 st. spoon 3 times every day; 2) for external use: 50 g of berries and stems per bucket of boiling water.

You can also do this: boil 200 g of dried berries in 2 liters of water – in the form of baths for gout, rheumatism, pain in the joints, muscles.

In the form of a syrup: boil 100 g of dried berries in 400 ml of water until soft, strain, add sugar to taste; take every day 3 times every day, 1 teaspoon before meals.

Tincture: 15%; 15-10 drops 3 times every day.

Instead of a decoction, you can chew fresh berries, starting with 4 berries, increasing their intake one at a time to 15 and then, reducing the number again to 4 berries. This is the most effective method of treatment.

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