Common juniper is a low evergreen coniferous shrub representing the Cypress family (Cupressaceae). Other names: yadlovets, don juniper, krovogon, cossack juniper, veres, arsa, mozhevel, grouse berries, krivogon
Coniferous evergreen dioecious shrub 1-3 m in height, less often a small tree with erect or spread branches along the ground and a straight trunk covered with grayish-brown cracking bark. The leaves are arranged in whorls of 3, hard, needle-like, strongly prickly, almost triangular, on the lower side angular or with a blunt wide keel, on the upper side slightly grooved or almost flat, in the middle with a wide whitish longitudinal stripe. Male inflorescences look like oval yellow spikelets, located one at a time in the axils of the leaves at the ends of small lateral branches. Female inflorescences in the form of small, oval, pale green cones consist of 9 seed scales, the top 3 grow as the seeds ripen, grow together between and with the seeds and form berry-like fleshy cones, which are bluish-black with a whitish-blue bloom when mature, the rest of the scales dry out. The juniper “blooms” in May. The common juniper grows mainly as an undergrowth in pine forests, as well as in subor and spruce forests. In some places, on sandy dry soils, it forms almost pure thickets of juniper, which in such habitats also has a tree-like form.
Harvesting, description of raw materials:
In medicine, juniper cones are used, called “juniper berries”, or “fruits” – Fructus seu baccae Juniperi. Harvest them in the fall at the time of full ripening. Since the shrubs are thorny, the fruits are picked with gloves or knocked down with sticks. In the later case, the fruits are separated from unripe green fruits and needles. Dried at a moderate temperature – at a high temperature, the fruits shrivel. The raw material consists of spherical or slightly oval cone-berries within 6-9 mm in diameter, black, purple or black-brown in color, often with a bluish wax coating. At the top of the cone-berries there is a three-beam seam formed as a result of the fusion of three carpels. At their base, there is often a remnant of brown scales arranged in whorls of three. Inside the cone are 3 triangular seeds.
Contains active substances:
Juniper cone-berries contain up to 2% essential oil, which includes camphene, cadinene, terpineol, borneol, pinene and other terpenes, up to 40% sugar, coloring matter and organic acids.
Juniper in medicine is used in the form of an infusion as a diuretic, disinfectant of the urinary tract, as an expectorant and improves digestion. Juniper essential oil has disinfectant properties, but is little used in the treatment of skin diseases. In folk medicine, cone berries, or juniper berries, have a wider application. They are brewed and drunk for diseases of the kidneys, bladder, kidney stones, liver disease, inflammation of the appendages of the pipes, rheumatism, raw berries are eaten with a stomach ulcer, a decoction of berries and juniper branches is drunk in the absence of menstruation, a decoction of branches with diathesis, a decoction roots in stomach ulcers. Juice from juniper cones is drunk for “stomach pains”, essential oil from unripe cone-berries is used for scabies, root wood – against venereal diseases,