Common and folk names
- • Fairy Circle, Hackmatack
- • Horse Savin
- • Gorst
- • Aiten
- • Dwarf Juniper
Parts of Plants Used
Dark green= the most popular and common use
- Leaves/ Needles
The Common Juniper is a highly variable evergreen low shrub or small coniferous tree in the Cupressaceae family. The plant has a pleasant, resinous and balsamic fragrance.
The blooming period is April to May. Seed cones are berry-like and green, ripening to purple-black with a blue waxy coating in 18 months. Male flowers are yellowish cones richly covered with pollen; female cones are smaller, greenish and embedded in the axils of leaves.
The Common Juniper is widespread in forest-rich regions across Europe, North Africa, North America, northern and western Asia and Japan. The species grows on dry, open, rocky, wooded hillsides, sand terraces and on exposed slopes and plateaus. It is found on dunes or dune heath in coastal areas, on isolated mountains and may spread into fields and pastures.
The plant is assessed as Least Concern according to the Red Data List criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
- Used as a strong urinary tract disinfectant
- Used as a stimulating diuretic in cardiac and hepatic dropsy
- Used to reduce kidney and bladder disorders
- Used to ease chronic arthritis, gout, and rheumatic ailments
- Used to alleviate bronchitis and lung congestion
- Used externally for bone-joint pains
- Used to regenerate skin and alleviate warts
- Used to soften cramps and to support a healthy digestive process
- Used to stimulate appetite
- Used to promote healthy blood pressure
• flavouring food (meat, stuffing, vegetable plates)
• flavouring ingredient in gin and bitter preparations
• coffee substitute (roasted seed)
• essential oils
• berries extract
• soaps and bath oils
• shampoo and hair conditioners
• brown (root) and purple (berry) colouring dyes
• excellent wood preservative
• weaving baskets (roots)
• ornamental use
- The generic name Juniperus probably derives from the Latin terms juniveris = young, and the term parus = bearing. Thus, Juniperus translates as young-bearing.
- During the middle-ages, the smoke of burning juniper wood was thought to be particularly good at driving demons away.
- Roasted juniper seeds are a coffee substitute.
- Native American tribes used seeds from juniper cones as food.
- Tinctures made from steeping juniper leaves were remedies for vomiting, arthritis and persistent coughing.
- Indian women in labour drank juniper tea to speed delivery.
- Legends indicate that dreaming of gathering juniper berries in winter foretold of prosperity.
- Throughout history, Juniper berries given as a present signified great honour and rejoicing on the birth of a boy.
- In Europe, juniper was hung over doorways on the evening before May Day and prior to Halloween to ward off evil spirits and was widely considered to ward off witches and devils.