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Juniper Berry

Juniper Berry

Jupipenus communis

Juniper Berries are good at lending a helping hand at treating urinary tract infections and kidney stones. It is inhaled to help with bronchitis and other respiratory tract infections. Junipers are also applied topically to heal extremely infected wounds and musculo-skeletal pain.

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names:
  • Medicinal: No
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Leaves, Ripe Berries
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About Juniper

Juniper belongs to the largest genus, Juniperus, of the family Cupressaceae. The genus Juniperus accommodates hundreds of species that commonly share fleshy cones and hard-shelled seeds. This small evergreen shrub is of immense ornamental value and is cheered among gardeners due to its undemanding, low-maintenance cultivation.

The Juniper tree can attain a petty height of 30 feet that stretches up to 50 feet at most. Some junipers are liable to create handsome groundcovers. The tree is embellished with needle-like leaves and both male and female cones.

Besides creating commendable exclamatory points in the gardens, junipers are performing remarkable tasks at maintaining their reputation in the medicinal world. They are good at lending a helping hand at treating urinary tract infections and kidney stones. It is inhaled to help with bronchitis and other respiratory tract infections. Junipers are also applied topically to heal extremely infected wounds and musculo-skeletal pain.

Juniper is a powerful plant as it houses many nutrients like antioxidants, Vitamin C, flavonoids, coumarins, and monoterpenes. These nutrients help with heart problems, reduces inflammation, and oxidative stress that can help attenuate diabetes.

Growing

Juniper is considered an undeniably low-maintenance and undemanding genus of plant kingdom among the gardeners. They love to bathe in sun and never fuss about the condition or quality of soil, except it should be well-drained.

Junipers are planted in fall as this encourages their root to settle in their environment and grow without any hesitance. On the other hand, juniper can also be started in spring but it requires a bit more water during this time.

It can be initiated both indoors and outdoors. For an indoor environment, juniper is obliged to receive at least 4 to 5 hours of sunlight and dry soil to flourish. However, junipers are not made to be captivated by indoor aura as they prefer to receive air humidity and sunlight which are obviously not part of the indoor setting.

Junipers are highly drought-resistant, can bear poor soil, and are not much cheered among pests which help them thrive with flying colors.

Juniper seeds take about a month to germinate. No matter how much the plant doesn’t like water but its seeds require it otherwise they undergo dormancy.

Junipers do not produce flowers, instead, their leaves are specialized enough to possess bracts that turn into cones. The trees are dioecious and produce male cones and female cones on different trees. The yellow male cones take the help of the wind to pollinate female cones and produce seeds. The plant pollinates twice i.e. in spring, from January to April, and fall, September to December. 

The fruiting structure on the female juniper is a thing to behold. The soft luscious berries invite birds and other small animals to devour them and allow seeds dispersal. These chains of fine procedures help ensure the perpetuation of the lifecycle of juniper. 

Harvesting

For a newly grown plant, the juniper berries take three years to bee mature enough for harvest. The green ones are not ripened. It takes them a year after their emergence to turn purple, which usually happens in fall.

Picking juniper berries is a time-honoring process. The branches containing berries are shaken gently to release the light-weighted berries in a basket or paper sheet.

Once the juniper berries are collected, they are splayed on the baking sheet and allowed to sit at room temperature for three weeks to dry completely.

Juniper berries can also be dried in an oven at 250 degrees Celsius until they shrink and crumble into small hardballs. The dried berries are then packed in an airtight container to retain their essence.

Usage

Handsome junipers are being fervently used in a wide range of medicinal and food preparation, all thanks to their flavor and high-end medicinal benefits.

  • Tincture - Infuse dried juniper berries that are crushed in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Tea - Dried juniper berries are boiled in water for half an hour and filtered to obtain juniper tea.
  • Decoction - A handful of juniper berries are decocted in 1 qt. of water until half of the volume remains to yield juniper decoction.
  • Salve - Juniper berries essential oil is employed along with beeswax, shea butter, and almond oil to make an analgesic juniper salve.
  • Syrup - Dried juniper berries are crushed and rolled with sugar solution for 10 to 15 minutes on low flame to yield juniper syrup.
  • Infused oil - Dried juniper berries are crushed and heated with a carrier oil in a crockpot for 3 to 4 hours to form juniper infused oil.