juniperus spp


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juniper

juniper

There are over 50 varieties of juniper and not all are edible, so check first. Savin Juniper (Juniperus sabina)-a popular ornamental shrub, for example is toxic. Many of the small ornamental junipers are not edible. If you are interested in consuming junipers, do more research first. Junipers resemble cedar, which can be confusing. (Eastern red cedar is really a Juniper) Juniper berries have multiple seeds inside the berry, cedar only has one. Even more confusing is that young leaves look different than mature ones. Young are usually sharp and spikey like pine needles, while older ones are scaly, overlapping and branched. The most common and best edible variety is Juniperus Communis. Some other ones that have been used are drupacea, phoenicea, deppeana, californica, horizontalis, monosperma, occidentalis, osterosperma, scopulorum, tetragona. Remember to do more research first. Juniper needles (leaves) can be made into a tea, and have been burned in hospitals since the 1500s as incense to kill bacteria in the rooms. Has lots of medicinal properties. Gin is made from Juniper berries and it is said that people who drink gin live longer and have less health problems. Brown bark that peels away like paper. The berries (have 3, 5 or 7 stones in them) and can only be consumed in the fall when they are ripe (purple), not when green. Be aware some juniper berries take up to 3 years to ripen! There are often unrip berries right next to ripe ones. Never consume unripe berries. Ripe berries are used for stomach problems. Anti-inflammatory diuretic that reduces spasms. Antiseptic for infections. Very popular for urinary infections. Chewing berries helps inflamed and infected gums. Used for colic, bronchitis, coughs and colds. It’s a diuretic because it irritates renal tissue (kidneys) so don’t keep taking it for long periods of time. Do not take during pregnancy. Used to strengthen blood vessels, nerves and the optic nerve, improve night vision, lower blood sugar in diabetics, and to strengthen the adrenal glands, which prevents stress induced visual problems. Vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and sulfur in juniper berries may help macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy by strengthening the blood vessels in the eyes. Strengthens nerves, helps regulate estrogen, anti-fungal, improves digestion for better nutrient absorption. Contains a compound that is similar in structure and function to insulin, which is used to heal and improve pancreas function. Removes uric acid in alloxan induced diabetes. Vit A, B1, B2, B3, C, D, E, calcium, chromium, cobalt, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, tin, zinc, and insulin-like compounds. Used as an antiseptic Contains the same active ingredient in tea tree oil, and the antiviral compound gallotannin, a powerful antioxidant that quenches free radicals. Used to help dissolve kidney stones, and increase stomach acid and enzymes. Male and female plants required to produce berries. When ripe, smash juniper berries and swallow a few. Helps with stomach acidity which is good for acid reflux, gerd (gastric-esophageal reflux disease), but don't take too much because it lowers blood sugar- has an insulin-like compound- don't take more than 5 berries at a time. Leaves can be used as a tea to gargle with for sore throats because the oil content makes it a powerful antiseptic- the green unripe berries are great for ringworm, nail fungus, (very strong antiseptic when not ripebut use only externally) Only use internally when they turn a powdery purple. Do NOT eat when they are not ripe because the oils can cause kidney damage. Never take juniper extract, this could be deadly.
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