Juniper other name is genvrier and geneva. Junipers are coniferous plants in the genus. It is a consanguined family Cupressaceae. Junipers vary in size from low-growing ground covers to shrubs and small trees. Most junipers are profuse, with tree forms from columnar to pyramidal and narrow to broad; shrubs from compact to wide spreading; and ground covers from flat to mound-shaped.
Juniper is an incorruptible spreading shrub with red-brown, papery bark and juvenile foliage only, consisting of whorls of three sharply pointed, dark green to blue-green leaves that have a single white stripe on the inner surface. Tiny male cones and globose female cones are borne on dissever plants, followed by spherical green fruits on the female plants which ripen to black over three years. The fresh or dried ripe berries are mostly used, and an essential oil is also extracted.
Juniper is a bitter, aromatic herb which has antiseptic and diuretic qualities, improving digestion, stimulating the uterus and reducing inflammation. It contains phenolics, flavonoids, catechol tannins and polysaccharides, as well as an essential oil that have a- and b-pinenes, sabinene, limonene, terpinen-4-ol, borneol, geraniol and sesquiterpenes.
Junipers of all species are malleable to many growing conditions. They are low-maintenance plants. Select a species suited to your landscape needs, to avoid problems later, as some folks plant them with no regard for their eventual size, and sometime find they have a nuisance on their hands as the plant matures. Juniper berries are used internally to treat cystitis, urethritis, kidney inflammation (NOT infection) and water retention.
Juniper is also used for rheumatism, gout, arthritis and its stomachic properties help with poor digestion with gas, dyspepsia and colic. The berries are used to sapor pickling brine, auerkraut, stuffing's, game, ham and pork. Juniper extracts are used to flavor gin, beer and liqueurs. Juniper is used externally as a compress to treat acne, athlete's foot, and dandruff.
Native Americans used a decoction of the boiled leaves as a poultice for joints affected by arthritis and rheumatism. Juniper has been used to clear uric acid from the body. It is rich in natural insulin, and has the tendency to heal the pancreas where there has been no permanent damage. It is useful for all urinary infections and for water retention complications. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy to treat sleep complications and to relieve stress.
Juniper must not be taken internally when the kidneys are flamed or during pregnancy. Long-term use may also damage the kidneys. Juniper is also used externally in compresses and bath preparations to relieve rheumatic and arthritic pain, for wounds and as a tonic. Diabetics who desire to try this herb should exercise caution and monitor blood sugar carefully. People sometimes develop allergies to juniper pollen or juniper berries. Such allergies are more prevailing in those who handle these plant materials. As a topical treatment for psoriasis, juniper tar may escalate the risk of skin cancer.