Juniper: Herbal Remedies

Juniper Preparations and Warnings

Like all herbs, there are some precautions you should take before using juniper medicinally.

Juniper Preparations and Dosage

Juniper berries may be tinctured or stored whole. Because juniper's volatile oils may irritate and stimulate, keep the dosage low. When making juniper tea, short, hot infusions of just five to eight minutes are best to preserve the volatile oils. Steep about 20 berries per cup of hot water. Steep in a covered container to preserve the oils.

Herbal Tea: Limit consumption to 1 or 2 cups in a day, and do not use longer than two months.

Tincture: Take 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon at a time, no more than four times a day. Limit use to four to six weeks. Start with a low dosage and work upward, if needed.

Juniper Precautions and Warnings

Avoid juniper during pregnancy because juniper is suspected of causing uterine contractions, which result in abortion. Large doses of juniper -- such as five to six cups of strong tea -- may cause vomiting, diarrhea, and increased urine flow. Such dosages taken day after day may poison the kidneys and cause convulsions. Juniper should not be used by anyone with acute kidney inflammation because it is too irritating and stimulating to the urinary passages. People with diabetes should use juniper cautiously, as it may raise glucose levels. Juniper is best suited for urinary atony, such as a weak or prolapsed bladder, and minor infections that do not involve the kidneys.

Use juniper only for a month or so; then abstain for a week or more before using the herb again.

Side Effects of Juniper

Irritation of the urinary passages may occur if juniper is not used properly. Juniper is very strong, and its use requires knowledge and caution. Because juniper increases stomach acid, it may upset some people's stomachs. Use juniper for indigestion; avoid its use if you have heartburn or excess stomach acid. Some hay fever sufferers develop allergic reactions to juniper. Don't use juniper if you develop any reactions.

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Jennifer Brett, N.D. is director of the Acupuncture Institute for the University of Bridgeport, where she also serves on the faculty for the College of Naturopathic Medicine. A recognized leader in her field with an extensive background in treating a wide variety of disorders utilizing nutritional and botanical remedies, Dr. Brett has appeared on WABC TV (NYC) and on Good Morning America to discuss utilizing herbs for health.This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies.   Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and each discipline has its own rules about whether practitioners are required to be professionally licensed. If you plan to visit a practitioner, it is recommended that you choose one who is licensed by a recognized national organization and who abides by the organization's standards. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique.