Juniper

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What other names is Juniper known by?

Baie de Genévrier, Common Juniper, Common Juniper Berry, Enebro, Extract of Juniper, Extrait de Genévrier, Genévrier, Genévrier Commun, Genievre, Genièvre, Ginepro, Huile de Baies de Genévrier, Huile de Genévrier, Juniper Berry, Juniper Berry Oil, Juniper Extract, Juniper Oil, Juniperi Fructus, Juniperus communis, Oil of Juniper, Wacholderbeeren, Zimbro.

What is Juniper?

Juniper is a short to medium-height tree that grows wild in some parts of Europe, North America, and Asia. There are many varieties of juniper, but Juniperus communis is the most common in North America.

People use the juniper berry to make medicine. Medicinal preparations include the extract of juniper berry, as well as the essential oil of juniper berry. Don't confuse juniper berry oil with cade oil, which is distilled from juniper wood (Juniperus oxycedrus).

Juniper is used for digestion problems including upset stomach, intestinal gas (flatulence), heartburn, bloating, and loss of appetite, as well as gastrointestinal (GI) infections and intestinal worms. It is also used for urinary tract infections (UTIs) and kidney and bladder stones. Other uses include treating snakebite, diabetes, and cancer.

Some people apply juniper directly to the skin for wounds and for pain in joints and muscles. The essential oil of juniper is inhaled to treat bronchitis and numb pain.

In foods, the juniper berry is often used as a condiment and a flavoring ingredient in gin and bitter preparations. The extract and essential oil are used as a flavoring ingredient in foods and beverages.

In manufacturing, the juniper oil is used as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics.

Juniper extract and juniper oil are used in cosmetics including lipstick, foundation, hair conditioners, bath oils, bubble bath, eye shadow, and many other products.

Is Juniper effective?

There isn't enough information to know if juniper is effective for the other conditions people use it for, including: upset stomach, heartburn, bloating, loss of appetite, urinary tract infections (UTI), kidney and bladder stones, joint and muscle pain, wounds, and many other conditions.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Upset stomach.
  • Heartburn.
  • Bloating.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs).
  • Kidney and bladder stones.
  • Joint and muscle pain.
  • Wounds.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of juniper for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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How does Juniper work?

Juniper berries contain chemicals that might decrease inflammation and gas. It might also be effective in fighting bacteria and viruses. Juniper might also increase the need to urinate.

Are there safety concerns?

Juniper, juniper berry, and juniper extract are LIKELY SAFE when consumed in normal food amounts.

Juniper is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts short-term, when inhaled appropriately as a vapor, or when applied to the skin in small areas. Using juniper on the skin can cause some side effects including irritation, burning, redness, and swelling. Avoid using it on large skin wounds.

Taking juniper by mouth long-term or in a high dose is LIKELY UNSAFE as it can cause kidney problems, seizures, and other serious side effects.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It's UNSAFE to use juniper if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Juniper's effects on the uterus might interfere with fertility or cause a miscarriage. It's also best to avoid using juniper if you are breast-feeding. Not enough is known about how juniper might affect a nursing infant.

Diabetes: Juniper berry might lower blood sugar. There is some concern that it might lower blood sugar too much in people with diabetes.

Stomach and intestinal disorders: Juniper berry might irritate the stomach and intestines, making disorders in these organs worse.

High blood pressure, low blood pressure: Juniper berry might affect blood pressure and could make blood pressure control more difficult.

Surgery: Juniper might affect blood sugar levels, making blood sugar control more difficult during and after surgery. Stop using juniper at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Juniper might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking juniper along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.



Water pills (Diuretic drugs)
Interaction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Juniper seems to work like "water pills" by causing the body to lose water. Taking juniper along with other "water pills" might cause the body to lose too much water. Losing too much water can cause you to be dizzy and your blood pressure to go too low.

Some "water pills" include chlorothiazide (Diuril), chlorthalidone (Thalitone), furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, Hydrodiuril, Microzide), and others.

Dosing considerations for Juniper.

The appropriate dose of juniper depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for juniper. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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