The roasted seed is a coffee substitute.A tea is made by boiling the leaves and stems. A tea made from the berries has a spicy gin-like flavour.
The essential oil distilled from the fruits is used in perfumes with spicy fragrances. In hot countries the tree yields the resin 'Sandarac' from incisions in the trunk. This is used in the production of a white varnish. The stems were at one time used as a strewing herb to sweeten the smell of rooms. The whole plant can be burnt as an incense and fumigant. It was used during epidemics in the belief that it would purify the air and cleanse it of infection. Fresh or dried juniper branches also make a good insect repellent. Many forms of this species are good ground cover plants for sunny situations. Forms to try include 'Depressa Aurea', 'Dumosa', 'Effusa', and 'Repanda'. 'Prostrata' can also be used. The bark is used as cordage and as a tinder.Wood - strong, hard, fragrant, very durable in contact with the soil and very close-grained, but usually too small to be of much use. It makes an excellent fuel.
The fully ripe fruits are strongly antiseptic, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, strongly diuretic, rubefacient, stomachic and tonic. They are used in the treatment of cystitis, digestive problems, chronic arthritis, gout and rheumatic conditions. They can be eaten raw or used in a tea, but some caution is advised since large doses can irritate the urinary passage. Externally, it is applied as a diluted essential oil, having a slightly warming effect upon the skin and is thought to promote the removal of waste products from underlying tissues. It is, therefore, helpful when applied to arthritic joints etc. The fruits should not be used internally by pregnant women since this can cause an abortion. The fruits also increase menstrual bleeding so should not be used by women with heavy periods. When made into an ointment, they are applied to exposed wounds and prevent irritation by flies.The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is 'Toxin elimination'.
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Although the fully dormant plant is cold-tolerant throughout Britain, the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. All parts of the plant are very aromatic. Juniper is a very polymorphic species that has a long history of culinary and medicinal use. It is frequently grown in the ornamental and herb garden, there is a huge range of cultivars of widely diverse habits. At least some forms tolerate maritime exposure, there is a thriving colony in an exposed position at Land's End in Cornwall. The fruits take 2 - 3 years to ripen on the plant. Plants are usually very slow growing, often only a few centimetres a year. Resists honey fungus. Plants are sometimes attacked by a rust, this fungus has an aecidial stage on hawthorn (Crataegus spp.).Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Problems, pests & diseases
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This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
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