Evergreen, small shrub (0.5-3m) or small tree (5-8m), pyramidal shape. The lifespan of some specimens is 200-300 years. The trunk is branched with grey-brown tufted bark. The needles are elongated, 1-2 cm long, 1-1.5 mm wide, three-edged, spica, prickly with a white vein. Male spikes are yellow, rounded-extended, on average 4mm long. Female cones are round, grow one by one in leaf axils. Fruits - round cones, average 1 cm in diameter, fleshy, look like berries, so they can also be called "cones". They have a sweet-spicy taste and smell. In the first year, the fruits are green, in the second year they are black-blue with a bluish coating. The plant blooms in May. The fruits ripen in October-November.

Juniper berries are harvested for medicinal purposes. Collect them in autumn (October-November), covering them with juniper cloth. Dry in the fresh air, in the shade, it is recommended not to use dryers. Fruits are stored in a closed container for 3 years.

Juniper berries contain essential oils (up to 2%), the main component of which are terpenoids (alpha-pinene, cadinene, camphene, alpha-terpinene, dipentene, sabinene, borneol, isoborneol, alpha-phellandrene, juniper camphor, etc.), the berries also contain sugar (up to 40%), resins (up to 10%), organic acids (formic acid, acetic acid and malic acid), flavonoids, pectins (pentosans), vitamin C, dyes (juniperine), vegetable fats, wax and trace elements (manganese, iron, copper and aluminum). Podophyllotoxin, which has strong anti-carcinogenic properties, is obtained from juniper fruits. Vitamin C is also found in needles (up to 0.3%). Juniper bark also contains essential substances (up to 0.5%) and tannins (up to 8%), diterpene alcohols (ferruginol and sigiol) in the wood.

The fruit contains alkali (3.40%); macroelements (mg/g): K-12.70, Ca-7.00, Mn-1.00, Fe- 0.14; trace elements: Mg- 0.19, Cu- 0.46, Zn- 0.39, Cr- 0.46; Al-0.04, Se- 9.30, Ni- 1.35, Sr- 0.21, Pb- 0.03. Fruits do not contain: Co, Mo, Cd, Ba, V, Li, Au, Ag, I, Br. Ni and Se, especially Se, are well concentrated in the fruit.

Medicinal significance

Juniper plants have a diuretic effect, and anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties have also been observed. In medicine, juniper berries are used in poultices and decoctions, as an expectorant and digestive aid. Fruits are included in the composition of diuretic mixtures.

Juniper preparations are also characterized by choleretic, antipyretic and analgesic properties, as well as stimulating digestion. Essential oil provides the basic activity of juniper.

Common juniper is widely used in folk medicine as an infusion, decoction, extract, syrups and teas. Orally, preparations are used to treat cardiac edema, lung diseases, intestinal atony, flatulence and gallstones.

Not recommended for use

Juniper fruits should not be used in acute inflammatory diseases of the kidneys (nephritis, nephrotic-nephritis), stomach and duodenal ulcers. It is also not recommended to use in case of gastritis and colitis. Juniper preparations are not recommended during pregnancy, as they increase bleeding in the organs of the lower abdomen.

Juniper preparations should not be used long-term, as they irritate the kidneys. When using juniper berries, doses must be strictly observed - 50 berries in one dose can cause severe poisoning.

In case of poisoning, pain in the neck, stomach, vomiting with admixture of blood, diarrhea, strong urine output appear. In case of severe poisoning, dangerous kidney damage, fever and loss of consciousness appear.

Cosmetic significance

Juniper has been known since ancient times and has not lost its popularity even today. It is the strongest antiseptic and diuretic.

Juniper is a leader in its bactericidal properties among other plants. Juniper shoots and bark possess such properties. In ancient times, threads were treated with juniper oil, which were further used for surgical purposes. Fumigation of juniper branches sterilized maternity wards and hospital rooms during epidemics. The phytoncides in the plant completely suppress the development of disease-causing bacteria.

Juniper berry extract has a bactericidal and astringent effect on the skin. It effectively normalizes seboregulation and cleanses the skin. Juniper extract has strong antiseptic properties and a tonic effect, it stimulates skin cells to regenerate, increasing their metabolism, while also helping to remove excess fluid from cells. The antiseptic properties of juniper oil and extract are especially useful for the care of oily skin that is prone to acne. Juniper berry extract stimulates hair growth and prevents hair loss.

Juniper extract is also an aroma fixer, it helps to keep the bouquet of different product smells.

The presence of juniper in cosmetics also has a healing effect: it disinfects and accelerates the healing of wounds, as well as helps to get rid of various bacteriological skin diseases.

Juniper extract is used for oily skin (including various forms of acne) and scalp care - its complex antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties will reduce oiliness and inflammation. Antiseptic and astringent properties make it possible to use juniper to treat rashes, acne and inflammations of any origin. This plant will help to narrow the pores of the skin. Juniper can be used to treat scalp seborrhea and wet eczema.

A small concentration of juniper berry extract can also be useful for the care of any type of skin (including dry). It will help firm the skin, helping to fight wrinkles and other signs of skin fatigue.

Juniper is also useful for solving hair problems like hair loss! It will give hair strength, a healthy shine and additionally prevent dandruff.

Pure juniper oil can also become an excellent remedy for cellulite. It will act as an activator of the microcirculation of subcutaneous fat cells, thus initiating fat burning, removing excess fluids and reducing edema in the problem area. In addition, it will promote proper metabolism and recovery.

Juniper oil in its pure form should not be used in case of sensitive skin, as it can cause burns. Also, it should not be used during pregnancy and lactation.