Juniper
Juniper

Background

Juniper is a 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.

Don't confuse juniper berry oil with cade oil, which is distilled from juniper wood (Juniperus oxycedrus).

Some people take juniper by mouth for problems with digestion, urinary tract infections (UTIs), kidney stones, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

In foods, juniper berry is often used as a condiment. The extract, oil, and berry are used as flavoring ingredients in foods and beverages.

In manufacturing, juniper extract and oil are used as fragrances in soaps and cosmetics.
When taken by mouth: Juniper, juniper berry, and juniper extract are LIKELY SAFE when consumed in amounts normally found in foods. But it is LIKELY UNSAFE to take more than 10 grams of juniper berries or more than 100 mg of juniper oil, or to take juniper for more than 4 weeks. It can cause kidney problems, seizures, and other serious side effects. There isn't enough reliable information to know if taking juniper berries or oil in lower doses or for a shorter time is safe or what the side effects might be.

When applied to the skin: Juniper is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when applied to small sections of healthy skin. Using juniper on the skin can cause irritation, burning, redness, and swelling in some people. Do not apply juniper to damaged or irritated skin.

When inhaled: Juniper is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when inhaled appropriately as a vapor.

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.

Effectiveness

NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions
  • Bloating.
  • Heartburn.
  • Joint and muscle pain.
  • Kidney and bladder stones.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs).
  • Wounds.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of juniper for these uses.

Dosing & administration

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.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

Lithium

Interaction Rating=Minor Be watchful with this combination.

Juniper might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking juniper might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.

Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

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 watchful with this combination.

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.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar: Juniper might lower blood sugar. Using it with other herbs and supplements that have this same effect might increase the risk of low blood sugar in some people. Some of these products include devil's claw, fenugreek, guar gum, Panax ginseng, Siberian ginseng, and others.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.

Action

Juniper berries contain chemicals that might decrease swelling. It might also be effective in fighting bacteria and viruses. Juniper might also increase the need to urinate.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 17/10/2023 11:00:00 and last updated on 03/12/2020 20:44:09. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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