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Juniper is a tree of short to medium height and is native to parts of Northern Europe, North America, and Asia. Juniper extractextractto get, separate, or isolate a desired active ingredient and oil are used in a variety of perfumery and cosmetics, such as lipstick, bath oils, eye shadow, and hair conditioners. The active ingredients of juniper that give its medicinal properties come from the fruit.
How is this product usually used?
Juniper is taken by mouth and is available as a dried fruit, infusioninfusionthe process of steeping or soaking plant material in hot or cold water to isolate its active ingredient, fluid extractextractto get, separate, or isolate a desired active ingredient, and tincturetincturea desired active ingredient that is extracted from alcoholic solution. The usual dose of juniper for adults 18 years and older is 0.3 g to 12 g of dried fruit per day.
Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.
What is this product used for?
Juniper has been traditionally used to:
- increase urine flow (diureticdiuretican agent that increases urine flow)
- relieve urinary tract infections
- relieve digestive problems (such as gas or heartburn)
- aid digestion and stimulate appetite
Juniper has also been reported to have anti-inflammatory properties and is used topicallytopicallyto be applied on the skin (applied to the skin) to treat wounds and inflammatory diseases. It has also been shown to lower blood sugar in mice. However, there is very little reliable data on the use of juniper in humans, and additional studies are needed to confirm the effectiveness of juniper in these conditions.
Juniper should only be used occasionally as a diuretic. Do not use juniper for more than 4 weeks without consulting a health care provider.
Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.
What else should I be aware of?
The use of juniper is likely safe in most people when taken in daily recommended amounts. Common side effects of juniper include low blood pressure, frequent urination, irritation, and blisters. Juniper can also damage the kidneys and liver if taken in large amounts. Signs that you are taking too much juniper may include lower back pain, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, blood in the urine, purple urine, skin damage, and seizures.
Juniper may also lower blood sugar and therefore should be used with caution if you have diabetes or are taking medications that can lower blood sugar.
Juniper may increase the risk of bleeding. The dose may need to be adjusted for people who have bleeding disorders or are taking agents with similar bleeding properties (e.g., anticoagulants).
Juniper can interact with the following medications:
- anticoagulants (e.g., heparin, warfarin)
- diabetes medications (e.g., insulin)
- diureticdiuretican agent that increases urine flows (e.g., furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide)
- ginkgo biloba
- devil’s claw
- panax or Siberian ginseng
You should see your doctor before taking juniper if you are breast-feeding or if you have diabetes, high or low blood pressure, bleeding disorders, or gastrointestinal conditions (such as an ulcer or a past history of bleeding in the intestinal tract).
Do not take juniper if you are pregnant or have a kidney condition. Stop taking juniper at least 2 weeks before surgery. Do not take juniper if you are allergic to it or to any plants in the Cupressaceae family.
Consult your health care provider if your symptoms do not go away or if they get worse while you are taking juniper.
Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist or other health care provider. Tell your health care practitioner about any natural health products you may be taking.
- Health Canada. Licensed Natural Health Products. Juniper. Available: http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=123&lang=eng. Accessed April 17 2017
- Juniper monograph. Natural Standard Database. http://www.naturalstandard.com.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/databases/herbssupplements/juniper.asp (Accessed 2 July 2014).
- Juniper. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Available: http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/nd/Search.aspx?cs=&s=ND&pt=100&id=724&ds=&name=JUNIPER&searchid=29071996 (Accessed 24 August 2011)
- Juniper monograph. Lexicomp. Available: http://online.lexi.com.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/lco/action/doc/retrieve/docid/fc_rnp2/3750210#dosage-nested Accessed April 17 2017.
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