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The benefits and harms of juniper

The benefits and harms of juniper

Juniper is a distant relative of pines and spruces, fills the air with freshness and purity, heals by simply growing nearby: it actively destroys harmful microorganisms, relieves headaches, helps to strengthen the nervous system and good rest.

It is a coniferous, evergreen shrub from the cypress family (Cupressaceae). The homeland of the shrub is Europe. Under good conditions it can live from 500 to 3,000 years.

The coniferous shrub actively purifies the air, releasing useful compounds - phytoncides, in addition, it favorably emphasizes the beauty of the garden. The unpretentious plant attracts with the grace of colors and shapes, worthy of the attention of the most discerning connoisseurs of nature.

Juniper has long been valued as one of the most useful plants, but most of its species contain a dangerous poison. If you're going to grow this fancy, evergreen tree, learn as much as you can about it.

A long-lived tree is used in carpentry, fruits and shoots are used in medicine and cosmetology.

More than 50 species are known, but only one of them can be used as a medicine - common juniper. The rest of the species, such as: Cossack, Chinese, Virginian and others, are grown exclusively for decorative purposes, for landscaping a garden or park.

Juniper virginiana (Juniperus virginiana)

Frost-resistant and drought-resistant plant, the height of which reaches 30 m.

Rarely exposed to diseases and pests. The bark of the tree is resistant to decay. The crown is dense, regular shape. The color of the needles is dark green.

The bluish-white cones that appear during the fruiting period make the bush especially attractive.

But be careful, all parts of the plant contain toxic substances.

Looks good in mixed and group compositions next to low deciduous or coniferous plants.

Juniper horizontal (Juniperus horizontalis)

Coniferous shrub with a shallow root system, a creeping crown and vertically directed shoots.

It looks especially attractive in spring, when small needles change their bluish-purple color to bright blue.

The plant is frost-hardy, prefers sunlight, but is able to adapt to life in partial shade.

Sandy loam soil and high humidity are suitable. Be careful, round fruits, blue-gray or deep blue, contain poisonous essential oil.

They are used for single plantings or as a beautiful accent in a landscape composition.

It will look great in the design of alpine slides or curb hedges.

Juniper Cossack (Juniperus sabina)

A fast-growing evergreen shrub with a spreading, dense crown.

Differs in unpretentiousness to the conditions of detention, can be grown both on stony and sandy soil, but does not like excessive waterlogging.

The needles have the shape of small needles of green color, soft to the touch with a bluish tint.

Usually planted in large groups instead of a lawn or in company with other conifers, it creates an excellent decoration for the garden area.

Be careful - this is the most poisonous type of juniper. Shoots, leaves and fruits contain highly toxic resins and essential oils. The plant is poisonous, its attractive berries and aromatic needles contain substances hazardous to health.

Chinese Juniper (Juniperus chinensis)

It is characterized by slow growth, silvery needles with a blue tint and thorny needles instead of leaves. Morozov is not afraid, for good growth he needs fertile soil and a sufficient amount of sunlight. The pleasant aroma of Chinese juniper is an excellent prevention of most infectious diseases.

Looks majestically against the background of garden compositions and alone. Despite its attractive appearance, the fruits and shoots of the plant are poisonous.

Reclining juniper (Juniperus procumbens)

Sun-loving creeping shrub of small stature. The branches are densely arranged, rather rigid, bluish needles are tightly pressed against each other.

It takes root best in well-drained soil that is not overloaded with fertilizers. It has the ability to quickly get used to the climate, easily withstands heat and hibernates without problems.

Most often used as a ground cover plant or to decorate stone compositions.

Be careful - small, cone-shaped fruits are highly poisonous.

Coastal juniper (Juniperus conferta)

A dwarf creeping, slow-growing shrub.

The needles are prickly, bluish or gray-green in color. Branched shoots, creeping, long.

Not very picky about the soil, loves sunny places, hardy.

The fruits are similar in appearance to blueberries, but beware - they are highly toxic.

It is used by landscape designers to create hedges or group and single plantings.

In winter, it looks as smart as in summer.

Rocky juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)

One of the most popular species. Its blue scaly needles are becoming more beautiful every year.

The crown is conical, pointed towards the top, does not need additional shaping.

Blue cones, which are very dangerous due to their high content of toxic substances, add to the attractiveness.

The shrub serves as an excellent decoration for garden plots, due to its compactness and undemandingness.

It can be placed in the center of the plant composition; alleys with rocky juniper also look advantageous. The slenderness and amazing color of the needles distinguishes it from other plants.

Juniper medium (Juniperus media)

Fast growing plant with a spreading crown and hanging shoots.

The color of the needles in the summer is green, and in the winter with a yellow tint.

Most often it is used to decorate the lower tier in large landscape compositions. Also looks great in small rock gardens.

When pruning shrubs, use a gauze bandage and gloves, as the juice of fruits and shoots is poisonous, can irritate the skin and burn the mucous membrane.

Scaly Juniper (Juniperus squamata)

The fluffy crown of the shrub is spread out at a young age, later it rises. The ends of the shoots are hanging down.

Thorny dense needles in winter are gray with a metallic tint, in the rest of the year they are blue.

Fruits are oval, dark blue. Remember the main thing - berries and shoots contain poison.

The coniferous bush will perfectly fit into the interior of a small personal plot, the Alpine compositions created with its use look mesmerizing.

Common juniper (Juniperus communis)

It is a dioecious plant, there are male and female species. The crown is conical. Scaly leaves smell fragrant, the smell is especially intensified after rain or under the influence of scorching sunlight. Fruits in large cone-shaped berries of dark blue or deep blue color. The taste of the fruit is pleasantly sweet.

The branchy tree prefers light, nutritious soil. The fruits have a high content of essential oil, valuable organic acids, carbohydrates, elements important for the human body: manganese, iron, copper. The bark of the plant contains resin and tannins. Healing decoctions, tinctures, ointments are prepared from the fruits for the treatment of inflammatory diseases, and are also used as an anesthetic and cleansing agent.

Harvesting should be in late autumn, before frost. It is better to wear cotton gloves to avoid injuring your skin on thorny bushes. The berries can be carefully picked from the branches or the fruits can be chickened into a pre-spread bedding. Then you need to clean the berries from leaves and insects. The recommended temperature for drying is up to 35 ° C, at a higher temperature the berries lose their medicinal properties.

For storing dried berries, a sealed box or glass jar with a tight lid is suitable.

Before starting treatment, be sure to consult with your doctor to find out if you have any contraindications to the use of a medicinal product based on juniper.

Attention: The berries of common juniper and Cossack juniper are very similar, and the latter contains a poison that is dangerous to humans.

The fruits of the common juniper are distinguished by their spherical shape with a three-ray groove at the top, black-blue, shiny. Cossack juniper berries have a brownish-gray color, and two seeds in the middle of the fruit. Until full maturity, the berries ripen for 2 years. Ripe berries are blue and fall off the bush easily.

If you are not sure, it is better not to take risks by harvesting the fruits yourself for treatment. In this case, purchase ready-made infusions or dried berries of a medicinal plant at the pharmacy.


  • - pregnancy - the active substances of the coniferous bush increase blood circulation, which threatens with bleeding and even disruption of pregnancy;
  • - excessive use of drugs from juniper can provoke a failure in the cardiovascular system, cause poisoning;
  • - jade;
  • - children's age up to 3 years.

Growing a juniper, you will get an excellent air purifier and a storehouse of many medicinal substances, as well as add bright colors to your garden - landscape design will look elegant at any time of the year.

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