The juniper is an evergreen tree native to Europe, Asia, and the northern parts of North America and it is especially abundant in central Texas and Eastern Oregon. The history and folklore concerning the juniper tree is long reaching. The first recorded mention of use is in an Egyptian papyrus from 1500 B.C.E. Juniper was the symbol of the Canaanites fertility goddess Ashera. Western European folklore tells that is a juniper tree is planted by the door to your home, a witch cannot enter. Juniper incense has also been used by the Scottish to ward off the evil eye, and by the Tibetans to remove demons. The purple, blue, violet, or blackish-brown fruits are harvested in early autumn for culinary and medicinal use.
Primarily sugars, but also pinene, limonene, tannins, and antioxidant flavonoids.
The berries, whole, ground, or rubbed through a sieve. To prevent loss of essential oil, juniper berries should not be ground, crushed, or rubbed until just before use. The herb is frequently combined with birch leaf, horsetail, parsley "seed," or restharrow in herbal diuretic teas.
May be taken as a tea, extract or capsule, and may be liberally sprinkled on food or added to drinks and smoothies.
Today, the best known use of juniper berries is the main flavoring agent in gin.