Specification & Spread
Juniper fruits — fructus juniperi
Juniper — juniperus communis l.
Сypress family — cupressaceae
Other names: cedar, cade.
It is an evergreen coniferous shrub with 1-3 m tall, less often a small tree, with needle-thorny leaves, arranged in verticils of 3 each.
The plant is dioecious.
The male cones are yellow, small.
The female cones consist of the lower covering scales and the three upper fertile animals, in the axils of which there is one ovule each. After fertilization, fruitful scales grow, become fleshy, and grow together, forming a «fruit» - a cone.
The «fruits» in the first year of life are green, ripen only by the fall of the second, or even the third, year, and become blue-black with a bluish wax bloom.
Spreading. It grows in the forest and forest-steppe zones of the European part of the country, the Caucasus, Siberia and the north of Central Asia. Despite the wide distribution, large thickets does not form.
Habitat. It grows in the undergrowth of coniferous and mixed forests, often forming thickets on clearings and along forest edges. It is also found in dry pine forests, along river banks and wooded mountain slopes. It is renewed only by seed.
The chemical composition of juniper
In all the organs of the plant contains essential oil, little different in composition. The content of essential oil in cones is 0.5-2%.
Essential oil mainly contains:
- alpha pinen,
- as well as cadin,
- borneol and other terpenoids.
In addition, the cones contain:
- sugar (up to 40%),
- resin (up to 9.5%),
- organic acids (malic, formic, acetic),
Harvesting and storage of raw materials
Harvesting. When planning harvesting, it is necessary to take into account the frequency of «fruiting». The harvesting of «fruits» is carried out in the fall (from the end of August to the end of October), during the period of full ripening. Under the plant harvesters spread the fabric and gently shake it by the stock or branches, while the mature cones fall off, while the green ones remain on the plant. Hands are protect with tight mittens. When harvesting, it is not recommended to strike with sticks on the trunk and branches, as this leads to the shedding of green pine cones and needles and the pollution of the raw materials.
Security measures. It is forbidden to churn «fruit» with a bush with sticks. When harvesting, the cutting of the plants themselves and their branches is unacceptable.
Drying. Before drying, the raw materials are cleared of needles, twigs, and immature «fruits». Dry the raw materials under canopies or in heat dryers when the raw material is heated no higher than 30 ºС. Dry weather is acceptable in dry weather. The raw materials are scattered in a thin layer so that the cones do not «self-heat».
Storage. In is stored in a dry, well-ventilated area, separately from other types of raw materials, packed in bags, in pharmacies - in closed boxes, cans. It should take care of the raw materials from rodents.
External signs of raw materials
The «fruits» are with a diameter of 6-9 mm, spherical, often slightly depressed on the sides, smooth, shiny, less often matte. At the top of the «fruit» there are three converging grooves; at the base (under a magnifying glass) - two three-leaf whorls of brown scales. In the loose pulp of the «fruit» there are 3 (sometimes 1-2) seeds.
The seeds are oblong-triangular, convex on the outside and flat on the inner contacting sides, 4-5 mm long. The rind of the seed is hard. On the cross-section in the pulp of the «fruit» under a magnifying glass large essential oil containers are visible.
The admixture of fruits of other types of juniper, especially poisonous savine juniper, is unacceptable.
The colour of the «fruits» on the outside is almost black or purple with a brownish tint, sometimes with a bluish wax coating; the pulp - greenish-brown; the seeds - yellowish-brown.
The smell is peculiar, fragrant.
The taste is sweetish, spicy.
Properties and application
Pharmacotherapeutic group. Diuretic agent.
The pharmacological properties of juniper
Juniper «fruits» possess:
- antipyretic properties,
- stimulate digestion.
Essential oil is obtained from the juniper needles, has in the experiment:
- pain reliever and
- deodorizing effect,
- promotes regeneration and accelerated healing of wounds.
The therapeutic effect of the essential oil is due to the sum of its substances.
From the components of the essential oil, the most studied:
- alpha pinen and
- terpineol with diuretic properties.
It is established that it:
- enhances glomerular filtration and
- prevents the reabsorption of sodium chloride in convoluted tubules of the kidneys.
In addition, terpineol:
- enhances bile formation and
- gastric juice secretion
- disinfects pulmonary tract,
- deodorizes sputum,
- dilutes it, which contributes to its more rapid removal.
Application of juniper
Juniper cones are used as:
- diuretic in patients with edema of cardiac origin and in disorders of salt metabolism.
In chronic pyelonephritis, cystitis, urolithiasis without signs of renal failure, juniper preparations are prescribed as a disinfectant and diuretic.
Juniper preparations are used for:
- pulmonary diseases involving the separation of purulent sputum (lung abscess, chronic pneumonia),
- as well as in inflammatory diseases of the oropharynx in the form of gargles.
To improve digestion, juniper preparations are prescribed to patients with:
- insufficient secretory and motor activity of the stomach and intestines,
- gallstone disease and
Infusions of juniper cones are used to
- inhalation and rinsing for diseases of the upper respiratory tract.
The «fruits» of juniper are contraindicated in:
- acute nephritis and nephrosis,
- gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer,
- acute gastritis and colitis.
The harvesting, which include the «fruits» of juniper, should not be used for a long time, since the resins contained in them have an irritating effect on the parenchyma of the kidneys.
- Ulcerative diseases of the gastrointestinal tract during an exacerbation;
- exacerbation of renal diseases;
- acute course of colitis and gastritis;