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Juniperus Communis.

Botanical name:

Related entry: Oil of cade

The fruit (berries) of the Juniperus communis, Linné (Nat. Ord. Cupressaceae). An evergreen tree of Europe and America.
Common Names: Juniper, Juniper Berries.

Principal Constituents.—A volatile oil (Oleum Juniperi) and an amorphous body, juniperin.
Preparations.—1. Infusum Juniperi, Infusion of Juniper (Berries, 1 ounce; Boiling Water, 16 fluidounces; let stand one hour). Dose, 2 to 4 fluidounces.
2. Oleum Juniperi, Oil of Juniper. Colorless, faintly green or yellow oil of the juniper taste and odor. It should be kept protected from light in amber-hued bottles and in a cool place. Dose, 2 to 15 minims.
3. Spiritus Juniperi, Spirit of juniper (5 per cent oil). Dose, 5 to 60 minims.
4. Spiritus Juniperi Compositus, Compound Spirit of Juniper (Oils of juniper, Caraway, Fennel, Alcohol, and Water). Dose, 1 to 4 fluidrachms.
Specific Indications.—Renal atony with catarrhal and pus discharges; non-inflammatory irritability of the neck of the bladder.

Action and Therapy.—Juniper is a gastric stimulant and a stimulating diuretic to be used in atonic and depressed conditions, usually in chronic affections of the kidneys and urinary passages with catarrhal or pus-laden discharges. It is especially valuable in renal atony in the aged, with persistent sense of weight and dragging in the lumbar region. In uncomplicated renal hyperaemia or congestion, when the circulation is weak and no fever or inflammation is present, the careful use of juniper will relieve, and if albumen is present it may disappear under its use. It is often of great value in chronic nephritis, catarrh of the bladder, and chronic pyelitis to stimulate the sluggish epithelia and cause a freer flow of urine to wash away the unhealthy secretions. It is sometimes of value after scarlet fever or in the late stages when the kidneys are not yet inflamed, and after acute nephritis when the renal tone is diminished and secretion of urine is imperfect. Under no circumstances should it be used when there is active inflammation. The infusion is extremely useful in irritation of the bladder with recurrent attacks of distressing pain and frequent urination in women during the menopause and apparently due to taking cold. The infusion of juniper is the best preparation for most purposes. A pint may be taken in a day. When an alcoholic stimulant is needed in the above-named condition the spirit or compound spirit may be used. The oil is often efficient in non-inflammatory prostatorrhea and gleet. Juniper preparations are frequently exhibited in chronic structural diseases of the heart, liver, and kidneys, to stimulate the sound tissues to functionate and relieve the attendant dropsy. Usually they are combined with agents like citrate or acetate of potassium or with spirit of nitrous ether. In these conditions they must be used with judgment and caution. No preparation of juniper should be given in doses larger than recommended above, as suppression of urine, strangury, hematuria, or even uremic convulsions may result from its use.


The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.



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