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Juniper berries contain up to 2 percent volatile oil and 10 percent resin. The oil contains more than one hundred compounds including monoterpenes such as alpha and beta-pinene, myrcene, limonene, sabinene, and an alcohol, terpinene-4-ol, which appears to be responsible for the diuretic properties attributed to juniper berries. The berries also contain as much as 30 percent invert sugar and small amounts of catechins, flavonoids, and leucoanthocyanidins.
The traditional use of juniper is as a diuretic and to treat conditions of the bladder or kidneys. Diuretic action of the essential oil is well established and attributed to terpinene-4-ol, which increases the filtration rate of the kidney. Waterbased extracts such as tea may not increase urination, although such an extract did lower blood pressure 27 percent in an experiment in rats. At high doses, however, juniper berries or their extract can be very irritating to the kidney. It is a component of a number of herbal diuretic mixtures available in Europe. Another traditional use of juniper berries or their extract is to pique the appetite or to aid digestion. Extracts apparently increase peristalsis and intestinal tone. Juniper berries were traditionally classified as "carminative," meaning they can relieve flatulence. This use has not been carefully studied. The Swedes traditionally used juniper berry extracts topically to treat wounds and inflamed joints. Juniper tar has been used occasionally in combination with other plant tars to treat psoriasis of the scalp. Test tube studies show that juniper berries can inhibit prostaglandin synthesis, which suggests that the traditional use for easing arthritis pain may have some scientific basis. In addition, they apparently inhibit platelet-activating factor (PAF), which would discourage blood clots. This is not a traditional use for juniper berries in herbal medicine. Juniper berry extract also has antioxidant activity. Animal studies indicate that juniper berries lower blood sugar in experimentally induced diabetes. It has not been tested for this effect in humans.
Due to potential damage to the kidneys, juniper should never be taken for more than six weeks continuously. Anyone with serious kidney diseases or taking diuretic drugs should not take juniper. Application of the essential oil directly to skin can cause a rash. Pregnant women should avoid juniper, as it may cause uterine contractions.
(Planta Med. 2004 May;70(5):471-4)
Inhibitory Activity of Juniperus communis on 12(S)-HETE Production in Human Platelets.
Schneider I, Gibbons S, Bucar F.
Institute of Pharmacognosy, Karl-Franzens-University, Graz, Austria.
Extracts of Juniperus communis L. (Cupressaceae) have been evaluated for their inhibitory activity on human platelet-type 12(S)-lipoxygenase [12(S)-LOX]. The methylene chloride extracts of Juniperi lignum, Juniperi pseudo-fructus and the ethyl acetate extract of Juniperi pseudo-fructus showed a significant inhibition on the production of 12(S)-HETE [12(S)-hydroxy-5,8,10,14-eicosatetraenoic acid] at 100 microg/mL (54.0 +/- 6.73, 66.2 +/- 4.03 and 76.2 +/- 3.36 %, respectively). From the methylene chloride extract of the wood, cryptojaponol and beta-sitosterol were isolated as compounds with inhibitory activity (inhibition at 100 microg/mL = 55.4 +/- 2.80 % [IC (50) = 257.5 microM] and 25.0 +/- 2.15 %, respectively). In addition, a lipid fraction containing unsaturated fatty acids contributed to the in vitro activity of the crude extract.
Saudi Med J. 2004 Feb;25(2):156-63. Related Articles, Links
Cytotoxic effects of some animal and vegetable extracts and some chemicals on liver and colon carcinoma and myosarcoma.
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science and Arts, University of Dumlupinar, Kutahya, Turkey. Tel. +90 (274) 2652051 Ext. 3155. Fax. +90 (274) 2652056. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
OBJECTIVE: To study, the cytotoxic effects of some biological and chemical agents on G1, S, G2, M and G0 phases of liver and colon carcinomas and myosarcoma cells obtained with chemical carcinogens dimethylbenzanthracene (DMBA) and cadmium chloride. METHODS: Eight rabbit livers, colon carcinoma and myosarcoma cell lines were obtained by injection of DMBA in the Biology Laboratory, of the University of Dumlupinar, Kutahya, Turkey between January 2001 and June 2003. All lines were grown at 37degrees celsius and 5% carbon dioxide in sterile RPMI-1640 medium with 10% fetal bovine serum after addition of glutamate, penicillin (50 units/ml) and streptomycin (50 ug/ml) (complete medium). Cells were grown on standard tissue culture plastic flasks to 80% confluence and passed by trypsinization. RESULTS: Tortoise (Testudo graeca) shell, sponge (Geodia cydonium), medusa (Aurelia aurita), meat flies (Calliphora erythrocephala) larva, frog (Rana ridibunda) larva and juniper (Juniperus communis) berry extracts killed a large amount of the liver and colon carcinomas and the myosarcoma cells in G2, M and G0 phases (p<0.01). The mistletoe (Viscum album) extract had more effect in only the G0 phase (p<0.05). Genistein, genistin, glycitein, glycitin, daitzein and daitzin have significantly decreased in the cancer cells tests, particularly, genistein and daitzein caused the apoptotic effect in G2, M and G0 phases (p<0.01). Cesium chloride, a mixture of cesium chloride with magnesium chloride had the most effect on tumor cells (p<0.01). AzhexSi, Azhex-AzhepSi, Et-Azhex-AzhepSi, AzhepSi, Hexamine and DL 54 have been inhibited in various levels of the cancer cells (p<0.05, p<0.01). CONCLUSION: This data suggest that some biological extracts and chemicals tested may be useful chemotherapeutic agents to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. This study sheds some light for new anti cancerogenic experiments preventing various cancers on humans.
Il gemmoderivato, ottenuto dalla macerazione di giovani getti di Juniperus c., è attivo nell'insufficienza epatica conclamata con profonda alterazione dei dati di laboratorio. Esso influenza le funzioni dell'organo nella sua totalità: funzioni lipidiche, protidiche, glucidiche.
Sperimentalmente corregge l'ipoalbuminemia, normalizza il profilo proteico, riduce l'ipercolesterolemia, l'iperglicemia e l'iperuricemia.
- Insufficienza epatocellulare conclamata.
- Cirrosi epatica, specialmente negli alcoolisti (P. Henry).
- Aerofagia e/o turbe dispeptiche.
- Diabete mellito.
- Aterosclerosi. Dislipidemia (tipo II secondo Fredrickson).
- Insufficienza renale con ritenzione idrica.
- Litiasi renale.
- Insufficienza epato-cellulare= epatite cronica persistente, epatite da farmaci e tossica.
- Cirrosi alcolica ipertrofica.
- Ipertensione portale.
- Varici esofagee gastriche.
- Ascite all'inizio.
- Pielonefrite cronica.
- Alternata con Calluna Vulgaris:
Litiasi renale calcica (da ossalati)
- Alternata con Barberis 3X:coliche epatiche recidivanti.