By Isabella @TheWandCarver
Of the Juniper bush, Nicholas Culpeper wrote in his famous The Complete Herbal and English Physician, “They [Juniper bushes] grow plentifully in divers woods in Kent, Warney common near Brentwood in Essex upon Finchley Common without Highgate; hard by the Newfound Wells near Dulwich, upon a Common between Mitcham and Croydon, in the Highgate near Amersham in Buckinghamshire, and many other places.” Of course, Mr Culpeper would not have known they also were growing in Europe, Southwest Asia, and North America. He wrote about what was on hand mainly in England in the 1700’s and how each herb, spice, flower, and tree could lend itself to healing in the medicine of the times. His information was good for his time and is still as useful today.
We can not speak of the berries, which many of us use for different purposes in magick and healing without first speaking of the bush/tree, of course. And now that we have done, Mr Culpeper has more information regarding the Juniper, “The berries are not ripe the first year, but continue green two Summers and one Winter before they are ripe; at which time they are all of a black colour, and therefore you shall always find upon the bush green berries; the berries are ripe about the fall of the leaf.”
The Juniper bush can grow up to 25 feet tall…I would say that is quite a large bush, indeed! And any lover of a good G and T [gin and tonic] knows the primary ingredient in gin is Juniper berries. But we shall now ponder the magickal and healing ways of the berries.
Juniper berries, if added to sachets and carried with, will protect the wearer from accidents and theft, as well as from attacks from wild animals and snakes.
The berries are also said to increase male potency.
If Juniper is grown by or hung dry by any entry door of your home, it is said that the home will be protected against evil forces and persons.
Juniper Berries are good for increasing psychic powers and other popular uses including incense mixtures for exorcism and breaking hexes. It is also used in love spells.
Juniper has been said to be the guardian of the veil – the veil between the worlds.
For any magickal undertaking, the berries can be dried and crushed to be used in incenses for your purpose. They can also be added to poppets and sachets for the reasons you wish to use their magickal properties and drinking Juniper berry tea is helpful when seeking out the other side as in hedgewitchery and necromancy. Do not drink the tea or work with Juniper berries if you are pregnant.
Juniper berries are known for having health properties that improve memory and mental clarity.
Juniper berries act as a parasiticide (parasite destroyer) and antiseptic. Nicholas Culpeper writes, “The berries stay all fluxes, help the haemorrhoids or piles, and kill worms in children.”
Apparently, a great ridder of ‘wind’ [after all the rich foods partaken of back in the day, no doubt!] for Mr Culpeper also states, “…strengthens the stomach exceedingly, and expels the wind. Indeed, there is scarce a better remedy for wind in any part of the body, or the cholic than the chymical oil drawn from the berries.”
Juniper berries are excellent to use in a tea for its detoxifying properties and can aid in the treatment of gout and rheumatoid arthritis. This is confirmed by Culpeper as he writes, “…[Juniper berries] are excellently good in all sorts of agues; help the gout and sciatica and strengthen the limbs of the body.” The berries are also known as an excellent diuretic and is proved again by Culpeper, “they provoke urine exceedingly, and are therefore very available to all dysuries and stranguaries.”
Culpeper also says Juniper berries are “a most admirable counter-poison, and as great a register of the pestilence as any growing; they are excellent good against the bitings of venomous beasts.” I have no doubt this is true.
Powers: Protection, Mental Health, Love, Male Potency, Increasing Psychic Powers, and Breaking Hexes
Deity: Bridghid/Bridget, Dhatara, Frey, Helios/Sol, Lucifer, Mithra, Ra, Savitar, Apollo, Inanna/Ishtar
Folk Names: enebro, gemeiner wachholder, geneva, gin berry, ginepro and gin plant
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The Complete Herbal and English Physician, by Nicholas Culpeper c 1702
The Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs, by Scott Cunningham