Juniper is a coniferourus plant of the cypress family of plants of which there are over 60 species. They vary in size from huge trees to small shrubs but on average they are between 10 and 50 metres high.They are a form of evergreen plant with the leaves resembling thin needles and bear a fruit usually of a blue colour but they can be red or orange aswell.
Juniper berries are a spice used in a wide variety of culinary dishes and best known for the primary flavoring in gin and A juniper based spirit is made by fermenting juniper berries and water to create a "wine" that is then distilled. This is often sold as a juniper brandy in eastern Europe. In the Argonautica, Medea uses a freshly cut spray of juniper to sprinkle her sleeping potion into the eyes of the serpent guarding the Golden Fleece and the Brother's Grimm tell of a juniper tree that appears to act as a magical guide and guardian for the people of the household. Juniper tea after dinner is said to help improve digestion, reduce blood sugar spikes and help the body rid itself of uric acid to relieve and prevent gout. Juniper ash is considered to be one of the main sources of calcium for the Navajo people. Some Indigenous peoples, such as the Dineh, have traditionally used juniper for diabetes. Native Americans have also used juniper berries as a female contraceptive. The 17th Century herbalist physician Nicholas Culpeper recommended the ripened berries for conditions such as asthma and sciatica, as well as to speed childbirth.
Magickally Juniper is an excellent purification plant. It can be used to cleanse ritual spaces or magical tools. It is strongly protective and dispels negative energies and entities. It is often used as incense in healing rituals and to purify rooms and spaces. During meditation it helps focusing and concentration. It has also been associated with prophecy and divination. Wearing a sprig of Juniper is believed to protect you from accidents and wild animal attacks. Hung at your door for protection of you and your home from evil forces, evil people, harmful spirits and sickness. Juniper is also a relatively common ingredient in Kyphi, incense used in ancient Egyptian temples and households. Juniper can also be used as a protective charm against troublesome spirits as well as thieves. The tree itself can be grown near the door or along the path to the house, branches spread out on the ground around the entrance or boughs hung above entrances.
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