Juniper is an evergreen conifer or shrub belonging to the cypress family. With a resinous scent and aromatic fruits, juniper is an energetic plant that has been used by many civilizations for healing, therapeutic, and soothing purposes since ancient times.
The oldest source that mentions juniper is the Bible. In its day, the pharaohs used it to smoke religious buildings and as one of the ingredients to ward off evil spirits. Evidence of this can also be found in a number of Roman documents.
The first-century Dioscurides pharmacological encyclopedia describes that juniper cones have contraceptive properties.
Juniper was also used as a relic medicinal plant, mostly for religious ceremonies. Juniper branches were burned in pagan rites to protect themselves from unclean spirits, snakes, and diseases. In ancient Egypt, when juniper was burned, the vapors were inhaled to support the body's natural metabolic and cleansing processes. In ancient Greece and Rome, juniper was considered the best treatment for snakebites.
In the Middle Ages, during epidemics, juniper was used as a disinfectant for smoking rooms. It was widely used to fight plague and other infectious diseases such as smallpox and typhoid. Juniper branches were burned in French hospitals during chickenpox epidemics. Juniper branches were also burned to disinfect ships coming from areas where epidemics have occurred.
The Native Americans used it to treat skin diseases and open wounds, joints, and bone diseases. They left the sick person in juniper forests, where the air was saturated with valuable volatiles to aid the healing process.
Juniper wood, used as a building material, is characterized by greater resistance and immunity to woodworms. Juniper ships were made in Russia. An interesting fact is that the milk in such a container will not turn sour even on a hot day.
In the 16th century, medieval alchemists managed to extract juniper essential oil, which was used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes. Notes of juniper in men's perfumes bring unlimited life energy, tell of an experience in the Mediterranean forest and end with a wonderful view of the sunrise over the sea on the horizon.