A funny thing about Plant medicine, is that as you delve into the world of the green allies, they begin to shout out to you to offer assistance. All ya gotta do is listen to hear whose calling and be discriminative with who you choose. Juniper was the loud one this morning, and I had such a great experience with it that I thought to share…Ahhh, Juniper.
This morning I woke up to a cold, dreary autumn day….feeling cold and dreary deep down into my bones. My sinuses have been congested for days & I know my body has been fighting off the many viruses that have been flying around our little Asheville community. So in my morning practice I realized what a pain in the butt a stuffed up nose was going to be. But I was determined.
So I put 8 drops of Juniper into an aromatherapy diffuser and began meditating. The past 5 days have been varied & intense with hosting herbal medicine making parties to performing with Secret Agent 23 Skidoo to shamanic breathwork to teaching advanced yoga practices with the Shanti collective…whew! and my body & nervous system was vibrating. Smelling Juniper and taking in its plant spirit, I felt an immediate sense of calm tranquility claim my spine. It carried me into realms of sensual earthiness, relaxing both my body and nervous system in a manner that was clarifying and stimulating. It helped me to assimilate the busyness and transformative energies of the past few days while clearing up my senses so that I could truly ‘see’. What an amazing plant to bring into meditation.
Juniperus communis, or Juniper, is a native to our big island America & is a relative of the cypress family. It can be taken as a tincture or in tea (you would use the berries). Since it is a native here, it is practically everywhere, often used as a plant to prevent erosion on the edges of properties and as a trustworthy ornamental in commercial landscaping. So if you happen to see some beautiful purple berries growing on your local juniper bush, grab a few and throw them into your tea! (make sure its not dog territory though!) They are warming and aromatic, and extremely useful for the kidneys-specifically water retention such as edema & uric acid buildup. They are also wonderful with uva ursi & marshmallow root for bladder infections after the heat of the initial infection is past. *Times to avoid this plant is when suffering from an acute inflammation because the plant is stimulating with its pungent & warming oils.**
Cascade Anderson Geller, at one of our local Gaia conferences claimed that sprigs of Juniper commonly used to be thrown into meat dishes to help with digestion. So not only does this awesome plant dry up mucus in the lungs and support exhausted kidneys, but it helps prevent (or dispel) gas.
On a side note, Monica Furlong wrote a series of books about a wise herbal woman named Juniper. These books have been my daughter’s and my favorite’s for years….we have read them over and over. So if you are interested in witchy ways & powerful herbal women..check them out! (I would read them even if I didn’t have a child!)