I love the smell and the look of evergreens.
On our recent trip to Colorado, I could not take enough pictures of all the snow-covered evergreens. It reminded me of one of my favorite landscaping evergreen: the juniper berry. This landscaping plant is overlooked for their holistic, culinary and aromatherapy properties. The tiny, bluish berries have a lot of value and most people don’t realize it when they plant the juniper bush in their yard.
If you burn juniper, the smoke is a natural bug repellent. And, it cleanses the air of infection, as well. On your next camping trip, look for a juniper bush. You can use it to kindle your campfire and kill insects also. Old fashion recipes called for dried juniper berries for stuffings and sauces. You may want to avoid picking the berry in early spring, they will have a pitchy bold taste, but if the berries are picked at the end of summer they are sweet in flavor which is good for wild game meat. If you wanted a little alcohol with your wild game meat, you might make yourself some gin with the berries, as well.
The Navaho Indians not only used the juniper berries for culinary purposes but for holistic purposes too. The berries have diuretic properties that promote the detoxing of the urinary tract, kidney, and bladder. It was/is used for upset stomachs, bloating, gas and heartburn. It is also used externally to treat skin wounds and snake bites with it’s antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties.
The juniper bush can sure pack a punch when it comes to being useful. When selecting landscape shrubs, trees, flowers or other plants; don’t forget to think of the juniper bush. It looks beautiful and smells wonderful. Most importantly, it has culinary and medicinal properties.