Part of the plant used: berry
Juniper is an evergreen shrub that can grow to be three meters. Its purple berries take two to three years to ripen and are harvested in the fall. They are used to flavour various alcohols including gin.
The berries are usually ingested in the form of an infusion but can also be grounded and taken with water. They are also available in liquid form (liquid extract, essential oil, infusion). For topical use, ground berries can be added to bath water.
To date, no studies to have been conducted to prove the benefits of juniper berries in humans.
To date, there is little information on dosage but typical doses vary between 1 to 2 grams of berries, 3 times a day. Berry infusions are made with 2 to 3 grams per 150 ml of water, infused for ten or so minutes.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
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