09 June 2009

A Healing Herb: Juniper
This conifer still grows in Israel and is likely to be the "algum timber" King Solomon requested of Hiram, King of Tyre, in Chronicles 2:8–9. Its essential oil is known as cade oil or juniper tar and is prized for its fresh scent. This essential oil is commonly used in men's fragrances and in soaps. Edible juniper berries and needles are even used to flavor smoked meats.

In addition to treating psoriasis, eczema, and other skin and scalp conditions, juniper oil has been prized throughout history for its antiseptic qualities. The lignans in some junipers could also be used to produce etoposide, a drug used to treat testicular and lung cancers. A potent antiviral compound in junipers may also inhibit several viruses, including those linked with the flu and herpes. Source: Rex Russell, What the Bible Says About Healthy Living (Regal Books, July 1, 1996)

My friend Dawn is quite gifted when it comes to making gorgeous holiday wreaths. She often includes some juniper berries in her fraser fir wreaths. I never even thought of using these for any type of decorating but they are so pretty in arrangements, and not just during winter. Juniper berries for cooking purposes can be found in the spice aisle of your grocery store. Experiment with them when cooking your next roast. They're pungent, so use them sparingly.

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