This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Juniperus: juniperus vulgaris fruticofa C. B. Juniperus communis Linn. Juniper: an evergreen tree or bush, clothed with slender narrow stiff sharp leaves, like prickles, which stand generally three together: the flowers are a kind of small scaly catkins growing on one plant; the fruit, round berries, growing on a different one, containing, each, three oblong irregular seeds. It is common on heaths in different parts of Europe; and is found, at all seasons of the year, both with unripe green or red berries, and with ripe bluish black ones.
The berries, baccae juniperi Pharm. Lond. & Edinb. are brought chiefly from Holland and Italy: they should be chosen fresh, not much shrivelled, and free from mouldinefs, which they are very subject to contract in keeping. They have a moderately strong not disagreeable smell, and a warm pungent sweetifh taste, which if they are long chewed or previously well bruised, is followed by a considerable bitterness. The sweetness appears to reside in the juice or soft pulpy part of the berry: the bitternefs, in the seeds; and the aromatic flavour, in oily vesicles, spread throughout the substance both of the pulp and of the seeds, and distinguishable even by the eye. The fresh berries yield, on expresllon, a rich, sweet, honey-like aromatic juice: if previously powdered, so as to thoroughly break the seeds, which is not done without difficulty, the juice proves tart and bitter. The same differences are observable also in tinctures and in-fufions made from the dry berries, according as the berry is taken entire or thoroughly bruised.
They give out nearly all theirvirtue both to water and rectified spirit, and tinge the former of a brownish yellow, the latter of a bright orange colour. Distilled with water, they yield a yellowish eslential oil, very subtile and pungent, in smell greatly resembling the berries, in quantity (if they have been sufficiently bruised) about one ounce from forty: the decoction, in-apiffated to the consistence of a rob or extract, has a pleasant, balsamic, sweet taste, with a greater or less degree of bitterishness. A part of the flavour of the berries arises also in distil-lation with rectisied spirit: the inspiffated tincture consists of two distinct substances; one oily and sweet: the other tenacious, resinous, and aromatic.
These berries are useful carminatives, detergents, and diuretics. The distilled oil is a very stimulating diuretic, approaching in quality to that of turpentine, like which, it impregnates the urine with a violet smell: the spirituous extract gives the same kind of smell; as does likewise the berry in substance, in a lower degree; but the watery extract or rob, as being divested of the oil, has no such effect. This last may be used with advantage in cases where the more stimulating preparations would be improper; as in catarrhs, debilities of the stomach and inteftines, and difficulties of the urinary excretions, in persons of an advanced age. Among the aromatics that have been tried in composition with juniper berries, sweet fennel seeds and caraway seeds seem the best adapted to improve their flavour: a cordial water is prepared in the shops by drawing off a gallon of proof spirit from a pound of the berries and an ounce and a half of each of the seeds. The water is slrongly impregnated with the volatile virtue of the berry; to which the more sixt ones may in many cases be usefully superadded, by mixing with it a proper quantity of the rob.
Ol. e baccis juniperi Ph. Lond, & Ed.
The wood, lignum juniperinum, cedrinum lignum Pharm, Paris, has been recommended as a sudorific, and by some accounted similar to guaiacum or saffafras, to either of which it, is greatly inseriour. It'has a weak not unpleasant smell, and very little taste: decoctions and extracts, made from it with water, are dif-agreeably bitterifh, fubaftringent, and balfamic: the spirituous tinctures are weaker than the watery, and yield, on being inspiffated, an almost insipid refin. The quantity of watery extract, according to Cartheufer's experiments, is about one twelfth the weight of the wood;of spirituous extract, one eighth.
In the warmer climates, particularly on the coasts of Africa, there exudes, from a larger species of juniper, a refinous juice, which concretes into femipellucid pale yellowish tears or glebes, resembling maftich, but larger; the sandaracha of the Arabians, and gummi juniperi-num of the shops called by some, from the ufe to which it has been principally applied, vemix. This refin has a light agreeable smell, and no considerable taste: it dissolves in rectified spirit, and in oils both expressed and distilled, but gives out little or nothing to watery liquors, and thus discovers that it is nearly a pure resin. It is supposed to be similar in quality, as in appearance, to mastich; and has been sometimes given internally, against hemorrhagies, old fluxes, and ulcerations; but principally employed externally in corroborant, nervine, traumatic applications. Among us, it is scarcely ever made use of for any medicinal purposes; other refi-nous fubftances, more common in the shops, being apparently superiour to it.
Spiritus juni-peri comp. Ph. Lond.