Juniper-Tree, or Junipe-rus, L. a native shrub, comprising several species ; of which the principal is the Juniperus communis, or Common Juniper-tree : it grows in many parts of Britain, upon dry, barren commons ; on hills, or in vallies, in open sandy plains, or in moist and close woods, where it generally continues a low shrub : but, if planted in a good soil, it will attain the height of 15 or 16 feet, and produce numerous branches.
The juniper-tree may be propagated by the berries, if they can be procured in a ripe state. It is remarkable, that no grass will grow beneath this shrub ; though the latter is said to be destroyed by the meadow-oat.
Juniper-berries possess a strong, not unpleasant smell; and a warm, pungent, sweet taste ; which, on chewing, or previously well bruising them, is succeeded by a bitterish flavour. They require two years before they ripen, and yield, on expression, a rich, sweet, aromatic juice, bearing some resemblance to the taste of honey. These berries are useful carminatives; for which purposes a spirituous water, and an essential oil, are prepared from them. The Swedes eat them for breakfast, in the form of a conserve - In Germany, they are frequently used as a culinary spice, and especially for imparting their flavour to sauer-kraut. The spirit impregnated with the essential oil of this fruit, is known by the name of Gin, to which we refer.
According to Hoffman, a rob is prepared of the liquor remaining after the distillation of the oil : it. is passed through a strainer, and gentlv exhaled to a due consistence. This he recommends as a medicine of great efficacy, in cases of im-paired digestion and debility of the intestines ; it is also very serviceable to aged persons, labouring under diseases of the urinary passages. The rob is of a balsamic sweet taste, somewhat bitter, accordingly as the seeds have been more or less bruised. One of the best forms, however, is a simple watery infusion of the berries, or the tops, with the addition of a small quantity of gin : thus, a very useful medicine is obtained for dropsical patients.- Linnaeus informs us, that the Laplanders are accustomed to drink such infusions as substitutes for tea and coffee.- The oil of juniper, when mixed with that of nuts, makes an excellent varnish for pictures, wood work, and for preserving iron from rust.
The wood of the juniper-tree is of a reddish colour, very hard and durable : it is employed in marquetry and veneering ; making cups, cabinet. ,etc. while the bark may be manufactured into ropes.-The charcoal made from this wood,' affords the most durable heat, so that live embers are said to have been found in the ashes, after having been covered for 12 months.-The resin of this plant (gum San-Darach), when powdered and rubbed into paper, is frequently used under the name of pounce.-Thrushes and grouse feed on the juniper-berries, and disseminate the seed in their dung.-The sprouts are eaten by horses, sheep, and goats.
Juniper - Tree. - Several useful purposes, to which the fruit, as well as the wood of this van-shrub, may be applied with advantage, have already been stated : and, as the juniper abounds in various parts of England, we extract the following facts relative to its more extensive utility in Finnland; published by M. AlopAEus, in the " Transactions of the Economical Society of Petersburgh."
3. Milk-vessels are preferably made of juniper wood, which is supposed to contribute to the preservation of milk in a sweet state, and to render it more palatable. - When other woods are used for such vessels, they are, for the same purposes, washed with water in which juniper-twigs have been boiled.
4. Warm decoctions of this shrub are frequently given to cows, and sometimes to sheep ; in order to enrich the quality, and increase the quantity, of their milk.
Lastly, juniper-berries are roasted, ground, and prepared in the manner of coffee, for which they are frequently substituted ; affording an excellent palliative in calculous and gouty complaints. - From these berries may also be brewed a cheap, wholesome, and well-flavoured beer, by the following process, which has but lately become generally known in Sweden : - Let 30lbs. of clean juniper berries be pounded in a mortar (we pose, without bruising the stones), and be put in a common mash tub, together
Lag together with 2 1/2 buckets of cold water; suffering the whole to stand 24 hours. When the juice of the berries is sufficiently extracted, the liquor must be drawn off, and boiled in a copper, being carefully skimmed during the ebullition. A due portion of hops is then to be boiled with a little of the wort; incorporated with the whole ; and, as soon as it becomes lukewarm, the yeast ought to be added in the usual manner. When the fermentation ceases, the beer should be poured into a barrel containing a little isinglass; and carefully closed with a bung. - Such beverage is very salubrious and aromatic; but, as it ferments more tardily than common malt liquor, it is apt to become sour: hence, M. Alo-peAUs advises only a small quantity to be brewed at a time.