Sore Muscle Liniment with Juniper

I have a lot of friends with aches and pains due to accidents, injuries, sore/tight muscles or aging. A liniment is similar to a tincture but you are extracting the medcinal properties using rubbing alcohol (as your menstrum) instead of something like vodka. Liniments are for external use only! Liniments feel cooling when there is inflammation and bring blood to the skin where they are applied. They reduce pain and increase circulation (removing heat, stagnation, waste products/toxins). Liniments evaporate quickly without leaving an oily residue, leaving the only the medicine behind to be absorbed by the body. Depending on the herbs chosen they can draw out infection, disinfect, warm, dry, or sooth. Handy to have available for the unexpected sunburn, bruise, sprain, or damaged ligament/tendon. I use 90% rubbing alcohol (not so cheap and easy to get anymore). Select herbs that are resinous (pine, juniper, myrrh) ,have a powerful scent/quality to them (rue, mugwort, rosemary) or are heating (cayenne, mustard). As a folk herbalist I let the plants guide now much I stuff into the jar, then I fill the rest with my menstrum. I let steep 4-6 weeks. A well prepared liniment once strained can last several years. Clear labeling is essential to prevent accidental ingestion. Keep tightly capped for storage in amber bottles.

Juniperus (cultivar)

Juniper grows all over the world. You can find it in the wild and as a common (often unwanted) bush for landscaping. There were two large ones at the end of my driveway during my childhood in the 1970’s. They made excellent forts, a good choice for hide n seek, left an uncomfortable rash, and required “grooming” with hedge clippers on a regular basis. For years my husband and I talked about removing the ones on either side of the back porch. They are not very attractive and provide  the ideal place for leaves, spider webs and rodents to collect. Little did I know until I started researching the traditional medicine of Mexico and the Southwest that I had a treasure in my yard.

Historically the berries are used in cooking for flavor. In healing they are considered a digestive to help with gas, cramping, and stimulating  the appetite. Under the care of an expert it is diuretic for gout and water retention.

It can be used in steams for bronchitis and lung infections.

In a liniment it may help with rheumatism or problems with the bones and joints.

One of my favorite uses of juniper is as an incense/smudge. It burns fast, hot, and produces lots of fragrant smoke.

I hope this post inspires you to look at that “ugly” juniper bush in a new way. One never knows what beauty and use lied hidden beneath the surface.

Is there a plant which you use that other people dislike?

Published by blackbirdsbackyard

My backyard botanical pharmacy is located in Boulder Colorado. I began studying herbal medicinewhen I was 12 years old. In college I studied subjects like anthropology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, After graduation I decided to go to midwifery school. I attended births and had a small practice until I retired early in order to be a mother full time. I have always had an herb garden, gathered plants and made my own healing formulas with plants. Over the last 30 years there have been many teachers and I have attended dozens of workshops. I am one of those people who is always reading, studying and learning. In 2019 I was called to practice as an herbalist professionally, using "plant spirit medicine" and bio-energetic ( 5 element)healing techniques. I feel that there is a big need in the community for my skills and talents. I hope to inspire others to start their own backyard pharmacies as a solution to species extinction and the healthcare crisis in America. Healing has also become a spiritual practice and way for me to feel balanced and connected with nature. I consult with clients in person, teach classes (adults and kids), give tours of my garden and offer apprenticeships. Health, joy, meaning, and support are everyone's birthright.

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