Report on Juniper Side Effects and Usage


Natural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening. The following is a list of cautions that you should be aware of before using Juniper (Juniperus communis). These are referred to as drug/herb interactions.

Warning 1 – Counterindications: Pregnancy, lactation, and those with reduced kidney or bladder functions. Juniper may cause miscarriage or pre-term labor in pregnant women.

Warning 2 – Lithium: The use of juniper with lithium causes dehydration and lithium toxicity.

Warning 3 – Diabetes: Using juniper with diabetes medications may cause your blood sugar level to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dosage of your diabetes medication may need to be adjusted if you use juniper. These medications include rosiglitazone (Avandia), glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), Glynase PresTab, glipizide (Glucotrol), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

Warning 4 – Diuretics: Taking juniper along with “water pills” may cause the body to lose too much water. Losing too much water (dehydration) can cause dizziness low blood pressure. Examples of “water pills” include hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, chlorothiazide (Diuril), furosemide (Lasix), Hydrodiuril, Microzide), chlorthalidone (Thalitone), and others.

Used as a natural health remedy: Juniper is used internally for the following benefits and conditions:

  • Arthritis (See other herbs for inflammation)
  • Bronchitis
  • Diuretic to increase the flow of urine
  • Dyspepsia
  • Enmenagogue, or uterine stimulant to induce labor
  • Prevent formation of gas (flatulence) and eases its passing
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

Side Effects of Juniper

  1. Juniper seems to be safe for most adults when taken short-term however, skin and respiratory allergic reactions have been reported. The symptoms of a juniper allergy include sneezing, coughing, rash, hives and wheezing.
  2. Long-term daily use of juniper (longer than 4 weeks) can cause kidney problems, seizures, and other serious side effects.
  3. There is some evidence to suggest that applying juniper to the skin may cause carcinogenic DNA damage and, in large doses, convulsions and renal damage. The long-term effects are still unknown.

Other side effects may also occur when using Juniper internally. (See form below)

As with any herb, a serious allergic reaction is possible. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction. These may include a rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.

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For questions and answers about the side effects of herbs see the Herb Forum

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