Juniper (crowberry)

Dave Jones
Alestine Andre
Gwichya Gwich'in Name: 
deetrèe jàk
Teetł’it Gwich’in Name:: 
ts'ìivii ch'ok
Latin Name: 
Juniperus communic
As medicine 
Juniper berry tea can be made by washing and boiling the berries (in combination with the branches and roots, if desired). Caroline Cardinal used to boil juniper berries as a medicine for chest pains, bad colds, coughs and congestion. The steam produced by this mixture is also effective against these symptoms. Annie B. Robert (COPE), on the other hand, drank juniper berry tea as a laxative. The blue coloured berries can be picked and used year round. As with tamarack and ochre, the Gwich’in leave an offering, such as matches or tea, when collecting these berries.
Source: Andre, Alestine and Alan Fehr, Gwich'in Ethnobotany, 2nd ed. (2002)

Over and over again Ruth Welsh repeated that medicine made from the juniper plant must not be given to people with kidney problems. Ruth said,

Don't give them that. Don't give them that. Either give them the horsetail tea or the spruce [tea], never juniper….So that's a big red mark beside that one.

The juniper plant, with or without its berries, is used to make a tea for colds or an upset stomach. However the tea must be taken very sparingly as Ruth Welsh said,

Just a little bit. A couple or three tablespoons is about all you take.

The above ground or parts of the top of this plant are used to make medicine. The berries can be dried and kept on hand for later use.

Source: Andre, Alestine, Nan t'aih nakwits'inahtsìh (The Land Gives Us Strength) (2006)