For Seasoning Recipes, Flavoring Sauerkraut, and Infusing Beverages!

Marlenea La Shomb, N.D., P.Tr.
Mar – Apr 2024 • Vol 4, No 9

Juniper, Juniperus communis, is an evergreen shrub that grows abundantly here in Montana. In the pine family, the berries are green when immature, while ripe berries are blue/black. In the Western US, juniper also goes by cedar, so a reference to “cedar berries” can also mean juniper. Juniper berries can be used fresh-harvested or dried in a tea, as a tincture, and as the oil. The berries are high in nutrients and valuable plant compounds, with strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

Unlike other berries, juniper berries are typical-ly used only in small amounts to flavor foods—not eaten in large portions. They have an astringent, pine-like taste, which makes them a popular ingredient for seasoning recipes, flavoring sauerkraut, and infusing beverages. They’re commonly sold dried—either whole or crushed—but can be harvested fresh as well. Juniper berry essential oil is also used in aromatherapy and said to be calming. Additionally, juniper-berry tea can be made at home using foraged juniper berries.


  • Lung Disorders, including asthma and bronchitis.
  • Influenza & Colds. Navajo shamans use hot juniper tea.
  • Antidiabetic Properties. A Sioux recipe and a Spanish study have shown its efficacious use as a decoction (boiling and straining).
  • Heart Health. The berries improve HDL (good cholesterol levels), reduce high triglycerides.
  • Antibacterial and Antifungal Activity, attributed to potent compounds in their oil. For foot fungus, soak your feet in warm water with a few drops of juniper oil.


Use a 5-quart fermentation pot.

  • 8 lbs. white cabbage
  • 1/2 tbsp. caraway seeds
  • 3 1/2 tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. juniper berries
  • 2 sour apples (optional)
  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer to the fermentation pot and pack the mix tightly.
  2. Cover the last layer with a few large cabbage leaves.
  3. Use your favorite sauerkraut-making procedures…

New to fermentation? Refer to The Cultured Cabbage, by Klaus Kaufmann and Annelies Schöneck. It’s the very best book I’ve found on lactic-acid fermentation!

Marlenea La Shomb passionately works as a health coach and writer for all who are ready to find harmony and balance in body, mind, and soul through natural therapies and education.