Herb: Prickly Juniper

Latin name: Juniperus oxycedrus

Family: Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)

Medicinal use of Prickly Juniper:

The plant yields the essential oil "Oil of Cade" by destructive distillation of the wood. It is used externally in the treatment of skin diseases such as psoriasis and chronic eczema. It is a good parasiticide in cases of psora and favus. Antiseptic.

Description of the plant:


15 m
(49 feet)

Habitat of the herb:

Dry hills, sandy and rocky places.

Other uses of Prickly Juniper:

An oil distilled from the heartwood is used medicinally and as a parasiticide. It is also used as an immersion oil in microscope work.

Propagation of the herb:

The seed requires a period of cold stratification. The seed has a hard seedcoat and can be very slow to germinate, requiring a cold period followed by a warm period and then another cold spell, each of 2 - 3 months duration. Soaking the seed for 3 - 6 seconds in boiling water may speed up the germination process. The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Some might germinate in the following spring, though most will take another year. Another possibility is to harvest the seed "green" (when the embryo has fully formed but before the seedcoat has hardened). The seedlings can be potted up into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow on in pots until large enough, then plant out in early summer. When stored dry, the seed can remain viable for several years. Cuttings of mature wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel, September/October in a cold frame. Plant out in the following autumn. Layering in September/October. Takes 12 months.

Cultivation of Prickly Juniper:

Dry hills, sandy and rocky places.

Known hazards of Juniperus oxycedrus:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.