Junipers are coniferous plants in the family Cupressaceae. The genus Juniperus includes over 50 species of trees or shrubs, some of which can live up to 1,000 years, or even more. Flowers form catkins at the axil of the leaves and female seed cones look like berries. Only a few species are edible with the common juniper (Juniperus communis) being arguably the most widely used.
Its aromatic berries can be added as seasoning in a variety of dishes, they are also used to give gin its distinctive flavor. As a medicinal plant, it is known to reduce the level of the blood sugar and therefore it can help fight diabetes. Ripe berries have strong antiseptic properties and can be used in the treatment of cystitis. In ancient Rome, oil obtained from the Prickly Juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus) was used to wash the dead.