Juniper is revered (even by non-gin drinkers) as the plant of succour – Jesus is believed to have been sheltered from Herod’s wrath by a juniper bush and Elijah was saved from Queen Jezebel by a juniper possessed of a divine presence.
Sine the time of the Egyptians Juniper has been used to purify and protect the home from evil. A juniper bush planted by the front door would ward off witches and demons (unless the witch could guess the number of needles on the tree, in which case, look out) and burning juniper twigs would purify the home and keep disease and ill-fortune at bay. In aromatherapy juniper oil is known as the “oil of protection”.
In medieval times juniper was an icon of chastity and virtue – a fact that will come as news to anyone known to enjoy their gin.