SAVINE INFORMATION: HISTORY OF USES AND HEALTH BENEFITS OF SAVINE
Savine has leaves like those of the common juniper, whose berries are used in cooking. It is a member of the Cupressaceae family and as such is related to the cedars, junipers and redwoods. It is an evergreen shrub.
At one time it was studied for its cytotoxic effects, but studies were not conclusive and the discovery of taxol in yew trees (Himalayan yew for example) meant that it was no longer studied.
The plant is used by gardeners as ground cover, and so it has spread from its native regions of Central and southern
Europe and North America, to the rest of the world.
The young shoots have been used as an abortifacient, diuretic and emetic to provoke purging. It has also been used to promote a woman’s menstrual flow. However it is toxic and an irritant to tissues so is not recommended for use.
It was usually used in the form of an ointment and mixed with verdigris the powdered leaves were used to get rid of warts. The ointment was used to promote discharge from blisters on the skin.
The leaves have been used as an insect repellant and a decoction of these was used to get rid of body and head lice. The essential oil obtained from the shoots and leaves is used in perfumery.
“Government and virtues. It is under the dominion of Mars, being hot and dry in the third degree, and being of exceeding clean parts, is of a very digesting quality. It is hot and dry, opening and attenuating, and a powerful provoker of the catamenia, causing abortion and expelling the birth; it is very good to destroy worms in children. *Mr. Ray comments the juice of it mixed with milk, and sweetened with sugar, as an excellent medicine for that purpose; beaten into a cataplasm with hog's lard, it cures children's scabby heads. It is a most powerful detersive, and has so violent an effect upon the uterine passages if used imprudently, that wicked women have used it to very ill purposes. It is a very fine opener of obstructions of any kind, whence in compositions for the jaundice, dropsy, scurvy, rheumatism, &c. it makes a very useful ingredient. It is also an enemy to worms, and its chymical oil rubbed upon the navel of children, has often a wonderful effect in expelling them. It deserves the high regard of surgeons, as it is a very potent scourer and cleanser of old sordid stinking ulcers, whether used in lotions, fomentations, ointments, or even the powder only mixt with honey.”