Virginian Juniper

(Juniperus virginiana) Sometimes known as Pencil Juniper or Pencil Cedar - no other wood has been found that has just the right physical properties for the casing of lead pencils (Harper). But by the end of World War II, it had become extremely scarce, so it had to be replaced for pencil wood by Red Cedar (Calocedrus decurrens). (Lewington). Clothes chests are made of it, too, for the smell of the wood repels moths. Smoking crushed juniper berries is an American domestic medicine for catarrh (H M Hyatt), and earlier, Indian peoples had used it for a variety of ailments. Both leaves and berries boiled together were taken for coughs. Twigs were burned and the smoke inhaled for a cold in the head (Gilmore). The Kiowa chewed the berries as a remedy for canker sores in the mouth (Vestal & Schultes), while the Natchez used it in some way for mumps (Weiner).

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