Juniper berries are used as flavors for certain foods, gin and used in herbal medicine. Although they are called berries, they are part of the cone that come from juniper plants or conifer (Pinophyta), which is a cone-bearing plant or tree.
Juniper plants can vary in appearance and can grow wide and like a shrub or tall like a tree. Their uniquely fleshy, merged scales make them look like a berry, thus the name.
Due to their slightly misleading name, juniper berries are not like blueberries, even though they are similar in size. Juniper berries are often used as a bitter spice and are the only spice to come from a conifer tree.
How Healthy are Juniper Berries?
1. Helps Improve Digestion
Juniper berries is considered to be a digestive aid in folk medicine, but some studies have examined these effects at length. It can improve digestion, just as many other culinary spices.
Also, they increase glandular function, especially in the secretion of digestive and bile juices. You can make a tea or tincture from fresh berries or dried ones.
The tea is made by steeping the berries using boiling water for at least 15-20 minutes. Remember to crush the berries slightly just before adding them into the water. This canhelp release the bioactive compounds, as well as the flavor.
2. Helps You Sleep Better
Many natural health practitioners encourges using juniper berry essential oil as a relaxant, due to its positive impact on brain chemistry, therefore encouraging rest.
A study that was conducted from Mie University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan studied the effects of a therapeutic fragrance, including juniper berry essential oil, rose, sandalwood, and orris, on insomniacs currently taking medication for the disorder.
They reported that 26 out of the 29 participants were able to decrease their medication and have restful sleep after diffusing the fragrance during the night. 12 individuals discontinued their medication entirely by the end of the study.
3. Urinary Tract Infections Treatment
The antibacterial property that juniper berries have, in combination with its diuretic effect makes it perfect for fighting urinary tract infections. The recurring nature of UTI, makes a repetitive courses of antibiotics necessary, but this herbal treatment can offer an alternative.
4. Use as Natural Antiseptic
Juniper berry tincture can be used as an antiseptic solution. This is to prevent infections setting in wounds and cuts.
Wash the wound using diluted tincture or dab it on. It can also be used as an antiseptic face wash, to help in reducing acne inflammation and prevent infections as well.
5. Relieve Congestion
Chest congestion that is due to a cold can be treated using juniper berries. A warm tea made from fresh green berries or about 5-10 drops of a tincture in a glass of warm water can be used during nightime to relieve congestion.
This is also good for asthma patients. Also, if you want to avoid alcohol use in children, juniper berries can be infused in high-quality glycerin.
6. Reduce Water Retention
Water retention in the body can make you feel lethargic and heavy, besides giving you puffy face and eyes. Juniper berries can help in the reduction of water retention by prompting your kidneys to work harder, in order to flush out excess water.
This action can also help to bring down hypertension. You can use a herbal tea or tincture made with juniper berries once or twice a day.
7. Skin Health
One of the most common uses for juniper berries, most specifically in essential oil form, is for the treatment of skin issues including eczema or rashes. The antioxidants they contain are 1 main reason this can be effective.
The essential oil present in juniper berries has also been used in reducing the appearance of cellulite, which is a harmless cosmetic issue that involves fatty deposits that are most often present on the hips, thighs and buttocks.