Juniper berry is the female seed cone of a fruit produced by various species of juniper trees. Juniper tree is a short evergreen shrub about 4 to 6 feet high, mainly found in the plains of Europe and other parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Juniper berry is not a true berry, but only a cone with unusually fleshy and merged scales, thereby giving it the appearance of a berry. Also known as Juniper Bush and Juniper Bark, juniper berry is spherical and 4 to 12 mm in diameter. The berry is purple, blue, violet or blackish-brown in color and is best known as a flavoring agent in gin. Ancient Greeks, Arab healers and Native American Indians used to treat numerous diseases by juniper berry. Read through the following lines to know more about the health and nutrition benefits of eating juniper berries.
Nutrition and Health Benefits of Eating Juniper Berries
- Juniper berries have diuretic, depurative, sudorific, anti-bacterial, anti-mucus, anti-fungal and stimulant properties.
- Being a powerful antiseptic, the juniper berries are crushed and applied topically to slow-healing wounds.
- Tea prepared from juniper berries is used to wash joints to get a relief from pain and soreness.
- The extracts from juniper berries are used as an essential oil in aromatherapy.
- Due to its astringent properties, the essential oil helps in treating toothaches and strengthening the gums.
- Juniper berries are known to be one of the best natural cures for treating flatulence and gas, due to their carminative properties.
- The essential oil of juniper berries is massaged to get rid of unwanted aches and pains and skin infections.
- Juniper berry essential oil is used for treating gout, rheumatism, arthritis, cancer, respiratory problems and gastrointestinal infections. Apart from that, the oil is also used for expelling both worms and build-up of uric acid in the joints.
- Juniper berries are used for curing indigestion and digestive disorders, such as belching, heartburn and bloating, as well as menstrual problems and diabetes.
- Apart from the various health benefits of juniper berries, they effectively assist in losing weight as well.
- Juniper berries cleanse toxins from the blood, increase the frequency of urination and perspiration and assist in the proper functioning of the various organs of the body.
- The antiseptic properties of juniper berries help in excreting urine, thereby keeping the urinary tract clean. This in turn, treats and prevents urinary tract infections, bladder infections, urethritis and cystitis.
- Juniper berries should not be consumed by pregnant women, since they can result in contraindications.
- Women planning to become pregnant should not take juniper berries, as they can cause a reduction in fertility.
- The berries should not be taken for more than six weeks continuously, since they can cause damage to the kidneys.
- Overdose of juniper berries can result in various side effects, such as diarrhea, purplish urine, blood in the urine, kidney pain, intestinal pain, elevated blood pressure and a quickened heartbeat.
- Since juniper berries have a blood thinning effect, they should not be used along with blood thinners.
- Do not apply the extracts of juniper berries on open wounds.