Juniper berries are not berries at all. Juniper berries are female seed cones which come from juniper plants. These plants are type of conifer and it is cone – bearing plant or tree. Juniper plants can vary in appearance and they can grow low and wide like a shrub, or tall like a tree. They have unique fleshy and merged scales which makes them to look like a berry.
Juniper berries are not a berry which you will want to eat with the breakfast, like blueberries. In the most cases, juniper berries are used as a bitter spice. Mostly, these berries are used for making juniper berry essential oil. There are different types of Juniper berries and many of them are toxic. The most commonly used edible form of juniper berry is Juniperus communis. Pregnant women should not consume juniper berries because they can cause damage to their unborn child or force uterine contractions. Also, juniper berries are not recommended for people with poor kidney function. Some people can develop an allergic reaction to Juniper berries which can manifest with breathing issues or skin problems, like a rash.
Health benefits of Juniper berries
Treatment for leishmaniasis: This is a disease which is commonly contracted in the tropical regions in Southern Europe. There are some studies in which are said that Juniper berry extract has shown very potent results against the parasite that is cause for this disease.
Included as a part of diabetic plan: There are some studies which were done on animals and in labs in which were studied the effects of Juniper berries on diabetes. It has been said that an ethanol extract and a tea of juniper berries has the potential to reduce the high blood pressure in diabetic rats. Juniper berry essential oil can limit the amount of malondialdehyde which is produced by animal bodies. The role of malondialdehyde in diabetes is not completely understood but its concentration is much higher in people with diabetes.
Good for the heart: Juniper berries are rich in antioxidants which can help to improve the heart function. It has been found that the juniper berry essential oil can reduce the high blood pressure in animal studies which is related to its antioxidant properties. In another study was found that juniper berry functions as a natural diuretic and it also contributes to its blood pressure – lowering property. In one study was said that juniper berry extract can lower the high triglyceride levels in rats.
Treatment against cancer: There was one lab study in which was shown that the juniper berry essential oil or extract can cause apoptosis, which is cell – death, in a drug – resistant strain of leukemia, p53 cells and HepG2 cells.
Aids restful sleep: There are many health practitioners who have said that the juniper berry essential oil is a relaxant and it has a positive effect on the brain chemistry which is encouraging rest.
Helps improve digestion: In the folk medicine, the juniper berry has considered as a home remedy for digestive problems. There was one study in which milk cows were given juniper berry essential oil and they have noticed improved digestive behavior. Juniper berries are functioning as diuretics so they can help you to get a relief from the bloating in some cases.
Improves skin conditions: It was found that juniper berries, especially juniper berry essential oil, can help in the treatment of skin problems, such as eczema or rash. This is possible due to antioxidant properties of juniper berries. In some cases, the juniper essential oil was used as a home remedy for cellulite which is a harmless cosmetic problem that it is involving fatty deposits often found on the buttocks, hips and thighs. Juniper berry extract can be used as a home remedy for skin pigmentation disorders, like vitiligo.
Natural antiseptic: It has been shown that the juniper berry essential oil can help to destroy the candida fungus which is an infection. It can help to eliminate bacteria and it can reduce the inflammation in the mouth.