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Health Benefits of Juniper Berries (Juniperus virginiana)

You may know that juniper berries are often used to flavor various types of gin. But what you may not know is that those same berries are full of an assortment of health benefits. The most common forms that you will find juniper berries in is tincture and essential oil forms.

Benefits of Juniper Berries

Below you will learn more about the many uses for juniper berries and the incredible benefits to be gained.

1. Regulates Digestion

Bitter herbs are known to help improve digestion, and juniper is considered a bitter. Bitters such as juniper increase the production of saliva, digestive enzymes, and stomach acid secretions. All of these contribute to a rapid breakdown of food and a regulation of digestion.

Try using juniper berries if you suffer regularly from heartburn or indigestion. Juniper oil also helps to remove excess gas from the body, which can alleviate pain and discomfort related to gas buildup.

2. Effective Diuretic

Juniper not only promotes healthy digestion, but it promotes healthy urination as well. By draining the lake more often, you help to prevent urinary tract infections, bloating, inflammation, and more. Frequent urination also helps to flush your system of harmful bacteria and toxins.

3. Powerful Antioxidant

It is believed that juniper berries are extremely rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are crucial in fighting serious diseases such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. Juniper berry can also help prevent the signs of aging, as it eliminates free radicals from the body that cause damage to our skin cells. Juniper oil also helps to cleanse the system by detoxifying the blood of toxins and heavy metals.

4. Effective in Treating Cramps

Juniper essential oil can also be used to effectively treat cramps, from muscle spasms to menstrual discomfort. When feeling nauseous, juniper oil may also help calm the stomach and relieve pain.

5. Antimicrobial

Research has suggested that juniper berry is able to fight both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. Examples of gram-negative bacteria include E-coli and pneumonia, which can both be deadly. Staphylococcus aureus (i.e. “staph infection”) is an example of a common gram-positive bacterium. It is believed that consumption of juniper berry can help your body combat these infections, which is very good news considering the potential side effects of these ailments.

Juniper oil has long been used to treat flesh wounds and to avoid infection; the antiseptic properties of juniper help prevent tetanus and sepsis.

How to Use Juniper Berries

When chewing the berries, they will be bitter at first causing your saliva and digestive juices like bile to flow smoothly, and then the digestion of fat will pick up as well. Juniper berries should be eaten within 30 minutes before or after eating something. They affect the blood sugar so intensely that it will fall rapidly if food is not consumed within half an hour.

To make a tea, one cup of water should be boiled, with one tablespoon of juniper berries added. Let this steep for about 20 minutes before consuming. When treating a UTI, the tea may need to be consumed two times a day.

To use when cooking, add about 12 juniper berries to the stewing mix. The berries will give a gamey taste to meats that are from tame animals.

Caution & Recommendations

Juniper oil is also believed to reduce inflammation, cure kidney stones, increase energy levels, and improve circulation. A diluted version of the oil can also be applied directly to skin wounds or lesion to expedite the healing process. If a diluted version of the oil is ingested, it is believed to treat ulcers and other internal wounds.

While juniper is extremely effective in treating a wide variety of ailments, it should never be used in excess. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and those with kidney issues should not consume juniper berry.

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