Juniper berries are a type of seed cone that assists in the creation of medicines, add flavor in cuisines, and enhance the production of cosmetics. It has a lot of uses and benefits that are generally safe for human consumption that also was practiced and was part of a long history for its usage, dating back to early civilizations like Rome and Egypt. Taking this as a medicine solution may provide and help against digestive problems, diabetes, free radicals, and bacteria.
Origins of the Juniper Berries
In the earlier years of the great Roman and Egyptian empires, juniper berries were being exported by Greece to the kingdom of Egypt. It was used as a medicine, particularly to cure an epidemic, tapeworm infestation, where there is a contagion in food and water by tapeworm eggs. In Rome, juniper oil was extracted from berries to treat various conditions like stomach problems. While in Greece it was a popular commodity as it is believed to increase performance, particularly the physical stamina of the athletes in their games.
What is a Juniper Berry?
Juniper berries are not considered as berries but as a seed cone that looks like a berry. It has a variety of types that are good for human use, but one type is deemed as poisonous called Juniperus sabina or Savin. Female plants of its kind produce seeds while male plants generate pollen. The seed’s maturity is defined by its color. Green signifies it is young while purple to black is over 18 months old. Sourced from the evergreen tree that stands between 6 to 25 feet, it can be found in mountains present in Europe and in some parts of Asia, also North America.
The juniper tree is very useful. Its branches and seeds were used to produce medicine. The tree’s wood was carved for furniture and used for constructing houses. It is indeed a tree that has a lot of uses.
Uses of Juniper Berry
This is a very useful ingredient for medicine, cooking, even cosmetics. It has antiseptic properties that can fight bacteria and benefit the body from inflammation. It too can make the food or liquor taste better. Also, it adds chemical components to cosmetic products increasing its quality of use.
Oil and Extract are different in the process. Juniper oil is processed through distillation which results in a highly concentrated product. While juniper extract uses water, or other liquid forms, in sourcing the substance.
- Juniper Extract: can be a herbal medicine that helps ignite appetite and support digestive problems. It can be used for alcoholic beverages like gin, wine, beer, spirits, and cider to bring more flavor. It can also be added as an ingredient for baking, like cookies and cake.
- Juniper Oil: A distilled byproduct that can be used as a medicine to treat ailments. It is also a preferred ingredient in making perfumes for its pine and citrus aroma. It has essential toning properties that are very useful with skin-care products and cosmetics. And can be used as a component in baking as well.
- Juniper Berries: crushed juniper berries are good for a marinade. Applied to lamb, pork, duck, chicken, and beef meat it brings a citrus flavor that can make the food even tastier.
Health Benefits of Juniper Berries
Juniper berries are used to heal many types of ailments. Here are the health benefits for its use:
- Urinary Tract Infection: juniper berry extracts can help heal urinary tract infection as it contains antiseptic properties that can defeat bacteria inside the body. It also contains volatile oils that enhance the kidney’s filtration that increases urine flow. This can remove and flush bacteria out of the kidney and bladder.
- Flatulent Dyspepsia: Juniper berry extracts help relieve indigestion and bloating problems. Its oil function as a diuretic relieving digestive complication. It has substances that can activate the production of digestive enzymes that allow the body to digest food faster and increase the capacity to absorb nutrients.
- Skin Issues: Juniper berries have antioxidant phytochemicals that are good for the skin. These are alpha-pinene, cadinene, limonene, myrcene, borneol, caryophyllene, and germacrene to name a few. These antioxidants help the skin regenerate skin cells, sustain its youthful glow, and protect against free radicals. It can heal rashes or eczema by using juniper essential berry oil and can treat vitiligo with juniper berry extract.
- Pain: Juniper berry oil and extract may help relieve pain with swollen joints, muscle ache, arthritis, and even gout. Using this as a massage oil by applying it to the intended area while doing massage may give ease to the feeling.
Safety Precaution with Juniper Berries
These are special cases where components of Juniper berry is not applicable to the situation, the person, and the condition. Here are the following cases that need to give special attention to:
- Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women: the chemical components of juniper berry may influence the development of a woman’s body, particularly the breasts which produce milk and the uterus that may hinder fertility, worst may cause miscarriage. It was used as a birth control medicine before, to prevent women from becoming pregnant.
- After Surgery: This is a situation where the body is weak. Certain medications may be prescribed by the doctor that doesn’t blend well with juniper berries that may cause irritation and other negative effects on the body.
- Diabetes: The use of juniper berries with diabetes patients may be harming their health as it may reduce their blood sugar to levels that may compromise their situation and may lead to severe complications as blood sugar control may be more difficult to manage.
Juniper berries are very useful to people for many reasons. As discussed it was used in marinading food that can add flavor and texture to a meal, especially with meat. It was a component too mixed with perfumes because of its aroma, and cosmetics for its antioxidant properties that help replenish skin cells and protect against free radicals. Most importantly, the use of medicine which can help people in their digestive problems, support kidney condition, and proliferate antioxidants in the body. Thus, it has a lot of uses and benefits that are generally safe for human consumption.