When it comes to Superfoods, berries are right on top of the list because they are crammed with beneficial antioxidants. One such berry that can aid you a good deal is the juniper berry and over the years, scientific research has shown what a marvel it is.
Botanically speaking, the juniper berry isn't an actual fruit but the juniper's seed cone. It's regarded as a berry because of its scales. The juniper is an evergreen tree and there are apparently 6 species of this tree whose berries are edible and used for a whole lot of beneficial purposes.
Juniper berries are extensively used in European cooking, especially meat based preparations as it lends a unique flavor. Gin lovers also may be surprised to learn that juniper berries are the primary ingredient in gin. However the juniper berry is renowned for its reputation as an herbal solution for an incredibly long list of conditions and ailments.
How it helps
The juniper is in fact a useful tree as most of its parts are used for some sort of medicinal preparation or the other. So, the berries, leaves, bark and even oil derived from the berries and wood are used in various ways.
Essentially a bitter berry, the juniper berry contains numerous volatile oils or essential oils, fiber, vitamin C, flavonoids and whole lot of active ingredients that makes it the breakthrough healer that it is. Note that juniper berries can be taken in the form of teas and the crushed berries can be applied on the skin as well for a variety of ailments.
Here is a look at some of the uses of the juniper berry and how it can help us lead healthier lives:
* Juniper is considered to be a herb with the most amazing effects on kidneys. It is also used to cure various urinary tract infections and it can remove uric acid from the body. Juniper makes the kidneys work quickly and the body produces more urine, making it an excellent diuretic also.
* People facing water retention problems can feel a lot of relief with the juniper berry and its oil because of its diuretic properties.
* Oil from the juniper berry has an antiseptic effect and it comes as a great relief to people suffering from urethritis and cystitis.
* Suffering from digestive problems? The berry might just be your answer as it can help decrease flatulence and colic and help digestion. It also eases problems such as bloating, belching and heartburn. As a digestive support, it is outstanding as it increases the appetite, relieves gas and increases the production of gastric acid.
* Juniper also has anti-inflammatory qualities and it is of excellent help to those suffering from arthritis, gout and other conditions such as rheumatism. These joint related diseases occur because of the fluid retention around these joints and the juniper berry with its diuretic action relieves this pressure considerably.
* Skin ailments such as dandruff, acne and athlete's foot can also be treated with topical application of the juniper berry.
* Juniper helps in refreshing the muscle tone and noticeably reducing the effects of aging for most people.
* Menstrual cramps are often many of the most troublesome aspects of a woman's life, but these can also be reduced significantly with the help of the juniper berry. Many herbalists even use the juniper to improve the uterus tone and to help those who have slow or late starting periods.
* Concentrated oils of the juniper are used topically for lung congestion and coughs while it is also crucial in helping those suffering from respiratory infections. The volatile oils help in clearing up bronchial passages and getting rid of mucus.
* It has a high concentration of insulin and helps in healing the pancreas.
* Essential oils extracted from juniper berries can aid in relieving toothache and making gums stronger. It can also be used to manage hair fall.
* Finally, the juniper berry is used by many to slim down and since it even cleanses the toxins from the body, it is a great overall purifier as well.
Juniper does have some significant side effects and it's important that you're aware of them before you start using them as any form of treatment.
* Avoid the juniper berry in case you have severe kidney problems as it can aggravate the problem and cause further damage.
* If you use more than the prescribed amount, chances are that you could suffer from diarrhea, kidney pain, high blood pressure, fast heartbeat and purplish urine.
* When taken internally, it can impact the absorption of iron and various other minerals.
* Open wounds are best not treated with juniper because it can cause discomfort and swelling.
* Juniper causes uterine spasms and could lead to lowered fertility, so women who are attempting to get pregnant must avoid juniper.
* Pregnant women should not use juniper as it can cause uterine contractions and cause an abortion.
* Diabetics must be careful while using juniper as it can raise the levels of glucose in the body.
Juniper when taken in advisable amounts and with people who do not have the indicated problems as mentioned above, can be a godsend as it provides them with a lot of relief.
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