Have you ever heard about Juniper berry? Do you know that, this not so familiar spice was used as a traditional female birth control remedy in olden days? Consuming Juniper berries even in small doses increased the risk of miscarriages, adversely affected pregnant or breastfeeding women and people with diabetes. Even with such a bad rep among these demographics, its benefits outweighed its usage for others. It is still reputed safe spice with lot of health benefits when used in moderation. So let’s explore Juniper berries…
Exploring Juniper Berries
Juniper berries are native to Northern hemisphere and grows throughout the Europe and Northern Hemisphere. They are commonly used in northern European mainly Scandinavian cuisine. Juniper berries are used in Norwegian, Swedish, Austrian, Polish, German and Hungarian cuisine mostly with game dishes.
In fact, Juniper berries are not berries but cones from evergreen plant belonging to pine family. There are more than 70 types of juniper plants. Juniper berries take three years to mature. They start with green color when raw, turn blue when half-ripe, and then to purple-black when fully ripe. Some varieties of juniper are poisonous.
Juniper berry is best-known as the spice that defines the flavor of gin. It has a powerful, pungent, scent of pine. Like any other spice little goes a long way, so please use in moderation and enjoy its flavor as well as the health benefits.
1. Juniper Berry can be used as a natural diuretic.
Juniper berry is an excellent diuretic. Diuretic causes formation of urine by the kidney thus increasing the output of urine. Juniper berries has certain compounds which can kill bacteria, helping fight bladder and urinary tract infections. Many modern medicines which are used in healing the urinary tract infections include one or more compounds from juniper berries.
2. Juniper berry is popularly used in treating skin and hair problems.
With its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, Juniper berry oil can be very beneficial in treating skin and hair problems. When applied to the affected areas of skin or on scalp it can help relieve from range of skin and hair issues, such as eczema, acne, psoriasis, hair loss and dandruff. It is also believed to help prevent cellulite formation. Cellulite is a disorder in which the skin has a dimpled, lumpy appearance, usually in buttocks and thighs areas especially for women. Regular application of juniper oil is believed to diminish the appearance.
3. Juniper berry can help relieve from arthritis pain.
Juniper berries are loaded with anti-inflammatory properties. They can help in getting rid of inflammation, stiffness and muscle & joint pain from the body. The berries are crushed and made in paste which can be rubbed on the affected parts of joints and muscles. This can be a very helpful remedy in conditions like arthritis, rheumatism, and gout.
Juniper in the kitchen
Most important note before using juniper berries is instead of adding them as a whole gently crush or grind them. Crushing releases their essential oils, so make sure to crush or grind them right before you are ready use. Usually, Juniper berries are used in game dishes, but they can be used for meat dish, including beef and chicken. More ways to add juniper berries in your diet:
• Make your own rub using juniper berries and spices like cloves, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, nutmeg, and garlic.
• Add juniper to marinade made by combining apple cider, extra virgin olive oil, black peppercorns and garlic.
• Juniper goes well with fruits especially purple fruits like plums, blackberries, and blueberries. Make a fruit bowl with these purple treats and add juniper to enhance the benefits.
• Grounded juniper berries are great addition to bread stuffing.
1. For all the amazing health benefits of juniper berries make a delicious juniper berry tea. Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 tbsp of berries. Cover and let it steep for 10-12 minutes. Add honey or another sweetener. Drink it twice daily for 1-2 weeks and then stop for 2 weeks and then again continue.
2. Soak juniper berries or its leaves in hot water. Get the extract and apply this hot compress on nerve muscle or joint to get relief from pain.
3. Rub juniper oil on the affected areas of skin to treat eczema and acne.
4. Fill a large water pitcher with water, add few juniper berries, black berries and blue berries to it and place this in a refrigerator overnight. Next day enjoy this flavorful detox water sipping all day.