Juniper berries grow from shrubs in various parts of the world including Asia, Europe and North America. There are many different kinds of juniper berries but the most common one to North Americans is known as juniperus communis. The berries’ popularity has primarily come from the fact that they’ve been added to gin in order to enhance its flavor, but as the years have gone by, many interesting health benefits have also gotten well deserved attention.
The Pharmacognosy Research medical journal states that juniper berries are great antioxidants for the body that can help contain the free radicals often responsible for many diseases. They also have quite potent antibacterial, antiviral, diuretic and antiseptic properties while displaying promising, although preliminary, results with diabetes. In general, the berries are considered extremely useful to alleviate health conditions associated to the kidneys, bladder or urinary tract.
The juniper berries are exceptionally healthy and can be consumed on a daily basis in various forms, such as teas, capsules, ointments or lotions. Researchers from the University of Michigan are on record saying that bitter herbs such as juniper do improve digestion by increasing saliva, digestive enzymes and stomach acid secretions that all contribute to breaking down food. On the other hand, they recommend taking them in moderation in order to make sure they don’t end up irritating the kidneys.
Urinary tract infections may be prevented by juniper berries
The University of Michigan has validated through research that juniper berries help increase urine output, therefore normalizing water retention. Not only can they be seen as excellent diuretics but they can also help get rid of bloating symptoms. The university comes to the conclusion that by facilitating liquid output, including toxins and unwanted bacteria, the berries most likely prevent possible urinary tract infections. The diuretic action can also help get rid of the body’s excess uric acid while also reducing fluids around joints.
The Shiraz University of Medical Sciences demonstrated how juniper berries can help protect the organism from bacteria generally responsible for the development of either E. coli, pneumonia, gonorrhea and staphylococcus aureus. The latter is an infection that often spreads in hospitals and antibiotics usually cannot get rid of it. It would certainly make sense to continue research on juniper berries to see if they could become an effective option to help control such infections.
Researchers from the University of Gazi in Turkey studied the effects produced on rats by feeding them with juniperus oxycedrus leaves. They noted that blood glucose levels were steadily falling on a daily basis over the course of their ten day experiments. Korea’s Pai Chai University did a similar study on diabetic rats by feeding them a single dose of juniperus chinensis. Following the ingestion of the berry extract, for nine straight hours the rats’ blood glucose levels would continuously diminish.