Juniper berries

Juniper Pine Sharp Herbal

The flavor from juniper berries is dominated by pinene, which gives the pine flavor reminiscent of the coniferous trees on which the spice grows. The minor flavor compounds add herbal and floral notes and make for good pairings with other spices. Juniper berries high sugar content contributes sweetness to a dish and the flavors dissolve much better when combined with some oil or alcohol.

Flavor chart juniper berry

Juniper berriesNot a real berry, juniper berries are the seed cones of the evergreen juniper tree. Juniper is native to the temperate regions of the world where it grows abundantly. Utilized by humankind for centuries, juniper is associated with healing powers and as a place of refuge in folklore. One Biblical tale tells how a young Jesus hid in a Juniper bush during his flight to Egypt.

Juniper berries are the primary botanical used in the production of Gin. To be allowed to call a spirit gin, juniper must be the predominant flavour. The name gin is derived from the Dutch strong alcoholic drink ‘Jenever’, which was produced by the Dutch since the 13th century. Jenever was the first known spirit flavoured with juniper berries.

The health benefits of Juniper berries are numerous. Traditionally used to treat a wide range of ailments, like bronchitis, tuberculosis, bladder infections, migraines, diabetes, and infections, the nutritional profile of the juniper berry is quite impressive. Loaded with beneficial antioxidants and other fyto-nutrients, the most important benefit from the juniper berry is its role in reducing oxidative stress.

Juniper berries are also a powerful antiseptic. They have been used to treat urinary tract infections and applied directly on the skin to treat various skin conditions. Several studies have confirmed that juniper berries inhibit the growth of several types of bacteria and fungi.

High blood sugar and high cholesterol are both risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. The juniper berry has a positive effect on both high blood sugar and high cholesterol. Juniper berries are hypo-glycemic and hypo-lipidemic.

The juniper berry also protects the liver. Studies where they look at liver toxicity commonly use paracetamol (acetaminophen) induced toxicity to assess the liver toxicity of the extract that is being researched. Paracetamol is considered safe at normal doses but leads to liver damage when overdosed. Extracts of the juniper berry have shown to protect the liver from the damage induced by paracetamol.

Juniper berries are considered safe for consumption in doses that you would get from food (up to 10 grams of berries daily). When you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant it is advised to not eat juniper berries as they can affect your hormone levels. Juniper has been used traditionally as a contraceptive and to induce miscarriages.

Some of the benefits of juniper berries summed up:

  • Juniper berries are a source of antioxidants.
  • Juniper berries are antimicrobial.
  • Juniper berries are antifungal.
  • Juniper berries are antiviral.
  • Juniper berries are anti-inflammatory.
  • Juniper berries protect the liver.
  • Juniper berries can help lower a high blood sugar for people with type2 diabetes.
  • Juniper berries help to lower high cholesterol levels.
  • Juniper berries have anti-cancer potential.
  • Juniper berries are a source of potassium, magnesium, calcium & iron.
  • Juniper berries are a source of vitamin C and contain lots of fyto-nutrients.

Potential of Juniperus communis L as a nutraceutical in human and veterinary medicine

Genoprotective, antioxidant, antifungal and anti-inflammatory evaluation of hydroalcoholic extract of wild-growing Juniperus communis L. (Cupressaceae) native to Romanian southern sub-Carpathian hills.

Synergistic hepatoprotective potential of ethanolic extract of Solanum xanthocarpum and Juniperus communis against paracetamol and azithromycin induced liver injury in rats.

A phytopharmacological review on a medicinal plant: Juniperus communis

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