How Juniper Berries Can Slash Your High Blood Sugar + 8 Other Amazing Benefits
The juniper berry, while not actually a berry, has a long history in traditional medicine.
The “berry” produced from the juniper tree is actually a cone that looks like a berry. It’s often used as a spice in Scandinavian and European cuisine and as the punch that gives gin its unmistakable flavor.
Long before the juniper berry was consumed in food, it was regarded as a rare item as far back as ancient Egypt. Juniper berries were even buried in the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun. They were also used as a medicine to help athletes’ performance in the ancient Roman Olympics!1
Today, one of the major uses of juniper berries is in essential oil. This volatile oil is thought to have antiseptic, antimicrobial, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, antioxidant, and even antiviral properties.2
When applied to the skin, the resin of juniper berries is thought to heal conditions such as eczema or rashes, and it even displays anti-fungal properties. The antiseptic properties of the plant help heal wounds as well.
If that weren’t enough, juniper berry essential oil also has analgesic (pain-relieving) properties and may relieve muscle spasms, cramps, and other pain when applied to the area topically.
Although the medical community is just beginning to examine the health benefits of the juniper berry, it has been used as a natural remedy for centuries.
How is Juniper Berry Oil Used Today?
Vapor: The calming and fresh aroma of juniper berry oil is well known for relieving stress and anxiety. You can use a diffuser or vaporizer to diffuse the oil, which can help heal addiction, nerves, anxiety, and even hangovers.
Massage oil or bath soak: Juniper berry oil can be rubbed directly onto the skin or area of muscular tension or added to a hot bath to heal muscle fatigue and relieve arthritis, bodily pain, and joint pain.
Lotions and creams: Juniper berry extract can be added to body lotions and creams to help with conditions such as acne, oily skin, psoriasis, and dermatitis.
Apply as a compress: Apply to a warm or cold compress on the skin to heal pain from arthritis, wounds, infections, and even eczema.3
Juniper Berry: A Diabetic Remedy?
One of the most exciting health benefits of juniper berry is its potential for benefiting individuals with diabetes.
A recent study in diabetic rats revealed that the administration of an extract from the juniper berry for eight days resulted in a 24% decrease in blood sugar levels. In addition, there was a significant decrease in the compound malondialdehyde in kidney tissues, which is associated with complications from diabetes.4
Another rat study found similar results. The consumption of an extract of juniper berries for 24 days in diabetic rats resulted in a reduction of blood glucose levels, mortality index, and the prevention of body weight loss.5
Although more research is necessary to observe this result in humans, the active compounds in juniper berry extract may be incredibly useful for the development of new natural alternatives to heal diabetes.
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8 More Amazing Health Benefits of Juniper Berry
1. Natural Antiseptic
Some of the biggest benefits of juniper berry stem from its antibacterial and antifungal qualities. The berries have an incredible effect on a number of different strains of bacteria, and it's so powerful that the extract can even be used as a household cleaner!
The juniper berry also destroys the candida fungus, which is a type of yeast responsible for infections in your skin, mouth, and digestive system.6 The compound may also be able to fight antibiotic-resistant infections that can run rampant in hospitals and ultimately result in death.7
2. Powerful Antioxidant
Juniper berries contain potent antioxidants called flavonoids. These compounds relieve oxidative stress throughout the body, cleansing it of toxins and balancing the immune system.
Superoxide dismutase is a special type of antioxidant produced by juniper berries. This antioxidant rids the body of Superoxide, which, left unregulated, can cause certain types of cell damage. Superoxide is associated with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), Down syndrome, cancer, lung issues, and heart disease.8
3. Digestive Remedy
Juniper berries have been considered a natural digestive aid for thousands of years. To date, there has not been extensive research into these effects. However, it is hypothesized that juniper berries increase the flow of digestive juices and relieve stomach cramping and gas.
In addition, the diuretic properties of juniper berry can aid with weight loss by reducing excess water retention and bloating. One study looking at the digestive function of milk cows found that a supplement of juniper berry essential oil resulted in improved digestion.9
4. Sleep Aid
Juniper berry essential oil has long been recommended as a relaxing agent to calm the mind and body. It is often used by natural medicine practitioners for mental and emotional issues such as anxiety. Recently, it was studied as a sleep aid, along with other essential oils, for insomniacs. The results revealed that 26 out of the 29 participants were able to decrease their current medication regimen for sleep and gain a restful night. Twelve participants discontinued their medication entirely.10
5. Heals Skin Conditions
One of the most common uses for juniper berries is to treat skin problems such as rashes, infections, or eczema. This is due to its antioxidant, antiseptic, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.11 This study examined the effects of juniper berry oil on wound healing. The results revealed that the oils extracted from juniper berries were more effective and had better wound healing activity than control groups and other essential oils.
Other recent research reveals additional applications for juniper berry oil, such as improvement in the skin condition vitiligo (loss of skin color) and even improvement in cellulite and fat deposits.
6. Improves Heart Health
Due to its powerful antioxidant properties, juniper berries may help to improve heart function. A study examining the effects of antioxidant properties of essential oils found that there was a correlation between antioxidant activity and antihypertensive activity, resulting in lowered blood pressure. More research in this area reveals that juniper berries also contain anticholinesterase agents, which can slow heart over-action, lower blood pressure, induce contractions, and improve blood flow to the heart.12
7. May Help Heal Certain Cancers
The relationship between foods and herbs that contain antioxidants and anti-cancer effects has been verified scientifically. While there are not currently animal or human trials examining the specific effects of juniper berry, antioxidants have been found to prevent “free radical” activity associated with the development of cancer.13
Juniper berry’s effectiveness has been examined in a lab setting. Juniper berry extract and oil has been found to cause cell death in a drug-resistant strain of leukemia cells, liver cancer cells, as well as neuroblastoma (cancer of the adrenal glands) cells.14
8. May Help Leishmaniasis
Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease most commonly found in the subtropics, tropics, and southern Europe. It can cause symptoms ranging anywhere from skin sores to infection of the internal organs.15 Believe it or not, the leaf extract of juniper has been found to be very powerful and effective against the parasite that carries the disease.16
The juniper berry is a powerful natural compound that shows promise in treating a wide variety of health conditions, such as:
- Cell oxidation
- Faulty digestion
- Poor sleep quality
- Skin issues
- Proliferative cell growth
- Heart disease
- Parasitic infection
To your health,
Contributing Editor, Clear Health Now