Juniper is a powerful diuretic – a herb that increases the flow of urine, helping to cleanse the system of excess fluids and stimulating the kidneys. This causes the body to flush out uric acid and excess crystals that can cause many problems including gout, arthritis and kidney stones.
The Juniper Berry is rich in volatile oils, in particular terpinen-4-ol, which is reported to increase the rate of kidney filtration, which in turn increases urine flow whilst helping to flush out bacteria from the kidneys and bladder. This makes Juniper exceptionally useful in the treatment of urinary tract infections, with some patients reporting relief after just 24-72 hours of use. The British Pharmacopoeia even lists Juniper as a urinary tract disinfectant.
Juniper is widely used in the the treatment of infections, especially within the urinary tract, bladder, kidneys, and prostate. One of the big benefits of juniper berries is that their antiseptic properties help remove waste and acidic toxins from the body, stimulating a fighting action against bacterial and yeast infections.
Juniper Berries contain bitter compounds that stimulate bile flow and the production of digestive enzymes. This allows the body to breakdown foods more easily and enhances nutrient absorption. Due to their astringent properties they are particularly effective at relieving heartburn and other digestive upsets.
Juniper can also be useful in the treatment of upset stomachs, bloating, colitis, gastrointestinal infections, loss of appetite and intestinal worms.
One major benefit of juniper berries is the antioxidants they contain. Antioxidants help your body to prevent and fight disease because they relieve oxidative stress caused by too many free radicals in your system.
Perhaps most significantly, the activity of three extremely important antioxidants in the body is encouraged by juniper berries: superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase and glutathione peroxidase.
Issues with SOD are linked to ALS, Down syndrome, cancers and lung issues. Catalase and SOD both protect against damage from peroxide within the body, while glutathione peroxidase does the same and is associated with helping to prevent and treat cancer and heart disease.
Antioxidants also help to maintain youthful and healthy skin by fighting wrinkles, aiding in cell regeneration and reducing inflammation.
The antibacterial and antifungal qualities of juniper berries have stood the test of time — which is one reason that juniper berry essential oil is often suggested as a natural household cleaning agent.
Juniper berry powerfully destroys candida fungus, which causes an infection responsible for a huge list of side effects.
Juniper also makes an excellent antiseptic in conditions such as cystitis. It was used in the past to treat war injuries to help protect wounds from becoming septic or developing tetanus.
A simple Google search reveals that one of the most common uses for juniper berries, is to treat skin issues like rash or eczema. The antioxidants they contain are probably one major reason this can be effective.
In an examination of how animal wounds healed when treated with juniper berry, researchers discovered that two cultivars of juniper berries “displayed remarkable wound healing and anti-inflammatory activities.” This suggests the ancient use of juniper berries as a skin healer has its roots in scientific fact.
From a lab study in South Korea, it also seems possible that juniper berry extract might be able to help treat skin pigmentation disorders like vitiligo.
If you suffer from psoriasis, acne, rosacea or other skin conditions, juniper berry can quickly reduce inflammation and pain.
Juniper Berries are sometimes referred to as “Nature’s Insulin”, and they have indeed been shown to contain natural insulin that can work in the body just like its pharmaceutical counterpart. Animal research shows that the berries contain certain compounds that increase insulin production, thus lowering blood sugar levels. This could make Juniper Berries a powerful ally when addressing diet controlled (type 2) diabetes.
Though infrequently used as a sedative, it can have certain relaxing effects on the body and mind that make it a great sleep aid.
Probably also due in part to its antioxidant qualities, juniper berries can help to improve heart function. With the ability to increase blood flow and induce contractions of the heart, as well as lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels, these berries can play a significant role in cardiovascular health.
Juniper berry extract is very powerful against the parasite that causes leishmaniasis, which is a condition contracted in the tropical regions or southern Europe.