Native to India and Asia, juniper berries are very popular in cooking and also have many health benefits and virtues.
The juniper or juniper ( Juniperus communis ) is a small, hardy evergreen, slow-growing evergreen needles prickly, which grows in the sandy heaths, dry hillsides, and rocky places.
Juniper and its health benefits
In the Middle Ages, the small juniper berry was already widely used by doctors and since then nothing has called its reputation into question. Its diuretic, depurative, sudorific, stomachic, and tonic virtues praised by pharmacologists of the 18th and 19th centuries are recognized today.
- Juniper berries are undoubtedly one of the most well-known diuretics. They are used for their benefits in generalized edema and to treat gallstones, kidney stones, and inflammation of the bladder.
- Be careful, the diuretic action of juniper is very powerful and can irritate the kidneys. Its prolonged or too abundant use should therefore be avoided.
- The berries are particularly useful for arthritis, gout, and all rheumatic ailments. They are then used mainly in baths: add 2 kg of young branches and a handful of berries previously boiled in the bathwater.
- Juniper is a good tonic and a mild expectorant, effective against sore throats, sinusitis, and colds. It is made into a syrup to be administered morning and evening.
- Juniper berries facilitate intestinal transit and promote digestion.
- In local application, the essential oil of juniper stimulates the immune system. It helps fight against fatigue and stress, viral and bacterial infections, skin infections, and skin problems (acne, dermatosis, eczema, dull and tired skin). In massages, it also relieves aches.
- In diffusion in the atmosphere, the essential oil of juniper is soothing and anti-stress. It calms inner agitation and nervousness.
Growing juniper for its benefits
Juniper loves full sun, even arid. It also needs well-drained, stony, and sandy soil.
Remember to keep your junipers away from places of passage because their needles are extremely sharp!
Juniper adapts to all situations and can live a long time. Its only enemies are mealybugs.
If you want to grow juniper in a pot, choose dwarf varieties.
Juniper in the kitchen for its benefits
If the young juniper shoots can be eaten in salads, associated with other leaves, especially the berries which are mainly used in cooking.
They are inseparable from sauerkraut (which they facilitate digestion), flavor game, pates, smoked ham, and court bouillons.
Juniper is also used to flavor certain alcohols such as gin and aquavit… to be consumed in moderation, of course!