5 Health Benefits And Uses For Juniper

On a cool, crisp autumn afternoon hiking in the magnificent Canadian Rocky Mountains, my husband, Curtis, remarked on the scent of juniper wafting through the pure mountain air. Thousands of juniper plants with indigo-blue berries blanketed the earth around our feet. With every step we took, the rich, clean aroma of juniper intensified. We stopped to collect a small basketful of the beautiful little juniper berries to enjoy later as a refreshing tea, a seasoning for meats and an ingredient in sauerkraut. Years later, the delightful scent of juniper still transports me back to that blissful day in the Rockies.

There are 170 different species of juniper. The most common is Juniperus communis (hence the name); other common species include J. drupacea, J. phoenicea, J. oxycedrus, J. deppeana, J. occidentalis, and J. californica. One variety, Juniperus sabina, is toxic and should not be consumed. There are many health benefits of juniper. Here are some of the main ones:

Juniper berries are mildly cleansing and restorative of the kidneys. Juniper is also effective for arthritis and rheumatism as well as generalized muscular and joint pain. Use one teaspoon of dried juniper berries per cup of boiling water. Allow to infuse for at least ten minutes. Drink one cup three times daily. Alternatively, take one teaspoon of tincture three times daily, or take as directed on the package.

Juniper berries are mildly cleansing and restorative of the kidneys. Juniper is also effective for arthritis and rheumatism as well as generalized muscular and joint pain. Use one teaspoon of dried juniper berries per cup of boiling water. Allow to infuse for at least ten minutes. Drink one cup three times daily. Alternatively, take one teaspoon of tincture three times daily, or take as directed on the package.

Junipers antimicrobial action (it has shown activity against bacteria, fungi and viruses in studies) and its diuretic properties make juniper a potent remedy for urinary tract infections. You can make a tea, known as an infusion, or use a tincture. This tea is good for fighting urinary tract infections or to give the urinary tract an occasional boost if youre prone to infections. To make an infusion: lightly crush one teaspoon of fresh or dried juniper berries, pour one cup of boiling water over them and allow to sit, covered, for 20 minutes. Strain the liquid, then drink. Use three times daily.

Image courtesy of care2.com

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