Juniper: Medicinal Properties, Benefits and Contraindications

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Each plant has a particular function. Some are essential to produce fruits that serve for food, others serve for medicinal use or decoration. The key to obtaining the benefits of each of them is to know them well. Let’s take juniper as an example.

what is juniper, what are its properties and are there any risks in using it? We will answer these questions right away.

what is juniper?

  • Scientific name: Juniperus communis
  • Family: Cupressaceae
  • Species: J. communis; L., 1753
  • Class: Pinopsida
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Cupressales
  • Division: Pinophyta

The juniper is a tree that reaches a maximum height of two meters. This characteristic makes it unsuitable for woodworking, but at the same time it is ideal for use in garden decoration

Juniper is considered a woody plant. It belongs to the cupressaceae family. The fruit of this tree is one of the most appreciated for all the properties it contains, being vitamin C one of its most striking components. It can be found in different places around the world, being Asia, Europe and North America the most abundant.

Properties of juniper

One of the main reasons why juniper is so valuable has to do with its properties, among which Andrea Carucci, a graduate in nutrition, highlights the following.

  • Antioxidants. The large amount of flavonoids and terpenes present in juniper, among other elements, considerably reduce the effect of free radicals.
  • Antibacterial. The essential oils present in juniper allow to eliminate the presence of fungi and bacteria
  • Anti-inflammatory. The essential oil known as myrcene, as well as flavonoids, reduce any swelling in the body. This is one of its most recommended properties.
  • Analgesic. The presence of pain can be eliminated by using juniper. This is possible due to components such as pinene, linalool, among others.

Benefits of juniper

Thanks to the properties mentioned above, juniper provides great benefits to the human body. Laura Nardi, nutritionist and naturopath, highlights the most important ones.

Regulates glucose

When consumed in the form of tea, a large amount of its components are released, making it possible that the amount of sugar in the blood does not increase too much. This is very useful to prevent diseases such as diabetes. It is also recommended for people who already suffer from this condition, because it reduces the effects of the disease.

It takes care of the heart

One of the main enemies of the heart, and the organs close to it, is cholesterol. This can cause obstructions in the pathways and affect the good circulation. But, with the use of juniper, the disproportionate increase of cholesterol in the blood, both the “good cholesterol” and the bad cholesterol, is prevented. This protects the heart.

Strengthens the digestive system

Both bile and stomach acids can cause serious conditions such as ulcers or gastritis. That is why it is recommended to use juniper. Thanks to it, it is possible to limit the presence of bile, preventing it from being able to negatively influence any organ of the body. And, as it also increases the speed of digestion, it reduces the risk of gastritis.

Prevents kidney ailments

Both people who suffer from kidney disorders and those who do not, can find much benefit in using juniper. The effect is that fluids are not retained in the body, but can be easily expelled naturally. Thanks to its effectiveness, it has been approved for use in people with problems such as stones or similar.

It takes care of the health of the skin

Juniper has many nutrients, some of which have antioxidant and antiseptic properties. These are essential to keep the skin well cared for and protected. Among these we can highlight vitamin C, one of the most effective antioxidants in eliminating the effects of free radicals.

Similarly, juniper oil has been used for skin conditions such as acne, herpes and other similar conditions. In all cases there has been a high percentage of success.

Use of juniper

There are different ways to use juniper. The form chosen will depend, in most cases, on the objective sought. Let’s see 4 below.

  • Tea. This is one of the best ways to take advantage of its effects internally. For its preparation the berries are used in hot water. After cooling and straining it can be drunk.
  • Tincture. Juniper berries are combined with alcohol. This mixture should be left uncovered for about 7 days, although it is required to move them a little from time to time. Once the 7-day period has passed, it can be used to apply on the body.
  • Oil. The oil obtained from both the berries and the branches can be applied to the skin. It is used for conditions and also as an analgesic.
  • Ointment. This presentation can be found in pharmacies. Its use is very similar to that of the oil, being ideal for skin eruptions.

Risks and contraindications of juniper

Juniper does not present any risk for its use, whether consumed or used topically. But, that can change if its use is abused. Ingesting more than you should, or applying it to the skin too many times a day, can have negative results. The symptoms of an overdose are very similar to those of an allergic reaction.

In case of these symptoms after using juniper, in any of its presentations, it is necessary to go to the doctor as soon as possible. In addition, the dietician and nutritionist Pablo Lopez mentions for whom the use of juniper is contraindicated.

  • Pregnant women. There is a great risk for the baby. For this reason, it should also be avoided during breastfeeding.
  • Children. At least until the age of 10, the digestive system is not fully developed. In order to protect their health, this product should not be used on them.

The good effects produced by juniper make it an excellent choice. As long as it is used in adults, great benefits can be obtained.

German Fuertes Otero
German Fuertes Otero
CEO at M.D. from Stanford Medicine: Stanford, California, US, M.Sc. from University of Cambridge: Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK and University of Oxford: Oxford, Oxfordshire, UK. PhD at Harvard University Harvard Catalyst: Cambridge, MA, US.

Aunque pueda contener afirmaciones, datos o apuntes procedentes de instituciones o profesionales sanitarios y la información contenida en PharmaSalud esté redactada por profesionales en medicina, recomendamos al lector que cualquier duda relacionada con la salud sea consultada con un profesional del ámbito sanitario.

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