Just Juniper: Health Benefits Of This Common Plant

Juniper is a very hardy plant, suitable for planting in gardens across the United States, with limited exceptions in the southernmost areas. But juniper isn’t just a great garden staple. This plant also has many medical uses, particularly when the berries are refined into juniper oil. Juniper plants have been used in medical treatments for centuries. Though they should only be employed in consultation with your doctor, juniper can be a great supplement and even a key part of your first aid kit.

Wake It Up

Busy schedule, poor nutrition, and disrupted sleep can all factor into the fatigue that plagues many of us. Luckily, juniper can give you a boost on those bleary mornings. Juniper is a general stimulant that can help reduce fatigue, dizziness, and even depression. Be careful, though – juniper also increases bodily secretions, including sweat, urine, and even breast milk. Make sure you’re prepared for these possibilities if you use juniper oil.

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Infection Fighter

One of the oldest uses of juniper is as an antiseptic. It has been used on war field, in athletics, and even to treat injuries during labor. In the modern world, the antimicrobial capabilities of juniper have been used to treat a variety of infections, including common bugs like E. coli and infections that cause pneumonia. Most amazingly, juniper is also effective for some cases of MRSA. MRSA is a form of staph that is resistant to most antibiotics, to juniper is sometimes the best bet for fighting this life threatening infection.

Ample Antioxidants

Although it would be unlikely that you’d encounter juniper berries in your salad, studies have shown that they contain high levels of beneficial antioxidants. These antioxidants can help reduce the free radicals in your body, reducing cancer risks. Juniper may also be especially helpful in the area of brain and blood vessel health.

Ending Indigestion

Do you have digestive problems? Juniper tea has been used for many years as a treatment for indigestion. It can improve bile flow and generally regulate stomach function, making it a great health for those who suffer from heartburn, IBS, bloating, and other digestive issues.

The list of juniper’s uses is nearly endless – soothing urinary tract irritation, treating eczema and acne, and may even help with issues as disparate as dandruff and kidney and bladder stones.

Pregnant women and those with major kidney issues should not consume juniper or juniper supplements, and all are generally advised to keep juniper concentrations low. It’s also important not to confuse juniper berry oil with cade oil, which comes from juniper woods, as the effects are quite different. As an essential oil, a tea, or in other forms, this backyard plant offers a wide array of health benefits, making it as popular now as it has been for hundreds of years.

 

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