The Juniper tree was rumored to have magical powers, and simply placing it near the entrance of the house could protect its residents from witches, accidents, and diseases.
The juniper tree has a long history of use, thanks to its high medicinal value. The plant and its extracts are regarded as folk medicine in some European countries. Depending upon the species of the plant, it can either be a small shrub or grow to a height of up to 40m.
The purple-black berries that grow on this plant display antimicrobial activity, and are the main ingredient in juniper tea. Being an antiseptic and an excellent source of antioxidants, the medicinal purposes of juniper tea are numerous, some of which are discussed below.
Juniper Tea Health Benefits
Kick-start your digestion process post a heavy meal by having a cup of juniper tea. This herbal tea can provide a great amount of relief from indigestion, that often manifests in the form of an upset stomach and gas. Heartburn and bloating, that are common after having elaborate meals, can be alleviated by drinking juniper tea. It can also be helpful to treat gastrointestinal conditions such as colitis and ulcers.
Due to its diuretic properties, juniper tea can be helpful to cleanse the kidneys. Juniper tea detoxifies the urinary system by getting rid of harmful substances through urine. This is crucial to keep the urinary tract system healthy. Therefore juniper tea is also used in the treatment of UTI. If you suffer from a bladder infection, you can always take juniper tea as a way to combat the urological condition. Its diuretic action stimulates the kidneys and improves urine flow, which may also contribute in dissolving kidney stones. The antimicrobial properties of juniper tea can aid in treating other urological conditions such as prostatitis, vaginitis, and urethritis as well.
Due to its diuretic nature, it can help to get rid of excess fluids and alleviate tissue swelling commonly associated with water retention. It increases urine flow to expel excess fluid, which may eventually help to cure edema. On the whole, the increased urination also contributes in eliminating toxic waste from the body.
Treats Joint Problems
The medicinal benefits of juniper tea may also extend to reducing joint pain. Studies have proved the anti-inflammatory activity of juniper berries. Proanthocyanidins, naturally occurring compounds, are known to induce inflammatory reaction in the affected tissues. There is excess secretion of proanthocyanidins in the inflamed tissue. In one such study, it was observed that juniper tea helped in restricting synthesis of proanthocyanidins, which may help in alleviating inflammation. The fruits and herbal tea of the juniper tree have been used for years to treat musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and joint inflammation.
Reduces Uric Acid Levels
Accumulation of uric acid in the joint tissues that causes inflammation is common in people affected with gout. Taking juniper berries in the form of tea can work wonders to decrease uric acid levels, which may help to alleviate symptoms of gout. Thus, taking juniper tea can aid in keeping uric acid levels in the normal range and prevent a gout attack. Too much uric acid can also cause uric acid crystals to form in the kidneys, and eventually cause formation of kidney stones. All these issues can be avoided by drinking juniper tea.
Treats Viral Infections
Respiratory problems such as common cold, seasonal flu, and bronchitis can also be effectively treated by drinking tea made from juniper berries. The plant contains a powerful antiviral agent that can restrict the activity of different viruses. So, taking its extracts, such as juniper tea, does help to soothe viral infections of the respiratory tract. Inhaling the steam produced while making juniper tea also provides relief from a few symptoms of lung infection. Even herpes can be effectively managed by with the help of juniper tea.
A Natural Expectorant
Looking for a natural way to drain the mucus from the lungs? Look no further, as juniper tea acts as a natural expectorant. There is no need to take chemical-based cough syrups that claim to loosen the mucus at the expense of other bothersome side effects. One can always rely on juniper tea to get rid of excess mucus and reduce chest congestion.
Not feeling hungry during meal times? Want to improve your appetite naturally? Well, have juniper tea just before having a meal and expect your hunger to return with a vengeance.
Stimulates Menstrual Flow
Women suffering from irregular periods may benefit by taking juniper tea as it helps to improve menstrual flow. It is also one of the best home remedies to alleviate muscle cramping.
High in Antioxidants
The juniper berries that are used in making this herbal tea are full of antioxidants such as vitamin C, flavonoids, and other nutrients such as vitamin B. Antioxidants act as powerful defense mechanisms against free radicals - molecules that have been linked to numerous degenerative diseases. So, consuming juniper tea can provide you with a generous dose of antioxidants, thereby making you feel healthier.
- Continued usage of juniper tea can be detrimental to kidneys. So, despite its health benefits, frequent intake of juniper tea has to be avoided. One should drink not more than 2 cups of juniper tea daily and this can be continued for 2 months at the most.
- Juniper tea acts as a uterine stimulant, meaning it can induce contraction of uterus muscles. Although uterine contractions are normal during pregnancy, juniper tea can cause premature contractions, which may lead to menstrual bleeding. So, it is essential that pregnant women, and even those planning to conceive, avoid taking juniper or its extracts. Breastfeeding women should also avoid drinking juniper tea.
- Natural diuretics such as juniper tea can do more harm than good in people with serious kidney impairments. Kidneys with primary defects won't be able to handle the diuretic activity of juniper tea.
- People suffering from diabetes need to consult a doctor before taking juniper tea. Animal studies suggest that juniper berries and leaves tend to decrease blood sugar levels. So, taking too much of juniper extracts can significantly reduce sugar levels in the body, thereby increasing the risk of hypoglycemia. Also, the efficacy of prescribed diabetic medications may lower when they are taken in conjunction with juniper tea.
- There have been sporadic reports of cedar berries (belonging to one of the juniper plant species) helping to treat and even cure diabetes in humans. Also, juniper berries has a long history of use as a treatment for diabetes by Native Americans. However, large-scale studies are yet to verify the effects of juniper extracts on diabetic patients.
Anything consumed in excess is bad for health and this also holds true for juniper tea. Despite having high medicinal value, drinking juniper tea in moderation is the key to reap its benefits. Excess intake can make you susceptible to some of its bothersome side effects, some of which are given below:
- High blood pressure
- Intestinal discomfort
- Blood in urine (indicating kidney damage)
- Urine emanating offensive odor
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.