Originally from India and Asia, its juniper berries are very popular in the kitchen and also have many health benefits and virtues.
Juniper (Juniperus communis) is a small, very hardy, slow-growing conifer with spiny evergreen needles that grows on sandy moors, dry slopes and rocky areas.
Juniper and its health benefits
In the Middle Ages, the small juniper berry was already widely used by doctors and since then, nothing has questioned its reputation. Its diuretic, depurative, sweating, stomach and tonic virtues, praised by pharmacologists in the 18th and 19th centuries, are now recognized.
Juniper berries are undoubtedly one of the best known diuretics. They are used for their benefits in cases of generalized edema and to treat gallstones, kidney stones and bladder inflammations.
Be careful, the diuretic action of juniper is very powerful and can irritate the kidneys. Therefore, its prolonged or too abundant use should be avoided.
Berries are particularly useful in the treatment of arthritis, gout, and all rheumatic conditions. They are then mainly used in baths: 2 kg of young branches and a handful of berries previously boiled in the bath water are added.
Juniper is a good tonic and a mild expectorant, effective against sore throat, sinusitis and colds. It becomes a syrup that is administered in the morning and at night.
Juniper berries facilitate intestinal transit and aid digestion.
When applied locally, juniper essential oil stimulates the immune system. It helps fight fatigue and stress, viral and bacterial infections, skin infections and skin problems (acne, dermatosis, eczema, dull and tired skin). In massages, it also relieves pain.
When diffused into the atmosphere, juniper essential oil is soothing and anti-stress. It calms internal restlessness and nervousness.
Juniper cultivation for its benefits
Juniper loves full sun, even when it is 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 thorny!
Juniper adapts to all situations and can live for a long time. Its only enemies are mealy bugs.
If you want to grow junipers in pots, choose dwarf varieties.
Juniper in the kitchen for its benefits
Although the young shoots can be eaten in salads, in combination with other leaves, it is the berries that are used mainly in the kitchen.
They are inseparable from the sauerkraut (whose digestion is facilitated), the game of flavors, the pates, the smoked ham and the broth of the court.
It is also used to aromatize certain alcohols such as gin and aquavit… to be consumed in moderation, of course!
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