Juniper or Juniperus communis of the Cupressaceae family, is a typical plant of the Mediterranean. It is wide-spread, it is located from the far north, from Canada to Japan. It has great adaptability and well in all types of terrain and in different environmental conditions since even at 2000 meters of altitude.
It blooms in late spring with yellow flowers from female plants, Three hard, triangular seeds, with ridges and depressions, are immersed in a green pulp. Those berries galbuli or blue-purple color cuddle mature in two years.
In Italy the cultivation of juniper berries is widespread especially in mountain areas and in some marine areas.
Their best known use is in the kitchen, since the times of the Romans. The berry has sour taste rounding the taste with very strong foods, generally it is used for main courses such as meats and game.
In spirits such as gin (obtained from a fermented wheat and barley) are inevitable juniper berries used to characterize the scent and aroma, so that the name gin derives from their name.
100 gr / 20 kcal
In chemical composition we find: essential oil is extracted by steam distillation and contains pinene, sabinene, myrcene. The berries still contain: tannins, diterpenes, proanthocyanidins, flavonoids, resins and monosaccharides.
Anthocyanins are the pigments found in flowers, fruits and vegetables which have strong antioxidant activity, slowing down aging and cell death, and have a positive effect on the microcirculation, but not all have diuretic properties, anti-edema, anti-platelet platelet, creating vasodilation to the cardiovascular system.
Flavonoids are chemical compounds found in many plants, giving shades from yellow to orange. They can be found in vegetables, fruits and seeds. They're powerful antioxidants, they help keep intact the liver, immune and micro circulation.
The essential oil has two major activities: carminative, that is, the decrease of the formation and accumulation of intestinal gas and stomachic action, namely the improvement of peristalsis of the stomach and the production of gastric juices thus aiding digestion
It has antiseptic properties especially against urinary tract infections and anti-rheumatic, in the case of joint pain you can alleviate the symptom massaging the essential oil on the painful area.
Use for a long time the juniper berries can lead to some problems such as pain in the kidney area, increased urination and blood in the urine. In some rare cases it can lead to breakthrough bleeding and seizures.
Those suffering from kidney failure and glomerulonephritis should avoid the intake, its use is not recommended during pregnancy and breast-feeding because it may cause uterine contractions.
Having a strong diuretic power who takes diuretics should be careful because it could affect the operation of the drug itself.
Pharmaceutical information about the applications and the consumption of food plants have no indication for self-prescription. In the case of diseases, especially if severe, you need to individually track them with your doctor.
Dr. Cinzia M. Calabrese