Juniper berries are utilized in herbal medicine as well as flavoring for certain foods and even gin. Even though labelled as berries, they are part of the cone and not an actual berry. Most can safely ingest juniper berries in the amounts utilized in food, but some should avoid consuming them in medicinal doses.
Even though further studies are required to figure out whether juniper is effective in managing health conditions, it is often used to stimulate menstruation, treat bladder infections or as a diuretic.
Conventionally, juniper berries were also utilized in managing urinary tract infections, gonorrhea and even heart failure.
What is the right dosage?
A doctor should be consulted first before using juniper berries to ensure that it is safe for overall health.
The conventional dose is between 2-10 grams of berries or 20-100 mg of essential oil. A juniper tea can also be prepared using either berries or twigs of the tree and straining first before consumption. It is recommended to drink only 1-2 cups in a day since consuming more can result to undesirable effects.
What are the side effects?
Some individuals are highly sensitive to the juniper berries and usually end up with an allergic reaction such as:
- Skin rash
- Difficulty breathing
Among pregnant women, it is not advisable to consume juniper berries since this can lead to miscarriage. In addition, juniper berries might interact with lithium, thus those using the medication must avoid the berries.
Is toxicity likely to occur with juniper berries?
If an individual ingests large amounts of juniper berries, it can lead to mild symptoms of toxicity due to its volatile oils. Take note that these symptoms are typically limited to diarrhea. Nevertheless, large doses might also lead to convulsions, damage to the kidney and even DNA damage.