Juniper Berries Overview
Juniper berries naturally grow in the northern hemisphere and in other areas like Siberia, Canada, and Europe. It is also known as enebro, gin berry, wachholder, horse savin, and hackmatack. The berries are commercially used as an ingredient in the production of alcoholic beverages because of its distinctive bitter essence. Juniper berries are also used as an herbal medicine because of its therapeutic benefits for arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and kidney disorders. Studies have discovered that juniper berries contain natural insulin and can work in the body just like endogenous counterpart.
The advantages of using juniper berries for diabetes
- Relieves symptoms of hyperglycemia without producing adverse effects
- Enhances cellular uptake of glucose from the circulation
- Improves the delayed wound healing in diabetes
- Improves digestion
- Improves kidney function and glomerular filtration
- Supports blood pressure level and protects against cardiovascular disease
- Initiates weight loss by the peripheral breakdown of fat
Therapeutic uses of Juniper Berries
Diabetes is an old disease that has been affecting people for centuries. Since then, herbal medicines are accepted as a cost-effective treatment for diabetes. A lot of studies demonstrated the hypoglycemic effect of juniper berries into diabetes-induced rats. After experimental analysis, researchers found that juniper berries naturally stores plant insulin which has a similar effect with the insulin produced by the pancreas.
Planta Medica Journal (Spain): Juniper berry extracts were able to reduce the blood sugar levels of normoglycemic rats using a dosage of 250 mg/kg. The extracts were found to increase insulin sensitivity and the peripheral uptake of glucose. Juniper also has the ability to potentiate insulin production by the pancreas. When 125mg/kg extracts were used to diabetes-induced rats, researchers noticed a significant decrease in blood sugar levels and mortality index. The study was completed in 24 days and researchers concluded that juniper berries work as insulin in the peripheral circulation.1
Weight Loss and Cardiovascular Disease
Medications used to treat diabetes have limited therapeutic action and focuses mainly on the regulation of blood sugar levels. However, herbal medications like juniper berries can also prevent the occurrence of cardiovascular complications and could even initiate weight loss. People with diabetes suffer from a lot of symptoms and complications. The disadvantage of prescribed medications is that it causes unexpected hypoglycemic episodes and could even harm the kidneys in the long run.
Journal of Ethnopharmacology: A study was conducted to evaluate the difference of ethanol from aqueous extracts of juniper berries. Results show that single oral administration of ethanol extracts caused a timely reduction in the blood sugar levels of diabetes-induced rats. The study also discovered that aqueous extracts of juniper berries produce a different therapeutic effect. Aqueous extracts significantly reduced triglyceride levels and total cholesterol. Results of the study gave juniper berries a new role in the regulation of blood pressure, initiation of weight loss, and prevention of cardiovascular disease.2
- De Medina, S., et.al. Planta Medica Journal. Jun 1994:60(3): 197-200.
- Ju, JB., et.al. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Jan 2008;115(1): 110-5.