SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

May 18, 2014

Benefits of Juniper and Amla berries

Juniper berries are great for your kidneys, bladder and urinary tract

by: P. Simard

(NaturalNews) Juniper berries grow from shrubs in various parts of the world including Asia, Europe and North America. There are many different kinds of juniper berries but the most common one to North Americans is known as juniperus communis. The berries’ popularity has primarily come from the fact that they’ve been added to gin in order to enhance its flavor, but as the years have gone by, many interesting health benefits have also gotten well deserved attention.

The Pharmacognosy Research medical journal states that juniper berries are great antioxidants for the body that can help contain the free radicals often responsible for many diseases. They also have quite potent antibacterial, antiviral, diuretic and antiseptic properties while displaying promising, although preliminary, results with diabetes. In general, the berries are considered extremely useful to alleviate health conditions associated to the kidneys, bladder or urinary tract.

The juniper berries are exceptionally healthy and can be consumed on a daily basis in various forms, such as teas, capsules, ointments or lotions. Researchers from the University of Michigan are on record saying that bitter herbs such as juniper do improve digestion by increasing saliva, digestive enzymes and stomach acid secretions that all contribute to breaking down food. On the other hand, they recommend taking them in moderation in order to make sure they don’t end up irritating the kidneys.

Urinary tract infections may be prevented by juniper berries

The University of Michigan has validated through research that juniper berries help increase urine output, therefore normalizing water retention. Not only can they be seen as excellent diuretics but they can also help get rid of bloating symptoms. The university comes to the conclusion that by facilitating liquid output, including toxins and unwanted bacteria, the berries most likely prevent possible urinary tract infections. The diuretic action can also help get rid of the body’s excess uric acid while also reducing fluids around joints.

The Shiraz University of Medical Sciences demonstrated how juniper berries can help protect the organism from bacteria generally responsible for the development of either E. coli, pneumonia, gonorrhea and staphylococcus aureus. The latter is an infection that often spreads in hospitals and antibiotics usually cannot get rid of it. It would certainly make sense to continue research on juniper berries to see if they could become an effective option to help control such infections.

Researchers from the University of Gazi in Turkey studied the effects produced on rats by feeding them with juniperus oxycedrus leaves. They noted that blood glucose levels were steadily falling on a daily basis over the course of their ten day experiments. Korea’s Pai Chai University did a similar study on diabetic rats by feeding them a single dose of juniperus chinensis. Following the ingestion of the berry extract, for nine straight hours the rats’ blood glucose levels would continuously diminish.

 

(My Comment:
We so often overlook the bounty available to us in plain, natural, wonderful plants, especially fruits.  We should remember that these fruits give us so much more than  sweet taste — quite often, there is fabulous “healing energy” bestowed upon us as we enjoy these flavors.  How long have we been told to have “berries” in our morning shakes and smoothies.  Not an admonishment, just a reminder.   

 Recently, both in email and snail mail,  I have received written word (advertisements) about a fairly new treatment (they say) of the Indian Gooseberry called Amla or Amalaki which is being currently used in cardiac care among other things.  Maybe its considered new by Americans because we  are just recently becoming aware of this berry which has been in use abroad for over a thousand years and greatly revered in Ayurvedic medicine.   Had never heard of these berries til now, nor have I tasted the Juniper berries.

Nothing earth shattering here, just thought you might like to know.  Jan)

Organic Facts

The health benefits of Indian Gooseberry, also known as Amla, can be partially attributed to its high vitamin-C content. Amla enhances food absorption, balances stomach acid, fortifies the liver, nourishes the brain and mental functioning, supports the heart, strengthens the lungs, regulates elimination of free radicals, enhances fertility, helps the urinary system, increases skin health, promotes healthier hair, acts as a body coolant, flushes out toxins, increases vitality, strengthens eyes, improves muscle tone and, acts as an antioxidant.

The Indian Gooseberry belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family. This fruit ripens in the autumn in wet, forested, hilly areas on the Indian subcontinent. In India it is considered a sacred tree. The fruit is very nourishing, but it tastes sour.   Both dried and fresh fruits can be consumed for their health benefits.

It provides remedies for many diseases, so it is widely used in Ayurvedic treatment. Gooseberry is very rich in Vitamin C, and contains many minerals and vitamins like Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, Carotene and Vitamin B Complex. Amla is also a powerful antioxidant agent.

Many health problems are caused by oxidative damage (when body cells use oxygen, they produce by-products called free radicals that can cause damage). Antioxidant agents prevent and repair these damages. Vitamin-C is a good antioxidant agent, which makes gooseberries a powerful tool against a variety of conditions, including various types of cancer.

 

Plus the following from WEBMD:

INDIAN GOOSEBERRY Overview Information

Indian gooseberry is a tree that grows in India and the Middle East. Indian gooseberry has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Today people still use the fruit of the tree to make medicine.

Indian gooseberry is used for high cholesterol, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), diabetes, pain and swelling of the pancreas (pancreatitis), cancer, upset stomach, eye problems, joint pain, diarrhea, dysentery, obesity, and “organ restoration.” It is also used to kill germs and reduce pain and swelling caused by the body’s reaction to injury or illness (inflammation).

How does it work?

Indian gooseberry seems to work by reducing total cholesterol levels, including the fatty acids called triglycerides, without affecting the “good cholesterol” called high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

 

And this from WIKIPEDIA:

General Info:
This tropical tree reaches 8-18 meters in height. It has gray bark and reddish wood and produces small fruits, which ripen in autumn.
All parts of the plant are used in various Ayurvedic herbal applications.
Nutrients & Applications:

Amla is helpful for a variety of digestive problems, regeneration of cells and is well known for its antioxidant properties. It supports a healthy heart and promotes good blood circulation as well as nourishes the brain improving mental functions. Fortifying for the liver, Amla is excellent for helping to flush out toxins.An aid for maintaining a healthy respiratory system, it is also used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for fertility and supporting healthy blood sugar levels. Amla is also useful in the cosmetic industry due to being an excellent moisturizer and promoting healthy luster on the skin, hair and nails. Amla reportedly also improves eyesight.Amla is highly nutritious and contains the most concentrated form of vitamin C found in the plant kingdom. Its tannins also help even dried forms of Amla to retain most of its vitamin content.

Amla is also high in chromium, zinc and copper.*

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