Juniper Berries Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Juniper Berries Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels – There is promising evidence that juniper berries can help lower your blood sugar levels, but at the time of publication research has been confined to animal studies. Juniper berries are really seed cones, not berries.
Researchers studying the effectiveness of juniper berries tend to focus on one variety at a time. There are 67 different species, according to “Junipers of the World: The Genus Juniperus.” Connecting a specific species to diabetes may take some time. Never take any supplements without discussing them first with your doctor.
Diabetes is a serious chronic disease that affects your glucose, or blood sugar level. Insulin is a hormone secreted by your pancreas. It helps your body process and use glucose for energy. Diabetics may be insulin resistant, have too little insulin, or both. Type 1 diabetics are normally diagnosed as children, whose bodies make little or no insulin. Type 2 diabetes is normally diagnosed in adulthood, although that is changing as childhood obesity, a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, becomes more prevalent. Type 2 diabetics do not respond well to insulin. Untreated, diabetes can cause kidney failure, stroke or heart disease.
Researchers at the University of Gazi in Turkey published the results of their juniper berry study in the January 2011 issue of the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology.” For 10 days, researchers fed Juniperus oxycedrus leaves and berries to diabetic rats. The blood glucose levels of the rats decreased steadily over the course of the 10 days.
Another study, this one at Korea’s Pai Chai University, involved feeding diabetic rats a single dose of Juniperus chinensis berry extract. The rats’ blood glucose levels steadily dropped over the course of nine hours. Those study results were published in the January 2008 issue of the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology.”
Since no positive link has been established in humans, there is no recommended dosage for using juniper berry to treat diabetes. The Langone Medical Center at New York University suggests that juniper can be ingested as a tea by adding 1 tbsp. of juniper berries to a cup of boiling water, then steeping for 20 minutes. You can do this twice daily. Follow the dosing suggestions provided with juniper supplements you purchase, and only purchase supplements from reliable manufacturers, since standards vary greatly. Ask for a recommendation at your local health food store.
Although juniper berry is thought to be safe, there are many unknowns about using it. Juniper berries can cause stomach cramps or diarrhea in children, according to the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania. The National Kidney Foundation reports that eating juniper berries may irritate or even damage your kidneys if you have chronic kidney disease. Do not take juniper if you are pregnant, nursing or taking lithium.
As always, consult with your doctor before adding supplements to your diet. We eat these berries right off the Juniper tree or dry them and add them to cooked foods as a spice. They are great in soups. They have a unique taste you won’t find quite like anything else. We only eat a few at a time. Steeped into a tea or added to a soup is the best way to enjoy them.
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- “Junipers of the World: The Genus Juniperus”; Robert P. Adams, Ph.D.; 2011
- “Journal of Ethnopharmacology”; Effects of Juniperus Oxycedrus ssp. Oxycedrus on Tissue Lipid Peroxidation, Trace elements (Cu, Zn, Fe) and Blood Glucose Levels in Experimental Diabetes; Nilüfer Orhan, et al.; January 2011
- “Journal of Ethnopharmacology”; Comparison Between Ethanolic and Aqueous Extracts from Chinese Juniper Berries for Hypoglycaemic and Hypolipidemic Effects in Alloxan-Induced Diabetic Rats; Jung Bong Ju, et al.; January 2008
- New York University, Langone Medical Center: Juniper Berry
- The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: The Poison Control Center: Berries and Seeds
- National Kidney Foundation: Use of Herbal Supplements in Chronic Kidney Disease