Juniper Berries: Contraindications, Side Effects, Allergies, Benefits And Recipes

In this article we leave you with all the information regarding the highly prized juniper berries, a fruit with great potential that meets these aforementioned qualities and is currently a very popular option, among the hundreds on the market. We hope to provide you with information to help you learn about them and decide whether to include them in your diet.

There are various plants that provide us with very versatile and nutritious fruits as part of an extensive range of natural treatments, which thanks to their properties, characteristics and compounds are capable of providing innumerable benefits to our health, as well as allowing them to be used by different industries in the market.

What are juniper berries?

When we find a plant that presents great benefits to the body and contributions to various industries , it is natural that we want to know more about it and its elements, such as fruits. Such is the case of juniper and its berries, the first thing that always arises as a doubt “what is it”, for this reason we answer you here.

Juniper berries are fruits, obtained from a woody plant (or woody shrub) that is known by the same name as juniper, scientifically called Juniperus communis . It originates and is currently found in mountainous and cold areas such as Europe, North America and Asia. However, its qualities, benefits and use have spread throughout the world.

Juniper berry characteristics

The first thing we must know about juniper berries are their respective characteristics, especially physical, which will allow us to differentiate them in the market and thus take advantage of their compounds, always being an advantage for us. Here we leave you the most outstanding and interesting descriptions in terms of its characteristics.

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The standard form of juniper berries

As for the juniper berries, they do not have exactly the shape of a berry, they are rather a kind of female cones (spherical) , which give them the appearance of a ” spherical berry “, worth the redundancy. They are found on the bush that is composed only of small leaves and branches.

The average size of juniper berries

When we talk about size, we cannot say that they all have the exact same size , but we can give you an approximate. The smallest juniper berries have a diameter of 4mm (a little more than 0.125 inches), while in the largest their diameter can reach 12 mm (a little less than half a flea), they all vary.

The color or ranges of juniper berries

The color of juniper berries will vary depending on the species , planting time and maturity of the fruit, they begin being green when they are young and they darken (to a more red, purple or black color) when they mature, once they are are dry, when they are ready to use in the kitchen, their color will be the characteristic blue-purple.

The unmistakable aroma of juniper berries

Juniper berries have been characterized for being ideal as flavorings , for their strong and penetrating smell. It is very compared to the spicy or pine scent. However, this is not as strong as that of the same branches and leaves. It is recommended to inhale its aroma and they say that it can tell you how fresh the berries are.

The taste of juniper berries

The taste of juniper berries is somewhat bitter, with some citrusy and slightly sweet notes . Some cannot even be ingested due to this bitter taste, however they are still widely used by the culinary industry as an ingredient in various recipes and are palatable.

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Properties and components present in juniper berries

It is very important to know the properties and components of juniper berries, since these will be the ones that characterize it and are responsible for the benefits they provide us. Here we leave you the most outstanding components of these berries.

  • They have various acids : acetic, ascorbic, formic, chlorogenic, glycolic, glucuronic and torulosic.
  • Terpenoids such as camphor.
  • Menthol, tannins, resin and juniperine.
  • Carbohydrates like fructose and glucose.
  • Fiber like pectin.
  • Flavonoids such as catechins, epicatechins, epigallocatechins, and epigenins.
  • Minerals such as calcium, chromium, cobalt, manganese, selenium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium.
  • Vitamins like C, B1 and B3.
  • Toxic
  • Diuretic.
  • Antiseptic.
  • Antispasmodic.
  • Analgesic.
  • Anti-anorexic.

Juniper berry benefits

Juniper berries provide us with many benefits , which we owe to their properties, compounds, components and nutrients. These can be given both internally and externally and here we tell you what they are, highlighting the most important and advantageous.

Contributions or internal benefits of juniper berries

Among the contributions or internal benefits that juniper berries provide us, we can find relief from various symptoms that occur with diseases that attack our body, which usually occur thanks to the diuretic properties characteristic of juniper berries. Among these we find the following conditions that it helps to improve.


It is mainly due to its diuretic properties that prevents fluid retention and helps us to expel them, that is, to urinate (which generates a very great relief). It greatly improves these types of symptoms that are generated by this disease of Gout .


The disease called dropsy promotes swelling of various parts such as the ankles, legs and hands. The same diuretic quality helps with these symptoms, as does the anti-inflammatory property these juniper berries possess .

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The grit in the kidneys is very dangerous, it can cause certain discomforts and if it is not treated in time it turns into stones. This same quality of helping the internal expulsion of liquids, will allow us to remove that grit that has formed in the kidneys through urine . However, it must be controlled for the berry prolongation caused by albumin.


These berries are rich in terpenoid and terpene properties, which are two antiseptic, antispasmodic and above all expectorant qualities. Which makes them ideal for treating respiratory diseases, such as bronchitis, sinusitis and even pharyngitis itself. Juniper berries are a natural expectorant par excellence.


Among the many properties it possesses are those that make juniper berries an incredible ally against digestive disorders . As is the rare lack of appetite, thanks to the zinc it has and the juniperine (which increases stomach acids) it is a quintessential appetite and good digestion, flatulence, heartburn or other pains.


It has been proven that the compounds in these fruits are able to help in cases of hypertension . Since they enhance the expulsion of fluid, which causes blood pressure to be greatly reduced, improving the condition of those affected by this disease.


These berries will help us reduce inflammation of the joints, conditions that result from rheumatoid arthritis. It is mainly due to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties , the release of fluids and the general relief of the body.

Contributions or external benefits of juniper berries

Now, when it comes to external conditions or diseases, juniper berries do not present as many benefits when compared to internal ones. However, it is necessary to mention them, since for many this information can be really valuable.

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When it comes to skin problems, juniper berries are presented as a repair option . It benefits the tissues of our skin, acting as an antiseptic and healing treatment. Helping you to improve conditions caused by acne, diseases such as eczema and dermatitis. Even on the scalp like dandruff.


Juniper berries are a very powerful pain reliever against muscle and joint pain . In addition to benefiting the appearance of the skin, it is also a natural reliever of these pains, which are the result of some other disease.

Juniper Berries Uses

All this information on juniper berries has made them a sought after product and used for different purposes , among which they stand out as a medicine to attack certain conditions and improve our health, or simply as an ingredient in a dish.

Juniper berries in medicine

They are a medicinal fruit par excellence , it has been used in alternative medicine for a long time. In some cases they have been used as remedies to treat snake bites, infections and pests. Unripe juniper berries are most effective for medicinal purposes.

This use is given thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties , as well as being used as a remedy to relieve symptoms such as kidney inflammation, neuralgia, menstrual cramps, asthma, nasal congestion and various infections caused by bacteria. Helps with chest diseases.

Juniper berries in cosmetics

Juniper berries are widely used to treat skin problems, so much so that some companies use them as an ingredient in their beauty products, as well as medicines for skin infections. Used to remove stains and traces of old age. It is also used as a natural remedy against dandruff fungus.

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Juniper berries in gastronomy

Its main use in this industry is as an ingredient in a liquor, gin , which owes its name to these juniper berries. In addition, they are used in the kitchen as a condiment, flavoring, used in desserts for the touch and aroma that characterize it. As well as in meat dishes, soups, puree, breads, sauce and many other recipes.

Other uses of juniper berries

  • As a flavoring.
  • Improve digestion
  • Against psoriasis.
  • Kidney problems
  • Ally against kidney stones or stones.
  • Treatment for urine infections.
  • In gardening.
  • Like a tonic.
  • For the little known piles.
  • Facing epilepsy.
  • Treatment against fleas.

Juniper berries are used in these and more problems , characterized by presenting positive results. As long as it is not consumed in excess, visit a doctor or have prior knowledge before ingesting them. It is very important to know all the information regarding the berries before using them.

A very particular and colloquial use is the one that was given to it in ancient times , since it hung some branches with juniper berries hanging on the doors of the houses. The ancestors claimed that this kept away evil forces (spirits) and protected from accidents. It was used together with other incenses and essences.

Pregnant women and children in front of juniper berries

Due to the contradictions that occur with these juniper berries, specifically because of their toxic and contraction-generating quality in the uterus, it is not recommended to consume these berries by pregnant women . Since they increase the probability of abortion. Much less during the lactation period.

In the case of children, they are not presented as an option either, even if they are fruits. Neither the smallest nor the largest should consume them directly. They can be harmful , with some of the contradictions or secondary effects that characterize them.

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Juniper Berries Contradictions and Side Effects

Despite being very beneficial fruits, juniper berries have large and numerous contradictions, or (negative) side effects. The essential thing is that it is not consumed for a long time and that the dose is low, since these can cause irritation of the kidneys and the urinary tract in the first instance .

Also, these berries can increase blood sugar levels , which is a huge contradiction for people suffering from diabetes. In the case of presenting a urinary infection, they may not cure it and prolong the symptoms for longer, as well as make them appear new (back pain, fever, chills or itching).

Their toxic properties make them look like a ” poison “ that can be dangerous for our body. In these cases the reactions are immediate and the risks increase depending on the amount ingested. The external application of juniper berries to treat skin problems can cause certain allergic reactions such as nasal congestion.

As well as producing a skin rash. Medicines based on juniper berries or those that only contain juniper tend to come with the warning of side effects such as diarrhea, purple urine or blood in the urine, kidney or intestinal pain, increased blood pressure, accelerated heart rate or other conditions.

How much and how to eat juniper berries?

Regarding how much to eat juniper berries ? It is not advisable to eat a lot of juniper berries, rather, it is not advisable to integrate them into all our meals. Use them as a side and add only a small amount to any recipes you want to make. Ideally, you should use them in one or two dishes a week, at a minimum.

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¿ How to eat juniper berries ?, Ideally not ingest directly, ie use them as passenger in one of your favorite dishes or even typical. Because its flavor by itself is very strong, bitter and deep, in addition to the fact that it can turn out to be toxic to the organism itself. So integrate them into a recipe and eat them that way.

Tips for consuming juniper berries and making the experience the best

  • We recommend you eat and use them (whether fresh or dry), but previously crush them a little in a mortar (for example), in this way their essence will come off and the experience will be better.
  • The best option is to combine them (or integrate them) in other recipes, since their taste is very bitter. In addition, they should be used with high moderation and extreme care.
  • We advise you to know in advance the iron levels in your body . Since these juniper berries alter its absorption, consume them with great caution against this and other conditions (such as kidneys, pregnancies or children).

How to preserve juniper berries?

The preservation or conservation of juniper berries is a bit different from other fruits , which are usually compressed for this. In the case of juniper berries, these must be kept in a container (preferably airtight) and must be supervised, that is, that none of the berries are damaged (turn black). They must be very ripe and dry.

Recipes that use juniper berries

The ideal when consuming juniper berries is to integrate them as an ingredient in some recipes , their particular flavor makes them perfect as a condiment and addition. Here we leave you some of the most basic, classic, complex, fun, risky and incredibly delicious recipes. Try to prepare them from home and enjoy the benefits they can provide.

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Aromatic salt or marinade with juniper berries

It is the most basic or classic recipe that uses juniper berries among its ingredients , ideal for this preparation due to its particular flavor (bitter, strong and powerful), a preparation that you can use to season and protect foods such as meats, vegetables, greens, among others. Here are the steps for you to prepare it from home.

Ingredients and preparation:

To prepare this multifunctional seasoning you will need: 40 grams of salt, garlic (to taste), virgin or vegetable olive oil, 2 large juniper berries, 2 grams of ginger and a mortar. The first thing will be to crush the berries very well in the mortar, until they are completely crushed, add the other ingredients, stir until compact and that’s it.

Juniper berry tomato sauce

This is the classic, risky and popular tomato sauce, this time using juniper berries as an added ingredient . From the youngest to the adults they love this sauce, so you must be aware that there are no children when you prepare it, given the respective precautions above. Here you have the step by step of this delicious recipe.

Ingredients and preparation:

To prepare this colloquial and homely sauce you will need: 15 to 20 large juniper berries, 10 tomatoes of a good size (that is, large), a cup of water, salt, pepper, previously crushed garlic, coriander, onion, paprika, sweet pepper, peas, I’m sauce and vegetable oil.

The first thing to do is to crush the juniper robes in a mortar very well, put the cup of water in a pot and put it to boil, when it reaches the boiling point add the tomatoes (clean, without seeds and chopped into large pieces ) boil again for a few minutes (between 5 and 10). You must wait for them to cool, filter them and keep the water separately from the tomatoes.

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Then you must place vegetable oil in a pan and preheat for approximately 3 minutes, meanwhile you will have to chop the onion, coriander, paprika and sweet pepper. You are going to add them to the pan (which is on the fire) along with the crushed juniper berries, the peas and the soy sauce. Stir these dressings until they are integrated and the aroma is felt.

It will take you about 7 minutes . You remove from the heat and wait for its temperature to drop. In a blender (or blender) you are going to place this content of the pan, together with the tomatoes (parboiled), a quarter cup of the water where these tomatoes boiled, the salt, the pepper and the garlic (crushed). Beat for a few minutes (between 2 and 3).

Check that it has compacted well. Wash the pan and bring it to the heat, low. Pour the mixture from the blender and cook for 8 minutes, remember to stir from time to time. Remove it from the heat and wait for it to cool down, you can place it in a glass container. You can add this sauce to an infinite number of dishes, enjoy a new and unique flavor.

Children wrapped with juniper berries

A somewhat complex and risky recipe, the famous wrapped children arrive in their presentation with the juniper berries included. You cannot miss the opportunity to prepare such a nutritious, beneficial, exquisite and delightful dish . Here we leave the ingredients and respective preparation steps so that you are encouraged to make them.

Ingredients and preparation:

To prepare this recipe, you will only need: 2 large juniper berries, half a kilo of stewed meat (minced), half a white onion, a quarter paprika, 1 joint garlic, 1 onion on the branch, tomato puree (to taste), 3 canned tomatoes (peeled), 1 egg, oregano, minced garlic, olive oil, 80 cc of white wine, breadcrumbs (to taste) and 2 white cabbages.

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The first thing to do is wash and cut all the dressings into thin, elongated pieces. In a frying pan with the olive oil, previously brought to the fire, fry all these dressings such as the half white onion, the fourth paprika, the garlic joint, the previously crushed juniper berries and the onion on the branch.

Then, you add the white wine, until it evaporates. So, you add the tomato and let it cook. Meanwhile, you can prepare the ” little packages ” for the children. To do this, you just have to remove both cabbages and ” blanch ” the loose leaves (in boiled salted water), remove everything from the heat and pour these leaves into a large (wide) bowl with ice and water.

Then you prepare the meat in another large and spacious bowl, together with the tomato puree, with the egg, the oregano, the ground garlic and the breadcrumbs. Mix until everything complements very well. Add the mixture from the pan and continue stirring, making sure it is well integrated. Next, place this sautéed meat inside one of the cabbage leaves and wrap it tightly.

You can tie them with a thread, the special ones for sacacas or fritters . Do this same procedure with all the children. Cook them in a pot with water, make sure the water has boiled before putting it, over medium heat. You leave them for about 50 minutes, while they are covered. It is time to remove it and serve, ideal with Spanish potatoes or with a juice.

Juniper berry, walnut and apple pie

It’s time for the sweet recipe, for the much-appreciated and long-awaited dessert. The classic cake or pie, in this presentation with apple, walnuts and the outstanding juniper berries. You cannot deprive yourself of such an exquisite , classic, complex, risky and fun dish . Here we leave you the ingredients and preparation process, so that you can make this wonderful recipe from home.

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Ingredients and preparation:

To prepare this so traditional and memorable cake you will need: juniper berries (in this case ground), 1 cup of wheat flour, 3 eggs, sugar (preferably glass), lemon juice or zest, 2 sliced ​​apples (without shells) , 100 grams of walnuts (peeled and chopped), oil, a teaspoon of baking powder and a yogurt (natural).

To start you put water to boil in a pot, add the apples when it reaches the boiling point. Leave them until they are soft, remove from the heat and blend the apple pieces together with a quarter of the same water used.

Then the sugar, butter and eggs will be placed in a bowl (large and wide), beat until a consistent mixture is obtained . Add the wheat flour together with the baking powder , natural yogurt, baking powder, walnuts, the mixture with apples (previously made), lemon (grated or juice), oil and ground juniper berries.

Stir very well until all these ingredients have been perfectly complemented and generate a homogeneous dough. Make sure you have used all the ingredients. Prepare the mold for the cake, spread it with butter or oil, place the resulting mixture inside the mold. Preheat the oven 5 minutes before to a temperature of 250 degrees.

Take the mold to the oven and leave it there for approximately 40 minutes, at a temperature of 300 degrees. You must be very aware of the cooking time, since they vary with the recipes. Take the mold out of the oven, let it cool and remove the cake. Accompany it with whatever you want and that’s it.

An inedible recipe for health, natural ointment based on juniper berries

Creams or ointments have become very popular today, for their medicinal properties above all things. Here we leave you an ideal recipe to prepare an ointment that you can apply on your body (joints and muscle aches), pay close attention and encourage yourself to prepare it from home.

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To prepare a good dose of this medicinal ointment you will need: 1 cup of juniper berries that are well ripe, 1 glass of distilled water, 2 cups of virgin olive oil (sweet almond oil, avocado oil or olive oil). jojoba) and three tablespoons of beeswax.


The first thing you should do is soak the juniper berries in the distilled water in a cup, they should be left for several hours (preferably overnight). Lightly crush these berries, add the oil you have chosen to a saucepan and bring it to a simmer, make a ” bain-marie “. Then combine this with the juniper berries.

Pass through a strainer or filter, place the resulting liquid in the saucepan next to the beeswax and take them to the fire until it melts, wait for the mixture to cool. You now have a natural juniper berry salve ready.


We recommend applying it directly to the affected area where the pain occurs , you can prepare it whenever you want, no damage to the skin from this use has been proven. However, the positive effects have been several, it relaxes the muscles, reduces inflammation and even removes pain. Go ahead and prepare this incredible ointment.

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Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.

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