Using Juniper Berries
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Mike
Posted on: October 11, 2006

I received juniper berries, but I don’t know what to do with them. Eat, tea, etc.?

Juniper berries are surprisingly useful as a spice, a flavouring agent, and as a medicine. We don’t usually associate coniferous trees as a source of flavour for food and drink, but the juniper berry is just that. The berries have a wonderful "piney" or resinous flavour which is a nice bold addition to sauces, and meat and seafood dishes. Not unexpectedly -- because the juniper is so abundant in the region -- the berries are a prominent ingredient in Scandinavian cooking, especially meat dishes. Juniper berries provide an essential flavour for the manufacture of gin, which is how many people today first encounter the flavour of juniper, albeit unknowingly.

Besides their usefulness for flavouring, the berries stimulate the digestive system and appetite, and counteract flatulence. They are also antiseptic, diuretic and tonic. Just adding a few berries to the diet is already a way of reaping some of the medicinal benefits of juniper berries. But they can also be brewed into a tea or just chewed, a few berries a day. According to the American herbalist, John Lust, the tea is made by steeping one teaspoonful of crushed berries in a half cup of boiling water for 5-10 minutes. The tea is strained and a half to full cup is taken a day, a mouthful at a time. The tea can be sweetened with honey if desired. It is also possible to preserve the fresh berries as a jam or syrup for use as an appetizer for adults or children who are struggling to eat enough because of poor appetite.

I’m also looking for buchu, can you get this for me?

Yes, we probably can get it in an certified organic form. We will investigate and get back to you.

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