Juniper: properties, use, nutritional values

The junipero is a spice with antiseptic and expectorant properties, widely used in cooking and useful as a digestive and against cough. Let's break it down better.

> 1. Description of the plant

> 2. Properties and benefits of juniper

> 3. Calories and nutritional values ​​of juniper

> 4. Use in the kitchen


> 5. Curiosities about Juniper


Description of the plant

Juniper (Juniperus) is a genus of plants belonging to the Cupressaceae family which includes the common juniper, but also many others species appreciated for the quality of the wood shrub (Juniperus virginiana) or as ornamental plants (Juniperus sabina and Juniperus rigida).

Juniperus communis, known as common juniper or simply juniper is an evergreen shrub, 1 to 10 meters tall, with needle-like leaves and berries (or cuddles) blue-purple covered with an opaque film called bloom.
In the country it is widespread in the Alps but also in the Apennines up to Lazio and Sardinia.

 

Properties and benefits of juniper

Juniper has numerous virtues: it is stomachico and chewing the berries facilitates digestion, is a natural antiseptic for the urinary and respiratory tract (useful for the treatment of urinary stones, to quell cough or as an expectorant) and has antirheumatic properties, often in fact thejuniper essential oil it is used for massages. Massaging the body with juniper oil helps relax contracted muscles, the prevents cramps and tone the connective tissues.

Il ginepro è sempre stato considerato dalla medicina popolare un rimedio naturale per l diversi disturbi e nel XIX secolo l'abate tedesco Sebastian Kneipp suggeriva ai malati di influenza di avvolgersi in una coperta riscaldata ai vapori di una pentola in cui venivano fatti bollire bacche e rami di ginepro.

Here are some indications to make the most of the benefits of this precious plant:



  • To prepare a juniper infusion leave the juniper berries (5g) crushed in 15 liter of boiling water to infuse for 1 minutes. Drink 2 cups a day of this infusion promotes diuresis, calm the cough e purifies the urinary tract.
  • Leaving 2g of crushed berries to macerate for 10 weeks in 1 liter of white wine with a lemon zest will result in a macerated di ginepro which, taken after meals (a glass is enough), prevents heartburn and bloating.
  • L'juniper essential oil it is perfect for a relaxing and emollient massage, especially when combined with that of almonds or jojoba.

 

Calories and nutritional values ​​of juniper

100 g of juniper contain 10 kcal

In addition, they contain resins, pectins, invert sugars, inosite, volatile oil and juniper.

 

The techniques, benefits and contraindications of massage with essential oils

 

Use in the kitchen

Juniper was already very popular in Roman times and Apicius indicated it as an indispensable spice in the kitchen of a cook and an excellent substitute for pepper.
Juniper berries have a sour taste for this reason they dampen strong foods such as game and sauerkraut. Also very popular for flavoring potato preparations or baked fish.

Widely used in the preparation of spirits by fermenting the juice of the berries and then distilling (juniper e juniper brandy) and to make liqueurs by distilling the spirit on the berries (gin).



The juniper wood is very fragrant, which is why it is used for smoke the cured meats (this is the case of the renowned Trentino speck) and placed in wood-fired ovens to give flavor to the bread during cooking.


 

Curiosities about juniper

The name juniper derives from the Celtic word juneprus which means "acre".
The saying "to be in a tangle”Refers to the intricate branches of the juniper and its prickly leaves to indicate metaphorically a difficult and problematic situation.

Protagonist of a fable by the Brothers Grimm and of various popular stories and beliefs, this plant would have been the only one (according to a medieval legend) to give shelter to the Holy Family during the flight to Egypt and for this reason the juniper was blessed by the Virgin.


Popular tradition has always attributed to juniper the power to keep witches and evil spirits away, for this reason its branches were hung on the doors of the stables to preserve the health of the cattle, they were placed on the roof of newly built houses and the Greeks and Romans burned them as if they were incense to purify the air.

Il juniper wood it was used to build kitchen utensils, so as to inebriate all the dishes that were prepared with its sweet aroma, an example was the ladle to turn the polenta.

Some juniper shrubs (Juniperus rigida and Juniperus chinensis) are used in Japan in Bonsai art as they allow to obtain very original and daring forms.

 

 

READ MORE
Juniper is one of the natural remedies to combat seasonal allergies

 

Other articles on juniper:
> Did you know that juniper is one of the plants associated with the Sagittarius sign?
> Juniper herbal tea among herbal teas for weight loss


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