The Cedar Berry, also known as the Juniper Berry, (not actually a berry but a seed cone and is harvested from a specific variety of juniper tree rather than from cedar trees as the name seems to indicate. The sheer irony!).
It is also known as the eastern red cedar or by its Latin name, Juniperus virginiana. There are over 40 different juniper species, but before you get all excited, you should probably know that a substantial number of these species are inedible. Yikes!
This berry is ancient and has been around for a long time. Cedar berries were in use as far back as the era of Tutankhamen. Apparently, some cedar berries were discovered in his tomb by archeologists. Something we would totally consider awkward (I mean, who would literally wanna be buried with a bunch of berries?)
It seems Tutankhamen wasn’t the only one who knew all the awesome benefits of cedar berries, as the ancient Greeks also used cedar berries. The cedar berry was believed to increase athletes’ stamina. This amazing berry was also first used in the US by the native Americans (especially the Navajo tribe).
The wood procured from the Eastern Red Cedar tree was a popular construction material in early America and featured in most of the furniture at that time. Subsequently, It was used in the mid 20th century for making pencils. The quality of the red cedar wood worked well in pencil sharpeners, as such, pencil manufacturers found it a suitable material for production. (I guess this explains the meager number of red cedar trees in the US).
Before the cedar berry was considered as food, it was largely used for its medicinal properties. The Romans used them as a cheap substitute for expensive black pepper imported from India.
Cedar berries have been used in different ways, as a spice in dishes and in soups. It can also be used to make tea, to flavor food, as a preservative or eaten raw.
Wondering what it tastes like? Well, it’s not sweet like your more common berries like black or blueberries. Cedar berries are bitter in taste. Its flavor is similar to that of other juniper berries such as those common in Europe. Its flavor is piney with undertones of black pepper.
What Makes Cedar Berries Worth Discussing?
Cedar berries are loaded with super nutrients to keep you super healthy. Nutrients such as:
Cedar berries contain antioxidants in the form of flavonoids. Flavonoids are polyphenols found in plants and are really good for general well being.
Along with flavonoids, cedar berries are also rich in vitamin C. We can’t over emphasize how beneficial Vitamin C is for strengthening your immune system and for its antioxidant benefits.
Glycosides are a subset of flavonoids and are known for numerous health benefits including the ability to fight cancer and protect the liver. They can also provide antioxidant benefits just like Vitamin C.
Okay, enough with the stories. Let’s tell you why you should take cedar berries!
Aids Digestive System
Cedar berries have been observed to contain properties that give it the ability to relieve digestive problems, such as flatulence, colic, bloating, belching, heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
For an Awesome Skin!
You may not know this, but cedar berries are often used topically in a skin cream, as the extract is refreshing for muscle tone and may considerably reduce the effects of aging for most people. Its extract is highly effective in treating skin problems such as acne, psoriasis, rashes, blocked pores, warts, calluses, dermatitis, eczema, dandruff, athlete’s foot, ulcers and for balancing both dry and oily skins.
Cedar berries are also known to regulate the secretion of sebum, which is responsible for the cause of acne when secreted in excess contains anti-inflammatory properties
Cedar berry is one of the many herbs that are helpful in the body tissues. With its toning properties, cedar berry helps in the inflammation of gout, ureteritis, and hemorrhoids.
Helps Curtail Diabetes
Cedar berries contain high levels of insulin. Yes folks, insulin. This may be a helpful herbal remedy for pancreatic function in diabetics. Cedar berry extract may prevent diabetes and experts believe that cedar berries could be most effective when used with other herbs, such as Devil’s Claw and Gymnema.
Helps Fight Infections
Cedar berry is highly concentrated with diuretic properties. It is used as a home remedy for treating and preventing edema, water retention, kidney and bladder infections.
In ancient times, Native Americans used cedar berries as a treatment for measles. Cedar berries contain a compound called deoxypodophyllotoxin that has been found to be effective against certain viruses like the herpes virus, which must be why the Native Americans used it as a treatment for the measles virus. Its antiviral, antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties help stimulate the immune system, cleanse the lymph system, and has been found to be an excellent detoxifying agent for the expulsion of toxins from the system. The best news is that cedar berry extract contains properties that can treat herpes virus, gonorrhea, and gynecological infections.
Great for Weight Loss
Cedar berries are an excellent addition to your diet if you are struggling with weight problems. Thanks to its diuretic properties; it is used by many to lose weight and since it even cleanses toxins from the body, it is said to be a good overall purifier. It is effective for eliminating excess water in the body, thus, aiding weight loss. Its anti-inflammatory properties are good for the digestive system and make it a popular and effective ingredient in many weight loss recipe.
Perfect for Respiratory Health
Cedar Berry is packed with antiseptic, expectorant and mucolytic properties that are found to be helpful in treating a number of conditions associated with the respiratory system, such as coughs, pulmonary catarrh, sinusitis, colds, chronic bronchitis, tuberculosis, and asthma. It is beneficial in breaking down mucus, reducing congestion and relieving respiratory infections.
Eases Menstrual Inconveniences
Menstrual cramps are one of the reasons women dread having their period. It can be quite troublesome and frustrating. Fortunately, these can be reduced significantly with the help of cedar berry extract. Cedar berry is also used to improve the uterus tone and to help those who have slow or late starting periods. Cedar berry extracts are also used to relieve menstrual bloating, dysmenorrhea and amenorrhea.
Strengthens your Dents!
Want great oral health? Cedar berries are great for achieving that! The essential oil derived from cedar berries can aid in the relief of toothaches and strengthen the gums.
Normalizes Blood Pressure
Often called the “silent killer”, high blood pressure is truly dangerous because it has no symptoms and can lead to fatal conditions such as heart attack and stroke. Diuretics are often prescribed for treating high blood pressure. And guess what? Cedar berries are diuretic in nature. Cedar berries can help flush out excess sodium in the body by increasing urinary activity.
The Perfect Pest Repellent
Oh yeah, it works as a repellant too! Cedar contains strong insecticide properties and has been used in insect repellents and to control fleas and moths.
Don’t Take Cedar Berries…
Okay, heading to the bummers! Cedar berries should not (never ever) be consumed in large quantities. It should be noted that cedar berries can be toxic if consumed in large amounts. It can cause poisoning or miscarriage.
Yes, miscarriage. Cedar causes uterine contractions and could result in lowered fertility for those who are attempting to get pregnant or cause an abortion for those already pregnant.
If you are not pregnant (or trying to). Well, you are good to go with cedar berries. With all the awesome health benefits that come with this super berry, it wouldn’t hurt to slip a little cedar into that recipe. Or what do you think?