Finding simple, natural ways to boost our health is always welcome — and even more so when it’s in the form of a delicious tea. If you’re looking for a brew that may help balance blood sugar, keep cholesterol in check, and reduce inflammation, look no further than juniper berry tea!
Juniper trees are grown all over the world and their berries are perhaps best known for giving gin its slightly astringent, piney flavor. Although you may get a few benefits from a shot of the liquor, we all know it’s better to keep alcohol consumption in moderation. Thankfully, steeping crushed and dried juniper berries as tea is much safer to enjoy them on a regular basis. You can also grind the berries as a seasoning for food (similar to peppercorns), but again, you won’t get much from a dash or two.
Lowering blood sugar is one of the most impressive perks you may get from brewing juniper at tea time. According to several animal studies, the high level of antioxidants in each small berry have been shown to reduce glucose levels. Research also found juniper was able to decrease high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. More specifically, it appeared to lower “bad” cholesterol and promote “good” cholesterol, improving overall heart health. More studies need to be done with humans, but these developments are already promising.
Of course, the ample amount of antioxidants will also ward off inflammation and protect our cells against free radical damage. Researchers observed that one antioxidant in particular known as monoterpenes was particularly effective at reducing inflammation.
That’s on top of helpful antioxidants found in juniper berries, including flavonoids like rutin, luteolin, and apigenin — all of which have been found to help with things like balancing gut health, preventing the formation of cholesterol, and easing anxiety.
You can buy whole dried juniper berries to crush up (you just need about a teaspoon) and steep for 10 minutes before straining. It’s also easy to find pre-made bags, like Buddha Teas Organic Juniper Berry Tea (Buy on Amazon, $10.65). Fans of this brand describe its flavor as subtle and “a quiet way of bringing out the essence of juniper.” Give a try and it just might become your new go-to brew!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.