Juniper Berry

Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis)

Juniper berries actually aren’t berries at all. They are female seed cones that come from juniper plants — a type of conifer (Pinophyta), which is a cone-bearing plant or tree. Juniper plants vary in appearance and can grow low and wide like a shrub or tall like a tree. Their uniquely fleshy, merged scales make them look like a berry, thus the name.

In addition to their slightly misleading name, juniper berries are also not a berry you would generally eat with breakfast, like blueberries (even though they’re similar in size). Instead, juniper berries are often used as a bitter spice. In fact, they give gin its distinctive flavor. Juniper berries are officially the only spice to come from a conifer tree.

You will find Juniper Berry in Mother Jai’s Products, click below to shop.

One of the major uses of these berries is in juniper berry essential oil. Known in folk medicine and some modern research as a natural antiseptic and antioxidant, the essential oil of juniper berries is a popular therapeutic oil. It’s also one of the essential oils the FDA approves for limited internal use.

Juniper is used for digestion problems including upset stomach, intestinal gas (flatulence), heartburn, bloating, and loss of appetite, as well as gastrointestinal (GI) infections and intestinal worms. It is also used for urinary tract infections (UTIs) and kidney and bladder stones. Other uses include treating snakebite, diabetes, and cancer.

Juniper Essential Oil Uses

Colds, flu, acne, cellulitis, gout, hemorrhoids, obesity, rheumatism, toxin build-up. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 58-61.]

The essential oil of juniper is obtained through steam distillation of the needles, wood and powdered fruits of juniper, bearing the scientific name Juniperus communis.

Major Constituents: a-Pinene, Sabinene, B-Myrcene, Terpinene-4-ol, (+)-Limonene, B-Pinene, Gamma-Terpinene, Delta-3-Carene, a-Terpinene. See Essential Oil Safety for more complete list of constituents. [H. Schilcher, D. Emmrich, C. Koehler. Gas Chromatographischer Verleich von Atherischen Wacholderolen und Deren Toxikologische Bewertung. (Pharmazeutische Zeitung 138, 1993), 85-91. Source cited in Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 314.]

Blending: Juniper essential oil blends well with the essential oils of Bergamot, Cedar Wood, Cypress, Grapefruit, Geranium, Lavandin, Lavender, Lavandin, Lime, Lemon, Lemongrass, and Vetiver.

Benefits of Juniper Berries:

  • Relieve Oxidative Stress and Prevent Disease: juniper berries are full of antioxidants that help your body prevent and fight disease by relieving oxidative stress caused by too many free radicals in your system. They contain 87 different distinct bioflavonoids.
  • Natural Antiseptic: strong antibacterial and antifungal qualities. Powerfully destroys black mold (aspergillus), candida and staphylococcus, kills antibiotic resistant strains, and eliminates bacteria and reduces inflammation in the mouth without toxic side effects.
  • Improves Skin Conditions: juniper berries, specifically in essential oil form, is to treat skin issues like rash or eczema. The antioxidants they contain are probably one major reason this can be effective. Helps treat skin pigmentation disorders like vitiligo. The essential oil of juniper berries has also been used for some time to reduce the appearance of cellulite, a harmless cosmetic issue involving fatty deposits that are often found on the thighs, hips and buttocks.
  • Helps Improve Digestion: Juniper berries have long been considered a digestive aid in folk medicine, but few studies have examined these effects at length. Because they function as diuretics, juniper berries can help relieve bloating in some cases.
  • Aids in Restful Sleep: juniper berry essential oil as a relaxant and has a positive impact on brain chemistry, encouraging rest.
  • Effective Against Cancer: juniper berry essential oil or extract has been found to cause apoptosis (cell death) in a drug-resistant strain of leukemia, HepG2 (liver cancer) cells and p53 (neuroblastoma) cells.
  • Good for Heart Health: due in part to its antioxidant qualities, juniper berries can help to improve heart function. For example, juniper berry essential oil has been found to reduce high blood pressure in animal studies, related to the antioxidants it contains. A similar study stated juniper berry’s function as a natural diuretic (in its original or essential oil form) also contributes to its blood pressure-lowering activity. Juniper berries also function as an “anticholinesterase agent.” This is important for heart function because anticholinesterase agents (natural or pharmaceutical) help to build up acetylcholine in the nervous system, which in turn can slow heart action, lower blood pressure, increase blood flow and induce contractions of the heart.
  • Should Be Part of Diabetic Diet Plan: An ethanol extract and a tea of juniper berries seem to have the potential to reduce high blood sugar in diabetic rats. Juniper berry essential oil also seems to limit the amount of malondialdehyde produced by animal bodies. Although malondialdehyde’s role in diabetes isn’t understood entirely, its concentration is much higher in people with diabetes (and cancer).
  • Relieves Pain:  is numbing when applying to painful joints and muscles to relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Fights Arthritis: Juniper essential oil promotes and improves blood circulation. It also helps in the removal of toxins like uric acid from the body. Both of these properties help fight ailments like rheumatism, arthritis, gout, and renal calculi, all of which are related to improper circulation and the accumulation of toxins in the body. This essential oil also relieves swelling.
  • Relieves Cramps: Juniper essential oil is also effective in nearly all forms of cramps, whether it is muscular, intestinal, respiratory or any other area. It relaxes muscle cramps and helps cure spasmodic cholera as well. Being an antispasmodic, it helps cure many other problems related to cramps or spasms.
  • Improves Breathing:  reduces inflammation in respiratory tissues and improves breathing.
  • Relieves Stress and Improves Emotions:  is calming and helps to ease stress without imparting the sedative effects that clary sage and the chamomiles are known for. Spiritually, Juniper Berry Essential Oil used in a room mist, diffuser or candle burner cleanses and purifies the air. It is a good choice for use during prayer or meditation.
  • Insect Repellent: like citronella oil, the scent of juniper may naturally repel bugs like mosquitoes according to scientific research. Spray it on your clothes, mix it with a carrier oil and massage into your skin, or diffuse it indoors and outdoors to purify the air and help prevent bug bites. You can even include it in your own homemade bug spray.
  • Might Reduce Cellulite: You can also use juniper oil as a cellulite remedy. It may help to reduce the appearance of cellulite thanks to active components like alpha-pinene, sabinene and juniperene. Add 100 percent therapeutic grade juniper berry essential oil to grapefruit cellulite cream to decrease cellulite.
  • Promotes Sweating: A sudorific substance is an agent which can bring about heavy sweating or perspiration. This is nothing to get annoyed at. The occasional perspiration makes you feel lighter and healthier and helps in the removal of toxins, excess salt, and water through sweat. This cleans the skin pores and openings of sweat and sebum glands, which prevents acne and other skin diseases.
  • Healing Tonic: Have you ever heard of health tonics? Have you had any? Juniper oil is also considered a tonic, because it tones up everything, including the muscles, tissues, skin, and various other systems inside the body. This includes the respiratory, circulatory, nervous, digestive, and excretory systems. This tonic effect helps retain youth for a long time and maintains proper health for all your years.
  • Speeds Up Healing Process: If a diluted solution of this oil is applied on wounds or blended with a skin cream and applied, it helps your wounds heal faster and keeps them protected from infections. This oil is equally beneficial in healing internal wounds, cuts, and ulcers.
  • Other Benefits: It disinfects air and helps cure kidney stones, inflammation, urinary tract infections, acne, eczema, other skin diseases, dandruff, and enlargement of the prostate gland.

Uses of Juniper Berry Oil

The fresh and calming aroma of juniper berry oil is widely renowned for relieving stress and anxiety. When diffused, it can also cleanse and purify the air. If you want to use juniper berry oil to get its healing and calming effects, try these methods:

  • Vapor therapy. Use a burner or vaporizer to diffuse the oil, which helps relieve emotional issues, such as addiction, nervous tension and hangovers.
  • Massage oil or added to bath water. This works well for pain relief, such as for arthritis, pain in passing urine, swollen joints, gout and muscle fatigue.
  • Add to lotions and creams. Try this for skin-related problems, such as oily skin, acne, dermatitis, psoriasis and weeping eczema.
  • Use in a compress. Ideal for eczema, arthritis and general infections.

RECIPES

Juniper Berry Tea: by adding 1 cup of boiling water to 1 tablespoon of juniper berries, covering, and allowing the berries to steep for 20 minutes. The usual dosage is 1 cup twice a day. However, juniper is said to work better as a treatment for bladder infections when combined with other herbs. Combination products should be taken according to label instructions.

Juniper Berry Oil: made by steam distilling the berries. However, you can make your own infused berry oil at home. Here’s a step-by-step procedure from Lisa Lise:9

  1. Put juniper berries in a clean and sterilized jar. Fill at least three-quarters of the container.
  2. Fill the jar with your oil of choice. Choose a safe oil, such as olive oil or coconut oil.
  3. Close the lid tightly and place the jar in a cool and dark place. Give it a good shake every day for four to six weeks.

Note: Check the jar regularly for any unpleasant smell, which may indicate bacterial growth. If it smells strange, throw it out and make a fresh batch.

PRECAUTIONS

Juniper, juniper berry, and juniper extract are LIKELY SAFE when consumed in normal food amounts.

Juniper is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts short-term, when inhaled appropriately as a vapor, or when applied to the skin in small areas. Using juniper on the skin can cause some side effects including irritation, burning, redness, and swelling. Avoid using it on large skin wounds.

Taking juniper by mouth long-term or in a high dose is LIKELY UNSAFE as it can cause kidney problems, seizures, and other serious side effects.

First, pregnant women should never consume juniper berries in whole or essential oil form as it may potentially cause damage to the unborn child or force uterine contractions. Juniper is also not recommended for those with poor kidney function.

It is possible to develop an allergic reaction to juniper berries, which could manifest with skin issues (like a rash) or breathing issues. If you experience any of those conditions after using juniper berries, discontinue use and consult your doctor immediately.

Juniper berries may also interact negatively with certain medications, according to a 2014 study. The berries seem to inhibit a drug metabolizing enzyme in the human body known as CYP3A4. This enzyme metabolizes about half of the drugs on the pharmaceutical market, while the other half of medicines actually inhibit the enzyme.

There is a fairly extensive list of medications that could result in toxicity when taken in conjunction with juniper berries. If you are taking any medications, you should first consult with your doctor before using juniper berries or juniper berry essential oil.

Surgery: Juniper might affect blood sugar levels, making blood sugar control more difficult during and after surgery. Stop using juniper at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

References:

  1. https://draxe.com/juniper-berries/
  2. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-724/juniper
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4665443/
  4. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/antioxidants/
  5. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/what-the-heck-do-i-do-with-juniper-berries-12985861/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21707254
  7. http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Juniper_Berries_9389.php
  8. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/juniper-berry
  9. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/medicinal-benefits-juniper-berries-7691.html
  10. https://www.aromaweb.com/essential-oils/juniper-berry-oil.asp
  11. http://www.aromatalk.com/aromatalk/2009/01/spotlight-juniper-berry-essential-oil-juniperus-communis.html
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26784665
  13. http://www.floracopeia.com/Essential-Oils/essential-oils-sub/wild-crafted-juniper-berry-oil.html
  14. https://www.cancercarewny.com/content.aspx?chunkiid=21780
  15. https://draxe.com/juniper-berry-essential-oil/
  16. https://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/juniper-berry-oil.aspx
  17. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-juniper-essential-oil.html

Ginger Oil

Ginger Root Essential Oil (Zingiber officinale)

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a flowering plant whose rhizome, ginger root or simply ginger, is widely used as a spice or a folk medicine. It is a herbaceous perennial which grows annual pseudostems (false stems made of the rolled bases of leaves) about a meter tall bearing narrow leaf blades. The inflorescences bear pale yellow with purple flowers and arise directly from the rhizome on separate shoots. Ginger is in the family Zingiberaceae, to which also belong turmeric (Curcuma longa), cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), and galangal.

Ginger produces clusters of white and pink flower buds that bloom into yellow flowers. Because of its aesthetic appeal and the adaptation of the plant to warm climates, it is often used as landscaping around subtropical homes. It is a perennial reed-like plant with annual leafy stems, about a meter (3 to 4 feet) tall. Traditionally, the rhizome is gathered when the stalk withers; it is immediately scalded, or washed and scraped, to kill it and prevent sprouting. The fragrant perisperm of the Zingiberaceae is used as sweetmeats by Bantu, and also as a condiment and sialagogue.

Ginger originated in the tropical rainforests from the Indian subcontinent to Southern Asia where ginger plants show considerable genetic variation. As one of the first spices exported from the Orient, ginger arrived in Europe during the spice trade, and was used by ancient Greeks and Romans. The distantly related dicots in the genus Asarum are commonly called wild ginger because of their similar taste.

You will find Ginger Oil in Mother Jai’s Aroma Sprays and Body Oils.

The characteristic fragrance and flavor of ginger result from volatile oils that compose 1-3% of the weight of fresh ginger, primarily consisting of zingerone, shogaols and gingerols with [6]-gingerol (1-[4′-hydroxy-3′-methoxyphenyl]-5-hydroxy-3-decanone) as the major pungent compound. Zingerone is produced from gingerols during drying, having lower pungency and a spicy-sweet aroma.

Raw ginger is composed of 79% water, 18% carbohydrates, 2% protein, and 1% fat. In 100 grams (a standard amount used to compare with other foods), raw ginger supplies 80 Calories and contains moderate amounts of vitamin B6 (12% of the Daily Value, DV) and the dietary minerals, magnesium (12% DV) and manganese (11% DV), but otherwise is low in nutrient content.

The chemical composition of the essential oil obtained from the rhizomes of Zingiber officinale Roscoe from Cuba was examined by combined GC and GC/MS. The oil was characterized by the presence of ar-curcumene (22.1%), zingiberene (11.7%), β-bisabolene (11.2%) and cadina-1,4-diene (12.5%).

Blending: Ginger oil blends well with many other essential oils including lemon, cedarwood, lime, eucalyptus, frankincense, geranium, rosemary, sandalwood, patchouli, myrtle, bergamot, rosewood, neroli, orange, and ylang-ylang.

Health Benefits Of Ginger Root Essential Oil (OrganicFacts.net)

Relieves Stomach Issues – Ginger root oil is one of the best remedies for indigestion, stomach ache, dyspepsia, colic, spasms, diarrhea, flatulence, and other stomach and bowel related problems. Ginger or ginger oil is often added to recipes, especially in India, as it helps in improving digestion. Ginger tea is also used for relieving stomach problems. Furthermore, it can increase your appetite, which is great for people who are trying to put on weight.

Treats Food Poisoning – Ginger oil is an antiseptic and carminative substance. As a result, it can be used to treat food poisoning. It is also used for treating intestinal infections and bacterial dysentery.

Effective Against Nausea – Research has shown that ginger root and its oil are also effective against nausea, motion sickness, and vomiting. Use of ginger may also result in a reduction of pregnancy-related vomiting in women.

Protects Against Malaria – Ginger root and ginger oil are effective against yellow fever and malaria as they have mosquito repelling qualities.

Treats Respiratory disorders – Ginger root and ginger oil are both good expectorants, so they are effective in treating respiratory problems such as cold, cough, flu, asthma, bronchitis, and breathlessness. Ginger is very effective in removing mucus from the throat and lungs, so it is often added to tea. The health benefits of honey and ginger in treating respiratory problems are also well-known.

Reduces Inflammation – Ginger oil or ginger paste is often topically massaged on aching muscles to remove muscle strain. It is further believed that regular use of ginger leads to the reduction of prostaglandins, which are the compounds associated with pain. Therefore, ginger helps in pain relief. Recently, a few Chinese researchers have reported that ginger can be very effective in treating inflammation of the testicles.

The extract of ginger is often used in traditional medicine to reduce inflammation. Research has now proven that its anti-inflammatory properties can be attributed to the presence of a substance named zingibain. It is analgesic in nature and reduces the pain caused by muscle aches, arthritis, rheumatic conditions, headaches, and migraines.

Treats Menstrual Issues – Irregular and painful menstrual discharges can be treated with ginger root oil. Its anti-inflammatory properties help in reducing the production of prostaglandins, which often cause painful uterine contractions during menstruation.

Protects Heart Health – In China, it is strongly believed that ginger boosts your heart health. Many people use ginger oil as a measure to prevent as well as cure various heart conditions. Preliminary research has indicated that ginger may be helpful in reducing cholesterol levels and preventing blood clots. With reduced cholesterol levels and blood clotting, the chance of blood vessel blockage decreases, thereby reducing the incidences of heart attacks and strokes.

Lowers Stress – Ginger oil, being an essential oil, is stimulating and therefore, relieves depression, mental stress, exhaustion, dizziness, restlessness, and anxiety.

Eliminates Impotency – Ginger is helpful for male health as well. Since ginger root and its oil are an aphrodisiac in nature, they are effective in eliminating impotency and preventing premature ejaculation.

Dissolves Kidney Stones – It is also believed that ginger root juice is able to dissolve kidney stones. Ginger root oil aids in keeping you hydrated thereby helping in expelling the stones, if there are any.

Hair Care – Ginger oil is rich in minerals, which aid in hair care. Also, it helps get rid of the dry, itchy scalp, which is often a major cause of dandruff. The oil’s antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties also assist you in keeping the scalp clean and healthy.

Word of Caution: It should be noted that ginger oil is very strong and should, therefore, be used carefully and sparingly.

Research on Ginger

Ginger has been used for stomach upset, motion sickness, nausea, and vomiting. Some herbal/diet supplement products have been found to contain possibly harmful impurities/additives. Check with your pharmacist for more details about the particular brand you use. The FDA has not reviewed this product for safety or effectiveness. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

Rheumatoid Arthritis – various phytochemical constituents of ginger have potential therapeutic roles in amelioration of RA symptoms and even possibly RA itself. It is expected that further elucidation of the molecular mechanisms behind the action of these phytochemicals not only can lead to discovery of new drugs for symptomatic relief of RA conditions like inflammation and pain, but also may make it possible to stop further progress or even reverse the damage caused by RA.

Motion Sickness – Ginger works by blocking the effects of serotonin, a chemical produced by the brain and stomach when a patient is nauseated. In a recent study, ginger was equally as effective in relieving motion sickness as Dramamine.

Morning Sickness – During pregnancy, approximately 70-80% of women experience nausea and vomiting. Many new studies have taken a therapeutic approach to treat pregnancy induced sickness. Ginger has a long history of pharmaceutical application, especially in China, Japan, and India. According to the results, ginger is a simple, accessible and convenient approach to gestational nausea.

Although Zingiber officinale (ginger) has been used for centuries among Asian cultures as an antiemetic, research directly assessing the effects of this herb in a variety of clinical as well as animal models remains sparse.  In those few studies reported, however, ginger has been shown to attenuate symptoms of nausea and vomiting in both clinical and laboratory settings.

Chemotherapy – In a double-blind study of women being treated for breast cancer, 500 mg of powered ginger was administered twice a day for three days. This benefited those patients experiencing nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy.

Dental Health – Orally, studies have demonstrated that gingerol, a compound in ginger, poses both antiviral and antifungal agents that promote salivary flow and reduce oral candidiasis.

Liver Health – Zingiber officinale acts as a nutraceutical agent against liver fibrosis.

Pain Relief – the available data provide tentative support for the anti-inflammatory role of Z. officinale constituents, which may reduce the subjective experience of pain in some conditions such as osteoarthritis.

Antimicrobial Activity – Zingiber officinale possesses remarkable antimicrobial activity, which is mainly due to naphthalenamine, decanal, and alfa.-copaene. According to these findings, it could be said that the methanolic extract act as antibacterial agents.

Anticancer Activity – Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is widely used all over the world as a spice and condiment in daily cooking. It is a natural food component with many active phenolic compounds such as shagaol and gingerol, and it has been shown to have anti-cancer and antioxidant effects. Ginger extract was able to reduce the incidence of liver neoplasms in rats, this is the first study reporting that the anti-cancer effect exhibited by ginger on liver cancer cells is mediated by inflammatory markers NFκB and TNF-α. Thus, the ginger extract may have a chemotherapeutic effect in the treatment of liver cancer.

Ginger’s pungent components offer powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities, making it useful in arthritis, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. The active compound responsible for this effect is zingibain, an enzyme that counteracts inflammation. The active compounds contained in ginger are divided into two groups: volatile essential oils and fragrant or harsh phenol compounds. Among these volatile essential components, which constitute gingerol and shagelol have been accounted for antimicrobial activity of ginger.

Lowering Cholesterol – The ginger extract has reduced in serum LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides and phospholipids levels, as well as cellular cholesterol accumulation, reduce DPPH absorption, scavenge free radicals and it has potential to improve the histopathological lesion occurring in different layers of the arterial tissue. In the other word it is effective in attenuating of atherosclerosis development.

Hypertension – Adults who consume ginger daily have an 8 percent lower risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure). A 2005 study found ginger may lower blood pressure through blockade of voltage-dependent calcium channels.

Side Effects of Ginger

Burning feeling in mouth/throat, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or heartburn may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these very unlikely but serious side effects occur: unusual bleeding/bruising, unusual drowsiness, irregular heartbeat. A very serious allergic reaction to ginger is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Before taking ginger, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. If you have any of the following health problems, consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this product: bleeding problems, diabetes, gallstones, heart problems. This product might contain aristolochic acid, which can cause serious problems in the kidneys or urinary system (e.g., renal fibrosis, urinary tract cancer). Symptoms include an unusual change in the amount of urine or blood in the urine. Consult your pharmacist for more details about the contents of this ginger product. Liquid forms of this product may contain sugar and/or alcohol. Caution is advised if you have diabetes, alcohol dependence, or liver disease. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using this product safely. During pregnancy, this product should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

Before using ginger, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially of: medications/herbal products that may increase your risk of bleeding (e.g., “blood thinners” such as warfarin and heparin, anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel and ticlopidine, herbs such as danshen/garlic). Aspirin may also increase the risk of bleeding when used with this product. If your doctor has prescribed low doses of aspirin to prevent heart attack or stroke (usually at dosages of 81-325 milligrams a day), you should continue to take the aspirin. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first.

Rosemary Ginger Oil

Recipes

How to Make Ginger Oil Infusion

Materials:

  • Fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • Oven-safe bowl
  • Cheese grater

Procedure:

  1. Rinse a cup of fresh ginger, including the skin, thoroughly, and let dry for a few hours.
  2. Pour the olive oil in an oven-safe bowl.
  3. Chop the ginger and then shred using a clean cheese grater. Add to the olive oil and mix well.
  4. Put the mixture in the oven and leave it to simmer under low heat (150 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least two hours.
  5. Pour the mixture through an unbleached cheese cloth to filter it and take out the bits of ginger. Once all the oil has been filtered, squeeze out the remaining oil from the cheese cloth.
  6. Transfer the ginger oil into clean vials or bottles and store in a cool dry place.

This ginger oil infusion can stay fresh for up to six months.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginger
  2. https://www.herbal-supplement-resource.com/ginger-root.html
  3. https://www.organicfacts.net/ginger-root-oil.html
  4. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/beverage/lemon-ginger-tea.html
  5. https://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/ginger-oil.aspx
  6. https://drericz.com/benefits-of-ginger-essential-oil/
  7. https://www.aromaweb.com/essential-oils/ginger-oil.asp
  8. https://www.livestrong.com/article/128211-benefits-ginger-oil/
  9. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-92766/ginger-oil-oral/details
  10. https://draxe.com/ginger-essential-oil/
  11. https://draxe.com/10-medicinal-ginger-health-benefits/
  12. https://draxe.com/ginger-root-benefits/
  13. https://draxe.com/ginger-tea-benefits/
  14. https://academic.oup.com/painmedicine/article/12/12/1808/1846834
  15. https://www.dentalcare.com/en-us/professional-education/ce-courses/ce549/ginger
  16. http://www.scopemed.org/?mno=2048
  17. http://www.orientjchem.org/vol32no2/antibacterial-effect-of-ginger-zingiber-officinale-roscoe-and-bioactive-chemical-analysis-using-gas-chromatography-mass-spectrum-2/
  18. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0141119
  19. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10412905.2004.9698692
  20. https://www.amherst.edu/academiclife/departments/biology/facilities/confocal_microscope/baird/node/118798
  21. https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-7075-8-40
  22. http://www.ijddr.in/drug-development/anti-bacterial-and-anti-inflammatory-efficacy-of-zingiber-officinale-and-decalepis-hamiltonii–in-vitro-study.php?aid=6861
  23. https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/707084/ZINGIBER_OFFICINALE_%28GINGER%29_ROOT_OIL/#.WsnsBojwaUk
  24. http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1807-59322008000600017
  25. https://www.medicinenet.com/ginger_zingiber_officinale-oral/article.htm
  26. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25719344
  27. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/arthritis/2014/159089/
  28. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1110116413000902
  29. https://academic.oup.com/rheumatology/article/42/5/652/1784589
  30. https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Zingiber+officinale
  31. http://eol.org/pages/987032/overview
  32. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213434416300676
  33. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=182.20
  34. https://books.google.ca/books?id=KeGzp-YXrPYC&pg=PA3591
  35. https://books.google.com/?id=0HzoNfy-__EC&dq=ginger+philippines+sore+throat

Catnip

Catnip Leaf (Nepeta cataria)

The flowering perennial known commonly as catnip, catmint, or catswort actually has the scientific name of Nepeta cataria, and although most people don’t realize, this treat so commonly reserved for its sedative, calming effects on cats, also has extensive benefits for human beings. It’s native range is quite extensive, stretching across much of Europe and parts of Asia, including China, but it has since become a global export and can be found throughout the world. It is primarily potent due to a certain terpenoid, called nepetelactone, but various other chemical constituents and nutrients also affect various aspects of human health.

Nepeta cataria is a short-lived perennial, herbaceous plant that grows to be 50–100 cm (20–39 in) tall and wide, which blooms from late-spring to the autumn. In appearance, N. cataria resembles a typical member of the mint family of plants, featuring brown-green foliage with the characteristic square stem of the Lamiaceae family of plants. The coarse-toothed leaves are triangular to elliptical in shape. The small, bilabiate flowers of N. cataria are showy and fragrant, and are either pink in colour or white with fine spots of pale purple.

Catnip can be applied topically via the leaves or the essential oil, while catnip tea brewed from the leaves is also popular. The extracts and essential oils are also quite popular. The historical range of catnip uses include teas, juices, tinctures, extracts, salves, and even as an herb to be smoked, in addition to its culinary applications. The various forms of catnip have been used for generations in alternative medicine, and modern research has also shown it to be a reliable treatment for some common maladies.

Health benefits of catnip for humans include:

Stress Relief: The same quality that makes catnip so attractive to cats, namely because it makes them slightly “high” and sedates them, can also apply to humans in a more controlled way. Catnip can provide stress relief and reduce chronic anxiety as an herbal remedy when eaten, consumed in the form of a juice or tea, or when smoked as an herb. This can also help to reduce the secondary symptoms of chronic stress and strengthen your immune system.

Swallowed Emotions: A favorite use for this plant is to address the specific kind of stress and anxiety created in the body when people can’t express their emotions. This is perfect for someone who isn’t able to tell the boss or the in-law just what they’d like to say because it wouldn’t be polite, or good for the family budget.

Sleep Aid: Catnip has been used by people with insomnia or sleep restlessness for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The sedative nature helps to slow down the body’s natural cycles and induce a calm, relaxed state. People are better able to sleep through the night for undisturbed, restful sleep. Many people choose to drink a cup of catnip tea before bed to ensure a refreshing sleep.

Reduces Digestive Issues: Catnip is particularly effective in clearing up digestive issues, especially constipation, excess flatulence, cramping, and bloating. The relaxing, anti-inflammatory effects of catnip’s organic compounds can ease the knots and inflammation in your gastrointestinal system and relieve tightness and discomfort.

Colic: Catnip is a digestive herb. The scent that we get when we rub its leaves between our fingers is evidence of a high amount of volatile oils. This plant chemical is responsible for its ability to calm the stomach of an adult or a nursing child with colic.

Menstrual Cramps: For women suffering from particularly painful menstrual cramps, catnip tea is often recommended as an alternative treatment, because it can quickly relieve those cramps and stresses on the body. Furthermore, the sedative, calming effects of catnip can also soothe other symptoms of menstruation, such as mood swings and depression.

Headache Reliever: Although the exact mechanism isn’t completely understood, catnip has proven to be very effective in the treatment of headaches, even chronic migraines. Rubbing the essential oil on the affected area can work, but drinking catnip tea or rubbing a catnip leaf salve on the temples can also offer quick relief.

Fever: This is one of the most popular herbs for reducing a fever. It is part of a class of herbs called febrifuges. These herbs have the ability to cool the body by inducing a sweat. It is almost never a good idea to interrupt a fever. For the rare times that a fever has been particularly prolonged (your patient is becoming dehydrated and listless) or too high (over 102° for a typically healthy adult, around 104° for a typically healthy child) it can be helpful to have a fever tincture around.

Speeds-up Healing: In terms of colds and flus, one of the fastest ways to clean out the body is to induce sweating and get the toxins flushed from the system. This is particularly true in the case of fevers, when the lack of sweating before the fever breaks is only keeping those toxins and pathogens in the body. Catnip induces sweating, so is often recommended by alternative practitioners for treating the common cold.

Anti-inflammatory Activity: As mentioned above, the chemical constituents of catnip are particularly effective as anti-inflammatory agents. This means that catnip can be effective in the treatment of arthritis, gout, sprained muscles, aching joints, and even hemorrhoids. Topical application or normal consumption of leaves, juice, or tea can be effective for all of these situations.

Treats Skin Conditions: The natural repellent quality of catnip makes it ideal for keeping bugs away from gardens when kept as an ornamental plant, but the organic compounds in the plant make it ideal for soothing bug bites and relieving irritation on the skin. Applying salves or extracts to irritated or broken skin can speed the healing process and reduce inflammation quickly.

Complete Nutrient: Although eating catnip leaves is the least common form of consumption for human beings, catnip actually has a rather impressive collection of nutrients, from beneficial chemicals and unique organic compounds to essential acids, minerals, and vitamins that our bodies need. In other words, the plant can do a lot more than knock out a cat!

Cautions: For people suffering from liver or kidney disorders, the use of catnip may be risky, particularly if you are regularly consuming the tea. Furthermore, pregnant women should avoid catnip, as it can prematurely induce labor. Other than those specific concerns, catnip is generally considered non-allergenic and harmless to users. The high potency of the essential oil should be considered, however, and extracts should always be mixed with carrier oils.

Catnip for Cats

Catnip contains the feline attractant nepetalactone. Nepeta cataria (and some other species within the genus Nepeta) are known for their behavioral effects on the cat family, not only on domestic cats but also other species of cats. Several tests showed that leopards, cougars, servals, and lynxes often reacted strongly to catnip in a manner similar to domestic cats and while lions and tigers can react strongly as well, they do not react as consistently.

With domestic cats, N. cataria is used as a recreational substance for pet cats’ enjoyment, and catnip and catnip-laced products designed for use with domesticated cats are available to consumers. Common behaviors cats display when they sense the bruised leaves or stems of catnip are rubbing on the plant, rolling on the ground, pawing at it, licking it, and chewing it. Consuming much of the plant is followed by drooling, sleepiness, anxiety, leaping about and purring. Some growl, meow, scratch or bite at the hand holding it. The main response period after exposure is generally between five and fifteen minutes, after which olfactory fatigue usually sets in.

Cats detect nepetalactone through their olfactory epithelium, not through their vomeronasal organ. At the olfactory epithelium, the nepetalactone binds to one or more olfactory receptors.

Not all cats are affected by catnip; roughly 33% are not affected by the plant. The behavior is hereditary. An early 1962 pedigree analysis of 26 cats in a Siamese breeding colony suggested that the catnip response was caused by a Mendelian dominant gene; however, a 2011 pedigree analysis of 210 cats in 2 breeding colonies (taking into account measurement error by repeated testing) showed no evidence for Mendelian patterns of inheritance, and instead demonstrated heritabilities of h2=0.51–0.89 for catnip response behavior, indicating a polygenic liability threshold model.

Other plants that also have this effect on cats include valerian (Valeriana officinalis) root, silver vine (Actinidia polygama) and Tatarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica) wood. It has been shown that many cats who do not respond to catnip do respond to one or more of these three alternatives.

Health benefits of catnip for cats include:

  • The chemical compound in the plant that attracts and affects cats is called nepetalactone. It is found in the leaves and stems.
  • Nepetalactone is a stimulant when sniffed by a cat, producing a “high” that is described as being similar to either marijuana or LSD. (How this was determined, I do not know.) And the effects last for about 10 minutes before wearing off and the cat going back to normal.
  • When a cat eats catnip, it acts as a sedative, but when smelled, it causes the cat to go crazy. It is thought to mimic feline pheremones and trigger those receptors.
  • Cats may react to the plant by rolling around, flipping over, and generally being hyperactive.
  • About 50 percent of cats seem to be affected by catnip, and the behavior that results varies widely between individuals, and it is believed to be an inherited sensitivity.
  • And if your cat does have the sensitivity, it will not emerge until your cat is several months old, young kittens are not affected by the chemicals in the plant.
  • Cats may rub against and chew on catnip to bruise the leaves and stems, which then release more nepetalactone.
  • Catnip is safe for cats. If they eat a lot, they may vomit and have diarrhea, but will return to normal given time (and no more catnip).
  • It is also known to help humans, it has been used for its sedative properties in humans for centuries, having similar properties to chamomile and is a very potent mosquito repellent
  • If cats are exposed to catnip frequently, they may no longer respond to it. Some people recommend that it shouldn’t be given more than once every two or three weeks to prevent habituation.

References:

  1. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/catnip.html
  2. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/146/3649/1318
  3. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja01851a019
  4. http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/10711131
  5. https://books.google.co.in/books?id=mlyszsVFQ1kC
  6. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/j.1875-9114.1997.tb03786.x/abstract
  7. https://books.google.com/books?id=ZP6QVep-x24C
  8. https://metapress.com/
  9. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874104005859
  10. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2915.2009.00809.x/abstract
  11. https://www.diynatural.com/how-to-use-catnip/
  12. http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/jcoates/2011/june/cats_and_catnip-does_it_really_get_them_high_and_why-11271
  13. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-831-catnip.aspx?activeingredientid=831&
  14. http://www.catster.com/lifestyle/catnip-cat-health-facts-tips-nepeta
  15. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catnip
  16. Schultz, Gretchen; Peterson, Chris; Coats, Joel (25 May 2006). “Natural Insect Repellents: Activity against Mosquitoes and Cockroaches” (PDF). In Rimando, Agnes M.; Duke, Stephen O. Natural Products for Pest Management. ACS Symposium Series. American Chemical Society.
  17.  “Termites Repelled by Catnip Oil”. Southern Research Station, United States Department of Agriculture – Forest Service. 26 March 2003.
  18. “Catnip Repels Mosquitoes More Effectively Than DEET”. www.sciencedaily.com.
  19. Wilson, Julia. “Catnip (Nepeta cataria) – Everything You Need to Know About Catnip! | General Cat Articles”. www.cat-world.com.au. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  20. “How Does Catnip Affect Humans?”. RealClearScience.
  21. http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=NECA2