The health benefits of Cedar berry tea are varied and are especially known to many Native American tribes as being potent for respiratory and tumor-related ailments. Even while the therapeutic effects of the cedar berry has yet to be officially and scientifically established, studies already completed on the cedar berry suggest that it may possess antibiotic and antiseptic properties.
The cedar berry comes from the evergreen coniferous shrub that typically abounds in the Western areas of North America, particularly in the U.S. states of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and in the northern areas of Mexico.
Bearing the scientific name of juniperus monosperma (one-seed juniper), the cedar berry tree can grow to a height of up to 25 feet. It possesses flat, scale-like leaves.
The cedar berry commonly has a dark bluish-green hue with a dull blue-white waxy bloom. It is actually a modified cone that has a soft resinous flesh, and has a shape that is either subglobose to ovoid. The cedar berry contains a single seed and becomes mature in about 6 to 8 months from pollination.
The cedar berry is typically available commercially in the form of dried herb. It may be used as flavoring agent in cooking and also as a natural food preservative. The cedar berry may also be eaten as food, though it has a strong and unusual flavor that may be an acquired taste.
The active constituents of the cedar berry are the following: alcohols, cadinene, camphene, flavone, flavonoids, glycosides, podophyllotoxin, vitamin C, volatile oils, resin, sabinal, sugar, sulfur, tannins, and terpinene. Podophyllotoxin is the substance that is known to imbue the cedar berry with its anti-tumor properties.
Cedar berry tea can be made either as an infusion or a decoction. As an infusion, the berries are usually steeped in a cup of newly-boiled water for about 3 to 5 minutes. As a decoction, the berries may be soaked in boiling water for up to 15 minutes.
Pregnant or nursing women should avoid the use of cedar berry tea as it may promote contractions. Drinking the tea infusion or decoction or eating the berry should not be taken on an extended period as it may prove toxic. It should also not be used by people with kidney or urinary tract problems.
The following are some health benefits attributed to cedar berry tea:
- May help in the treatment of cough, tuberculosis and other respiratory ailments.
- May help in the treatment of fever.
- May aid in alleviating pain from rheumatism and arthritis.
- May help in lowering risk of developing tumors.
- May help promote menstruation.
- May help contribute to strengthening the immune system.
- May help fight muscle stiffness.