The cranberry is a low shrub widely found in the forest undergrowths of Europe, Asia and America. The plant belongs to the Ericaceae family, like its cousin the blueberry. In medicinal terms it is recommended for urinary and biliary tract infections.
Its branches carry oval, alternate evergreen leaves. They are light green in colour and have brown spots on the underneath. The pink flowers of the cranberry are grouped in clusters at the end of each branch. The leaves of the cranberry are used for their medicinal properties. They are harvested and dried in a shaded, aerated area and are used as decoctions at relatively high daily doses. The recommended amount may be as much as 10 g of leaves.
The cranberry for cystitis?
The leaves contain vitamin C, sugars and plant antibiotics amongst other things. These substances are disinfectant and astringent and treat inflammations of the urinary and biliary tract, rheumatism and diarrhoea. Phenol derivatives, flavenoids and mineral salts, are also believed to have diuretic properties.
The fruit of the cranberry is a red berry. These have been harvested since early times for their nutritional benefits, particularly their rich content of vitamin C. They contain a range of active substances including the flavenoids. These are also recommended for patients suffering from capilliary or blood vessel problems. You can eat them raw if you don't mind the acidity. They are easier to eat in compotes or jams after cooking with a little sugar.
A Scandinavian recipe for cranberries fried with sugar is also very strongly recommended. They are superb served with a duck breast or salmon fillet. Cranberries, however, are not recommended if you suffer from kidney stones because of their oxalic acid content. Ask your doctor or your pharmacist if you have any questions.
Source: Plantes médicinales, Gründ
The cranberry, a plant with many benefits. © F. Le Driant/FloreAlpes.com