The strawberry tree is an evergreen plant with good antioxidant properties, its flowers and its fruits (arbutus) appear together from October to December.
The arbutus plant, scientific name Arbutus Unedo, belongs to the Ericaceae family and often comes in the form of a large bush or a small tree that can reach, in certain cases, eight meters in height.
The strawberry tree seems to have its origins in northern France and in the south of Ireland, but is now born spontaneously in many countries of the Mediterranean scrub. It is found in southern Italy, in Sardinia, in Corsica, in Spain, in Lebanon, in Turkey and in Algeria.
It flowers in autumn with small white flowers gathered in a sort of bunch. The fruits produced by the strawberry trees are edible but rarely eaten fresh. Usually, thanks to their properties, they are used for the preparation of compounds for therapeutic purposes.
The parts of the plant that have greater properties and therefore are beneficial to human health are the leaves that contain tannins, resins and gums. The presence of substances such as arbutin and arbutoside, which together with monotropein and geniposide, are part of the phenolic compounds present in the leaves should also be emphasized. In the leaves of the arbutus we find other important substances such as quercetin and phenolic glycosides.
Arbutus: Properties and Benefits
As we have already written, the properties of the arbutus are to be found mainly in the leaves. Even the fruits and roots, however, contain therapeutic properties, but in smaller quantities.
The arbutus are mainly appreciated for their antiseptic properties against the urinary tract, it is also a mild diuretic. With the strawberry tree infusion, significant benefits can be obtained in case of cystitis and bladder inflammation.
It has properties anti diarrheal and astringent. the strawberry trees contain pectin which, together with the tannins contained a good amount especially in the leaves, make them ideal for preparing an herbal tea of fruits and leaves that brings benefits in case of diarrhea.
The strawberry tree brings benefits to the circulatory system, not surprisingly in Morocco the leaves of this plant are traditionally used to prepare an herbal tea that lowers blood pressure.
To counteract circulatory disorders it is useful to take a decoction made with 20 grams of strawberry tree leaves combined with as many bramble leaves that are then boiled for 5 minutes in a small pan of water. At the end the mixture is left to rest for 10 minutes after which it is filtered and two cups are drunk a day.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, a strawberry-tree herbal tea can also be used to treat cold symptoms.
The arbutin contained in the leaves and minimally also in the fruits, has the property of lightening the spots of the skin. In this regard, special creams are created to lighten the spots on the skin that precisely contain Arbutin.
A study carried out in Turkey states that the extracts of methanol and ethanol from the leaves possess good antioxidant properties.
A decoction prepared with 7 grams of crushed leaves in a cup of boiling water and left to infuse for 15 minutes causes an euphoric state similar to that of a light hangover. Good mood is assured. Don’t overdo the intake of strawberry trees in those that can cause constipation.
The arbutus honey is a typical product of Sardinia, a region where the plant grows and lives florida spontaneously thanks to the favorable climate.
This type of honey, in addition to being of good quality, is also highly sought after as it represents the last production of bees before the winter period.
In the autumn period, where climatic adversities are often encountered such as rain, cold and particularly short days and therefore with less light, bees often have low productivity. For this reason, arbutus honey, in addition to being highly sought, also has a high commercial value.
Arbutus honey has a dark color with a bitter and sometimes pungent taste and it is characterized by antiseptic properties of the urinary tract, astringent and anti-asthmatic. It is recommended to relieve sore throat.
The Various Regional Names of the Strawberry Tree
|Liguria: Armuin||Lazio: Cuccumarra|
|Veneto: Corbesoli||Tuscany: Albatross|
|Calabria: Mbriacheddi||Puglia: Rusciolo|
|Sardinia: Ridoni, red apple||Marche: Cerasa marina|
|Sicily: aummaru||Campania: Sovera pilosa|
In England, probably due to the similarity of the fruit with strawberry, the tree is called strawberry tree.
The fruits are ripe when they spontaneously detach from the plant and fall to the ground.
The strawberry tree, since it is part of the Ericaceae, belongs to the same family as heather and blueberries.
The strawberry tree is rarely eaten fresh but instead is used cooked for the preparation of various products including: jams, spirits, wines, syrups, juices, sauces.
The tannins are extracted from the bark of the plant and are used to produce dyes or for leather tanning.
The wood of the plant is often used for cooking meat and fish due to its aromatic properties. Sardinian shepherds often use arbutus wood, combined with myrtle and lentisk wood, to smoke cheese.
The arbutus vinegar is prepared by adding to the normal vinegar arbutus and laurel. The liqueurs are prepared instead by macerating the ripe fruits in pure alcohol.
The arbutus honey in Sardinia is used for the preparation of local pastries called “seadas” and often accompanies the pecorino cheese dishes.
Maybe Not Everyone Knows That
The etymology of the word corbezzolo is uncertain, some scholars trace it back to the Germanic word kirsch – bùschel which translated means “bunch of cherries”.
The preparations obtained from the flowers of this plant have the property of promoting sweating.
In ancient times the strawberry tree was a funeral plant. Greeks and Romans used to put its branches on the graves of the dead.
Together with the bear, the strawberry tree plant appears on the Madrid coat of arms.
In southern Portugal the fruits are used to produce an alcoholic beverage called Aguardente de Medronho.
The plant, thanks to its white flowers and red fruits, is very decorative. For this reason it is often used for ornamental purposes. There are several species of Arbutus that are exclusively ornamental and whose fruits are not edible.
Arbutus: Properties and Benefits
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