Arbutus: Properties and Benefits

The tree of the arbutus, Arbutus unedo scientific name, belongs to the family of Ericaceae, and it often comes in the form of a large shrub or small tree that can reach, in some cases, up to eight feet tall.

The arbutus grows spontaneously mainly in the countries of the mediterranean, it is located in the south of Italy, Sardinia, Corsica, Ireland and Algeria.

The arbutus blooms in the autumn with small white flowers gathered in a sort of cluster; the fruit produced by the arbutus tree are edible but rarely eaten when freshly harvested. Usually, thanks to their properties, arbutuses are used for the preparation of compounds for therapeutic purposes.
Arbutus: Properties and benefits
The parts of the arbutus which have greater properties and therefore benefits to human health are the leaves that contain tannins, resins and gums. To highlight the presence of substances such as arbutin and arbutoside which, together with monotropeina and geniposide are part of the phenolic compounds present in the leaves of arbutus.

The fruit of the arbutus tree instead contain arbutin, a good percentage of sugars, pectins, hops, flavonoids and vitamins.

Benefits and Curative Properties of Arbutus

As we have already written the properties of arbutus are to be found mainly in the leaves; the fruits and roots contain healing properties, but in smaller quantities.

The arbutus is mainly appreciated for its antiseptic properties against urinary tract; arbutus has also astringent and anti-diarrheal properties, it provides benefits to the liver and circulatory system as an anti-inflammatory. It is also a mild diuretic.

To counteract diarrhea and circulatory disorders is useful to take a decoction made with 20 grams of leaves of arbutus combined with the same quantity of bramble leaves that are then boiled for 5 minutes in a pot of water. At the end let the mixture stand for 10 minutes after which filter and drink two cups a day.

With the infusion of arbutus instead you can treat cystitis and bladder inflammation.
Arbutus Curiosity
The arbutin contained in the leaves of strawberry and a small part in the fruit, has the ability to lighten skin discolorations. In this regard, special creams are created to lighten skin discolorations that contain precisely the arbutin.

The Arbutus is rarely eaten when freshly harvested, but is used instead for the preparation of a variety of products including jams, spirits, wines, syrups, juices, sauces.

From the bark of the arbutus are extracted tannins which are used to produce dyes, or for tanning leather.

The arbutus wood is often used for cooking meat and fish due to its aromatic properties; sardinian shepherds often use the wood strawberry, united to that of myrtle and mastic, to smoke the cheese.

Arbutus vinegar is prepared by adding to the normal vinegar some arbutus and and laurel berries; liqueurs are prepared by soaking the ripe fruits in alcohol.

Arbutus honey in Sardinia is used for the preparation of local pastries called "seadas" and often accompanies the dishes of sardinian pecorino.

The etymology of the word arbutus is uncertain; some scholars date it back to the Germanic word "kirsch - BŘschel" which translated means "cluster of cherries."

The preparations obtained from the flowers have the property to promote sweating.

In ancient times arbutus was a funeral plan. Greeks and Romans used to put his branches on the graves of the dead.

Arbutus Honey

Arbutus honey is a typical product of Sardinia, a region in which the plant grows spontaneously and lives buxom  thanks to the favorable climate; this type of honey, as well as being of good quality, it is also highly sought after as it represents the last production of the bees before the winter period.

In this period where you often encounter adverse weather conditions such as rain, cold days and especially short days with less light, the bees often have a low productivity. For this reason the arbutus honey, in addition to being highly sought, also has a high commercial value.

The arbutus honey has a dark color with a bitter taste and sometimes pungent and it is characterized by urinary antiseptic properties, astringent and anti-asthmatic. Recommended to relieve sore throat.
Arbutus: Properties and benefits
Arbutus: Properties and benefits
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Various Regional Names of Arbutus
- Veneto: corbesoli - Campania: Sovera pilosa
- Tuscany: albatro - Marche: cerasa marina
- Sicily: aummaru - Sardinia: ridoni or apple
- Calabria mbriacheddi - Puglia rusciolo
- New York: cuccumarra - Liguria: armuin
In England, probably due to the similarity of this fruit with strawberry, arbutus is called "strawberry tree".
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