The cranberry is a group of evergreen plants and shrubs that grow in the Northern Hemisphere in swampy areas, belonging to the family of the Heathers (Ericaceae).
Cranberries have a wonderful anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer and anti-strengthening effect. It is also a low calorie, energy boosting berry.
The Latin name “Oxycoccus” is derived from the Greek words “ὀξύς” (meaning “sour”) and “κόκκος” (berry). So it turns out that literally it is designated as – “sour berry”. It is important to note that the term “Oxycoccus” refers to a group of plants, while “Oxycoccus” refers to a particular species of cranberry – Vaccinium oxycoccos.
Other names for cranberries include “craneberry” (cranberry) cranberry, bearberry. (bearberries), “craneberry”, “crane”, cranes (in Belarusian), cranes (in Ukrainian), kranebeere (in German).
Of course, most people do not understand cranberry as a plant, but as a berry itself. And, since in folk medicine usually only berry is used, useful, medicinal, composition and other points of the article will talk about the berry.
Let’s move on to a description of the plant. The cranberry, like many other heathers, is a small shrub consisting of flexible, thread-like stems up to 30 cm long. The roots are taprooted, densely covered with a fungus that pulls in nutrients from the soil and transfers them to the plant’s root system. Leaves are small, up to 15 mm long and up to 6 mm wide, arranged on short petioles, in turns. The outer part of the leaf is dark green, while the lower part is ashy, whitish. The lower part of the leaves is covered with wax, which protects them from excessive moisture and waterlogging. Cranberry flowers grow on relatively long pedicels, up to 5 cm, with a stigma hanging down, in light purple or pinkish tones. The number of petals is 4-5, stamens 8, pistils 1. Flowering in the northern part of Russia is from May to June.
Fruits of the cranberry grow in spherical or slightly ovoid shape, red, up to 17 mm in diameter. The berries ripen in September, sometimes in August, which also depends on the region and weather conditions.
The healing Properties of carnberries
Some of the most important medicinal and other health benefits of cranberries are the following:
Due to the presence of ascorbic acid, proanthocyanidins, polyphenols and other substances with a pronounced antioxidant effect, the cranberry inhibits the aging process, reduces the negative effects of free radicals, minimizes the risk of cancer, cancers, helps to combat young cancer cells, destroying them.
The presence of omega fatty acids and flavonoids (vitamin U) helps strengthen blood vessels, regulating blood cholesterol levels, preventing deposition of atherosclerotic plaques on the walls of blood vessels, which are one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease – heart disease, thrombophlebitis and other thrombosis, myocardial infarction, hypertension, stroke, etc.
A number of organic acids (oxalic, benzoic, quinic, tartaric, ursolic, oleic and many others, as well as a rich composition of micro-macronutrients regulate metabolism, maintain blood sugar levels, strengthen cells.
Due to the presence of quercetin, the use of cranberries reduces pain, strengthens the walls of blood vessels, reduces the severity of allergic reactions. By the way, it is quercetin is one of the effective substances used to relieve joint pain in traditional medicine.
The presence of epicatechin helps prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease. These substances are also present in red wine and green tea.
The cranberries also have a sedative effect, which is especially important for mental stress as a mild sedative.
Cranberries help in fighting infections – they are effective in suppressing viruses and bacteria. Therefore, drinking cranberry juice is a folk remedy for treating acute respiratory infections, cystitis, urethritis and other infectious diseases.
The presence of citric acid in these wonderful red berries prevents the formation of kidney stones, i.e. the development of kidney stone disease (PKB, nephrolithiasis).
There is evidence of the health benefits of cranberries for the mouth and its elements. Regular use of berries prevents the development of stomatitis, gingivitis, periodontitis, periodontitis and other dental diseases.
The berry is also good for your skin. For example – hydroxyproline, hydroxylysine are involved in the production of collagen, which gives elasticity and firmness, not only the skin, but also bone and muscle tissues, accelerates the regeneration of the skin. Thus, cranberry speeds up the healing of wounds, makes the skin healthy, prevents bone fractures and muscle sprains.
Regular intake of berries or cranberry juice or morsels promotes the production of gastric and “pancreatic” juice, thus improving the process of digestion and assimilation of food.
Doctors also recommend using berries in the treatment of haemorrhoids, flatulence, colitis, duodenal ulcers and some other GI diseases.
Of course, due to their incredibly rich composition of nutrients, cranberries strengthen the immune system and help in the fight against infectious diseases.