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Strawberry tree

Strawberry tree


Features

The arbutus unedo, better known by the name of strawberry tree, is a plant that is part of one of the largest family in nature, namely the Ericaceae.

It is a shrub that, over the years, is characterized by an ease of development especially in regions that have a typically warm and Mediterranean climate, although it can also be found in many areas of Ireland.

We are talking about a plant that is characterized by an excellent shrub development and by being an evergreen; however, this plant frequently "transforms" into a tree that can reach a height of up to ten meters.

The branches of this particular plant are characterized by having a reddish color of the bark, while the leaves have typical serrated contours, with an oval shape.

This plant has the particular characteristic of flowering during the autumn season, especially in the last period, and of producing white flowers that develop within numerous clusters from which the fruits will then be produced during the following year. .

This explains the reason for the presence, at the same time, of the flowers with the fruits that are the result of the previous year's flowering.

When we talk about strawberry tree fruits, however, we must emphasize that they are berries with a globular consistency, with a red color and are edible.


Active ingredients and properties

The most important part of the strawberry tree plant, from the point of view of medicinal and healing properties, is undoubtedly represented by the leaves.

In fact, the other parts of the strawberry tree plant, such as the roots, the fruits and the flowers, are characterized by having less pronounced healing properties compared to the leaves.

Let's start analyzing the strawberry tree leaves, which have a good number of substances inside them: among them, we can underline the importance of phenolic derivatives such as arbutoside or arbutin, monotropein, geniposide and so on; furthermore, again as regards the active ingredients contained therein, we also find a good number of tannins, resins, sterols and gums.

As for the composition of strawberry tree fruits, however, we find a percentage of sugars equal to about 10-20%, pectins, arbutin, triterpenes, hops, pigments, flavonoids and vitamins.


Use

In many cases, the strawberry tree plant and especially its leaves are used therapeutically for a large number of purposes.

First of all, the strawberry tree is characterized by performing an antidiarrheal and astringent function, but it is also able to be a good anti-inflammatory for the liver, for the biliary tract and for the entire circulatory system.

Furthermore, we must not forget how the strawberry tree is also able to act as an excellent antispasmodic against the digestive system and biliary tract.

In the same way, other functions of the strawberry tree are recognized, such as diuretic, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory which essentially concerns the urinary tract.

As for the parts of the leaves and the bark, it is important to underline how the high quantity of tannins present allows them to be used above all to tan leather.

Finally, we must not forget the strawberry tree honey, which is characterized by having a good number of healing properties, including balsamic, antispasmodic, antiseptic and diuretic.

As previously mentioned, strawberry tree is one of the most effective antiseptics concerning the urinary tract and, recently, numerous scientific studies have led to the isolation of new components: we are talking about the asperuloside and gardenoside iridoids.

The strawberry tree plant is also characterized by having a composition that closely resembles that of Aretostaphylos uva ursi, despite the content and quantity of arbutin being more

low compared to that of tannins: this explains the reason why bearberry is preferred in many situations.


Contraindications

As we said earlier, inside the strawberry tree we can find a high amount of tannins and, for this reason, this can often cause irritation to the gastrointestinal tract.

The advice is undoubtedly to always be very careful in case you have to take drugs and, at the same time, you want to eat strawberry tree fruits.

Precisely because of the thick presence of tannins, in fact, drug interactions could occur.


Strawberry tree: Curiosity

The scientific name of the strawberry tree is “arbutus unedo” and, according to various sources, it should derive from the Celtic language.

It is precisely for this reason that "ar", in Celtic, means "unripe", while the second word, or "unedo", has a much older meaning and wanted to warn not to overdo these fruits despite their pleasantness.

Even in ancient times, in fact, it was learned that the fruits of the strawberry tree, if they were taken in excessive quantities, could cause dangerous senses of nausea and constipation.



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