Among the forgotten autumn fruits, a prominent place occupies the strawberry tree that resembles an orange / red berry. It is not only the fruit that is interesting but the whole plant itself, with various properties that make it a good natural remedy especially in the case of cystitis and diarrhea.
The strawberry tree ( Arbutus unedo ) is a typical shrub of the Mediterranean scrub that is part of the Ericaceae family (the same as the blueberry). It produces small and round fruits that are characterized by their orange or bright red color (when well ripe) and by the particular consistency, harder on the outside with the characteristic small sharp growths and softer and grainy on the inside.
You may never have tasted them (nor seen them at the market), but it’s a real shame. It is, in fact, unfortunately a little-known fruit and often difficult to find even if, especially in autumn, the season in which it ripens, it would be more often brought to the table for its interesting properties.
- Strawberry tree, calories and nutritional values
- Strawberry tree properties
- Uses of Strawberry Tree
- Strawberry tree jam
- Strawberry tree herbal tea
- Strawberry tree in cosmetics
- Contraindications of the strawberry tree
- Curiosity about the strawberry tree
Strawberry tree, calories and nutritional values
100 grams of strawberry trees bring about 76 calories and contain:
- 8 g of protein
- 11 g of sugars
- 8 mg of vitamin C
Strawberry tree properties
The fruit of the strawberry tree offers several benefits but also leaves, flowers and roots have interesting medicinal properties . It is therefore a plant that on the whole turns out to be a good natural remedy on several occasions.
These are the main benefits it offers:
- Vitamins and antioxidants: the strawberry tree gives us a good dose of vitamins and natural antioxidants.
- Anti-inflammatory:its nutritional composition makes this fruit, and in general the plant, a good anti-inflammatory remedy especially for the intestine and liver.
- Diuretic: the fruit, but also above all the infusion based on strawberry tree leaves, has a great diuretic power, therefore useful for eliminating excess liquids and draining the body.
- Against cystitis and inflammation in the urinary tract:not so much the fruit as the leaves of the strawberry tree are used in herbal medicine to create remedies suitable to fight cystitis. It can be used alone or in combination with other plants such as bearberry.
- Astringent and antidiarrheal:this fruit, as well as the extracts of the strawberry tree plant, have astringent power. It is therefore recommended in case of diarrhea.
- Helps the liver:above all the leaves of the strawberry tree support the work of liver and bile.
- Lower the pressure:the strawberry tree can help regulate blood pressure in cases where it is excessively high. The infusion based on this plant also helps improve circulation.
- Balsamic and antiseptic: to have these properties is in particular strawberry tree honey, which bees produce precisely from this plant.
Uses of Strawberry Tree
The strawberry tree lends itself to different preparations in the kitchen but the ripe fruits can also be used simply in fruit salads, to garnish desserts, yogurt, ice cream or as they are for an excellent autumn snack. They are eaten fresh, when they have reached maturity and have reached an intense red color, this occurs between late October and December.
One of the best known recipes is certainly the one to prepare jam from the fruit.
Strawberry tree jam
For this recipe you will need:
- 1 kg of ripe strawberry tree pulp
- 350-700 g of brown sugar (depending on whether you want it more or less sweet)
- Zest of an untreated lemon
- 1 glass of water
Wash the fruits and put them in a large pot which you will cook on a low heat for about 20 minutes. Pass them through a sieve and then add grated lemon zest and water. Put everything back on the heat and stir occasionally until you get a thick mixture. You just have to put your strawberry tree jam in the (previously sterilized) jars.
With this autumn fruit you can also prepare a flavored vinegar ( HERE you will find a recipe to experiment) as well as syrups and liqueurs.
As already mentioned above, there is also strawberry tree honey , a rare product (in fact it is difficult for bees to produce honey at the end of autumn) which boasts interesting properties and which can be used like a natural remedy. Recent research has also shown its anti-cancer potential in particular towards colon cancer.
Strawberry tree herbal tea
This fruit is a good natural remedy also in the form of an infusion. We have already pointed out the possibility of preparing a strawberry tree tea from the dried flowers of the plant and not from the fruit. It is an excellent natural system to deal with flu and feverish states but also useful in case of diarrhea.
To prepare it you will need:
- 5 grams of strawberry tree flowers
- 250 milliliters of water
Put the flowers in the hot water and leave everything to rest for 15 minutes before filtering and drinking. Arbutus tea can be taken once or twice a day as needed.
A variant involves the use of the dry leaves of the plant. In this case you will need:
- 7 gr of strawberry tree leaves
- 250 milliliters of water
The preparation is the same.
Strawberry tree in cosmetics
Strawberry tree is also used in cosmetics for its antioxidant properties as well as for its ability to lighten skin blemishes thanks to its arbutin content.
Keep in mind that the infusion made from the leaves, given its astringent qualities, can be used as a tonic for the face.
Contraindications of the strawberry tree
It is not recommended to use the fruit (or natural remedies based on strawberry tree) in an excessive way , especially if you suffer from constipation or take drugs with which it could interfere.
Then there is the problem of alkaloids which contains the plant which can create more or less serious disturbances to the digestive system (it depends on the sensitivity of the person). Another reason to limit its consumption.
Curiosity about the strawberry tree
Do you know that the strawberry tree is called the Garibaldi plant ? The reason is very simple and lies in the beautiful colors of this plant: green leaves, white flowers, red fruits! Remind you of something? They are the colors of the Italian flag!