Heather family – Ericaceae.
The leaves are used for medicinal purposes.
Found only in Polissya. It grows in dry and mixed forests, on sandy soils. Forms traditionally small pure or almost pure thickets, the size of which does not often exceed hundreds of square meters. Such thickets are noted in the Volyn, Rivne, Zhytomyr, Kyiv and Chernihiv regions.
Stocks of raw materials are small (a few centners of leaves can be harvested annually), but with the cutting down of old forests, they are rapidly decreasing. The plants remaining after deforestation are restored very slowly, since reproduction is mainly vegetative. In addition, plants are destroyed when harvested incorrectly (pulling out or cutting down bushes).
Bearberry is an evergreen, creeping shrub. Shoots recumbent, strongly branched, rooting, with pubescent young branches. The leaves are alternate, elongated, obovate, entire, obtuse at the apex, narrowed towards the base, leathery, dark green above, shiny, lighter below. The flowers are pitcher-shaped, white or pale pink, in drooping racemes at the tops of the shoots. The fruits are drupe-shaped, red, 7-8 mm in diameter.
Inexperienced pickers sometimes, instead of bearberry, collect leaves of other types of small forest shrubs growing next to it.
(The leaves are harvested after the snow thaws and before flowering (April-July), then in the fall (September-October). To do this, cut small leafy twigs with sickles or knives. It is not necessary to pluck leaves from plants on the vine, as the branches are pulled out with roots , which leads to the destruction of thickets.
Whole branches are dried by hanging them on special dryers or laying them out in a layer of 5-7 cm on sieves in attics or under sheds with good ventilation. Dry branches are threshed and the leaves are separated on sieves, while discarding the darkened ones. The yield of dry raw materials is 50%.
According to GF-X, art. 285 GOST 2830-48, the raw material consists of separate leathery leaves (1-2 cm long and 0.5-1.2 m wide), shiny, dark green above, matte, gray-green below. There is no smell, the taste is bitter, very tart. Humidity is not higher than 12%.
Ash content should not exceed 4%.
Dry leaves are packed in bags or bales weighing 25, 50, 100 kg. Store in dry, well-ventilated areas. Storage period up to 5 years. Re-control during the storage period is not carried out.
The leaves contain glycosides (arbutin, methylarbutin), tannins, organic acids (gallusic, ellagic, quinic, ursolic), hyperoside, quercetin. Used as a diuretic and disinfectant for diseases of the bladder and urinary tract; in the form of a decoction are included in diuretic fees.