Evergreen shrub up to 15 cm tall with thin adventitious roots. The stems are thin, filamentous, strongly branching, rooting in places. The leaves are simple, entire, soft, short-petiolate, with curved down edges and a network of protruding veins on the underside, dark green above, grayish below. The flowers are regular, four-membered, drooping, on long stalks one to four in the axils of the leaves. Calyx four-toothed, purple corolla four-parted with recurved lobes, 8 stamens, one pistil, lower ovary, four-celled, many-seeded. The fruit is a bright red globular berry. Blooms from late May to July. The fruits ripen in September-October.
Distributed in the northern and middle regions of Russia, in the tundra and forest zones. It grows mainly on acid marsh and peat soils and sphagnum bogs.
Medicinal raw materials in scientific medicine are fruits consumed fresh or in the form of syrups. In folk medicine, in addition, leaves.
Mature fruits are used, collected after the onset of frost, in autumn or early spring. Berries contain vaccinin glycoside, vitamin C, all kinds of acids, pectin and dyes, sugars.
Fruits that have been well preserved under snow retain their appearance and taste, accumulate a greater amount of citric acid, but lose vitamins. The smell is almost absent, the taste is sour or sweet.
In scientific medicine, cranberries have long been used to prepare acidic drinks prescribed for febrile patients as a refreshing agent. In addition to the above, this drink is a source of vitamin C and can be used for hypovitaminosis.
The benzoic acid found in cranberries can kill viruses. Thanks to this, cranberries are used in the food industry: it turns out that once in the human body, it helps him fight infection. So, fruit drink or cranberry extract is given to enhance the action of antibiotics and sulfamids (in cases of reduced sensitivity of the microbial flora to them) in the treatment of pyelonephritis.
Typically, cranberry products are prescribed to patients after severe illnesses, with exhaustion, lack of appetite. Sweet and sour syrups and juices cause an increase in the function of the glandular-nervous apparatus laid down throughout the gastrointestinal tract, starting from the oral cavity, the secretion of the glands of the oral cavity increases, the acidity of the gastric contents increases, the separation of bile, and the process of food processing improves.
In addition, cranberries and its products have a calming effect, improve sleep, regulate blood pressure, and have an anti-inflammatory effect. Because of this, the general condition of the sick improves, weakness disappears, and health is restored faster.
Cranberries are also used for gastritis with low acidity, with peptic ulcer.
In folk medicine, cranberry juice and syrup are used for beriberi and all kinds of inflammatory diseases accompanied by high fever, help to reduce the temperature. Cranberries with honey are also used for colds, rheumatism, tonsillitis; they eat berries with increased blood pressure, the leaves are used instead of tea and make a thick decoction for shortness of breath, berries and leaves – for low acidity of the stomach, the juice from the berries is used for fever.
Juice is obtained by squeezing berries through gauze or on a juicer.
Cranberries are used to make a cranberry drink with potato juice. To do this, take 200 g of peeled potatoes, rub it on a fine grater (it is better to pass through a meat grinder) or get it on a juicer, leave it for starch to settle for 1-2 hours, carefully drain the juice and add raw cranberry juice (from 50 g of cranberries), add 15 g sugar.
Berry drinks are very useful for the treatment of pyelonephritis, which is the second most common disease and rarely leads to hypertension.