The strawberry tree is a tall shrub becomes a tree if left to grow at home, and better in rich soil with abundant water. The younger branches are colored red and the leaves are always green, lanceolate, serrated edges, supported by a short spokes. The flowers are terminal clusters and are shaped like a miniature pot, a greenish white. The fruit is a berry red when ripe, covered with small spikes and yellow flesh.
One grows in oak forests, in ravines or in the bushes of nearly the whole peninsula, mainly in coastal provinces, in lowlands and low mountains high.
It blooms in late summer or early autumn rains. The fruits ripen await next year, when the plant blooms again. The parties of interest for medicinal purposes are the leaves and bark.
Arbutus bark contains tannin rich materials, so it is widely used as tanning. On leaves and young branches are also high concentrations of tannins and a glycoside called Pro Life. In the fruits, when ripe, various sugars, malic acid and pectin, and these have a fairly bland taste, farinaceous. Which are tastier and past middle age, contain alcohol.
Some authors assure that all parts of the plant contain arbutin, but this claim remains in doubt.
The leaves are very astringent, like the crust. The property of being antiseptic of the urinary tract is mainly due to the leaves. It is generally used to combat diarrhea and dysentery. The fruits of the arbutus are edible, although, as already discussed, little pleasing to the palate, unless eaten when very ripe, for then they soften and become more flavorful. The problem may occur if taken in large amounts is that the alcohol contained (when ripe) is sufficient to intoxicate an adult, they say, produce annoying headaches. For that reason they called it "unedo," meaning that one should not eat more than one.
Infusion. Pour into a pint of boiling water for five minutes and 25 g. Leaves, filter the liquid and administered three times daily, in small cups.
Decoction. Boil a liter of water for ten minutes, 40 g. Leaves, then filter the liquid through a strainer, sweetness to everyone's taste and drink three glasses a day.
HABITAT: Land calcareous and siliceous
FLOWERING: Late summer
PART USED: Leaves and bark
CASTILIAN: Madroñero, merodo
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