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A wild undersized shrub, the first mention of which dates back to the 16th century, thanks to its healing qualities, it gained very wide popularity over several centuries.
Begun during the reign of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, the cultivation of this plant has so far achieved impressive results, and now lingonberry plantations are spread not only on the territory of Russia.
She found her recognition in North America (cowberry - "cow berry"), and in some European countries, for example, in Sweden, Finland and Holland.
Description and distribution
Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis idaea L. - "Vine from Mount Ida") is a small perennial shrub growing in pine or deciduous forests of the middle belt, as well as in Eastern and Western Siberia.
The areola of its growth is wide enough. It is found among white and green mosses, and in a peat bog, and in the tundra, and even in the far north.
Lingonberry bushes are often interconnected by rhizomes and, in fact, represent one plant.
Its dark red, ripe berries pile on the tops of the stems, and the evergreen, rounded leaves are leathery, dense and shiny.
Lingonberry is resistant to low temperatures, and under favorable conditions, its undersized bushes grow up to 15 cm, forming whole thickets.
Lingonberry ripens towards the end of summer, and in August its berries are at their most ripe and juicy.
The leaves, which are also widely used for medicinal purposes, are harvested in the spring before flowering shrubs, or in the fall after picking berries.
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Useful properties of lingonberry and its use
Lingonberry, its berries and leaves, have found a worthy application not only in homeopathy and herbal medicine, but also took an honorable place in the beauty and culinary industries.
Lingonberries are, first of all, a source of beta - carotene, which is a precursor of vitamin A. Since this vitamin is not synthesized in our body on its own, the value of beta carotene can hardly be overestimated.
Vitamin A is vital for the immune system, actively contributes to the body's resistance to infections, and has a positive effect on human growth. Lack of vitamin A in the body inevitably leads to deterioration of vision.
In addition, it was found that lingonberry is very rich in vitamin C. In its content, it ranks first among its wild counterparts - cranberries and blueberries.
Vitamin C is our body's first line of antioxidant defense.
It helps neutralize the harmful effects of over 50 different chemicals from the environment.
Ascorbic acid activates all life processes, protects the body from infections, strengthens the immune system, stimulating the formation of the main components of the human immune system, which are responsible for the body's resistance to various viruses and bacteria.
Vitamin C normalizes redox reactions, cellular respiration and reparative processes, improves capillary permeability and increases life expectancy.
Interestingly, lingonberry leaves have no less potential for healing the body than the berries themselves. This is a whole treasury of minerals and valuable chemical compounds.
They contain mineral salts, catechins, tannins and various organic acids such as malic, formic, citric, oxalic.
There are a number of microelements important for the human body: potassium, magnesium, calcium, copper, chromium, phosphorus and manganese.
In addition, lingonberry leaves contain arbutin, a natural antiseptic, as well as antioxidants and flavonoids.
It is not surprising that such a rich medical arsenal endows lingonberries with a whole range of useful possibilities.
It has a positive effect on the human body as various means, for example:
- wound healing;
Lingonberry has been successfully used for many decades to treat:
- cardiovascular system - hypertension, angina pectoris, rheumatism, thrombophlebitis, ischemic heart disease, varicose veins;
- digestive organs - gastritis with low acidity, stomach swelling, inflammation of the pancreas, gallstones, diarrhea, constipation, liver disease;
- nervous system - mental fatigue, neurasthenia, headaches, anemia.
In addition, lingonberry tinctures, teas and decoctions help with colds, vitamin deficiency, cystitis, skin cancer, high cholesterol, bleeding of various properties, female ailments, and eye diseases.
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Ripe lingonberries - with sourness and a slight bitterness, but very tonic and tasty. The best way to preserve all the amazing beneficial properties of these berries is to eat them fresh.
You can also grind the berries, and then they will become an excellent ingredient for natural juices and fruit drinks.
In various combinations with other berries and fruits, lingonberries can add to your home collection of jams, preserves and compotes.
Lingonberry fruits are very convenient for storage, since, due to the content of benzoic acid, they are able to maintain their freshness and taste for a long time.
Therefore, there are several options for storing berries, for example:
- Pour in water (soaked lingonberry) and leave in the refrigerator until spring.
- Dry in an oven at a low temperature and then store in fabric bags in a cool place.
- Freeze in one layer in a freezer.
Lingonberry leaves can also be perfectly preserved in a dry wooden box, after sorting and drying them in a cool dark place.
Due to its unique combination of vitamins and microelements, lingonberry berries are successfully used in cosmetology.
For example, vitamin A, being a fat-soluble antioxidant, protects the skin from premature wrinkles, and vitamin C, participating in collagen synthesis, stimulates the regeneration of skin cells and protects it from harmful substances.
Therefore, lingonberry berries are endowed with the ability to have a powerful anti-aging effect and are an essential component of anti-aging masks and creams.
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Contraindications to the use of lingonberries
We can say that lingonberry, having such a wide range of effects on the body, has practically no contraindications.
Perhaps, based on some of its properties, it should be used with caution in people with increased gastric acidity, hypotension, as well as in the postoperative period in order to avoid excessive bleeding.
The amazing and useful properties of this beautiful northern berry make lingonberry one of the favorite delicacies for many generations and peoples in different countries.