Organic Cranberry and Cowberry
The Healing and Nutritional Power of Berries
Plants that reproduce through berries live in symbiosis with other beings, usually birds. The birds will eat the berries and carry the seed with them to other places. In return, the berries contain important nutrients.
Because berries are exposed to intensive radiation from the sun, they usually contain substantial quantities of antioxidants in their outer layers. They include the well known vitamins C and E, but also less known or for the human body not essential, but nevertheless valuable antioxidants.
Mountain Cranberry – Vaccinium vitis-idaea
This berry is known under a number of names, among them mountain cranberry, lingonberry, red bilberry, red whortleberry and rock cranberry.
Cranberries are found all over the northern hemisphere. In the US it is widely known and used in fruit jams, as a fruit juice by itself or for mixed drinks etc.
Cranberries contain the following active ingredients: glycosides (chemical compound consisting of a sugar and an active substance), flavonoids (a group of mostly yellow plant substances rich in nitrogen with various effects), tannins (tan skin to leather and can thus be used against diarrhea and on wounds).
The indigenous American population, the Indians, already appreciated this deeply red fruit as a remedy. They washed wounds out with cranberry juice and made compresses with cranberry to draw the poison from arrow wounds. In folk medicine, cranberries have been used as a antibiotic like medicine for prevention and treatment of infections of the efferent urinary passages.
The effectiveness of the cranberry for infections of the urinary passages has been scientifically proven in the meantime. Researchers from Youngstown State University were able to show that cranberries could prevent E. coli bacteria from attaching themselves to the cells of the bladder and the kidneys. E. coli are responsible for 80% of all urinary tract infections.
Only recently, the active ingredient responsible for this effect was determined. They are a certain kind of tannins (tannins have been known for their occurrence in red wine). These tannins cannot kill E. coli bacteria, but they can no longer attach to the cells of the urinary tract and are flushed out with the urine.
Apart from this effect, cranberries are rich in fiber and contain, amongst others, the minerals potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron and the vitamins A, B1, B2, C and E.
Since berries are 90% water, they are highly concentrated in dried form. We recommend a dosage of 2-4 caps per day as a preventive or complementary with a drug treatment.
Cowberry – Vaccinium oxycoccus
Though similar to cranberries when it comes to appearance and chemical composition, the cowberry grows in marshland (mire), while the cranberry grows in heathland. When collecting them, it is therefore impossible to confuse them.
The cowberry is also know as small cranberry, European cranberry or mossberry. Its extract is often used as an equivalent to the third kind of cranberry, Vaccinium macrocarpon. She grows in the same climate as the mountain cranberry and grows all over Canada, Europe and Northern Asia.
The cowberry contains tannins, pectins (a kind of complex carbohydrate), fruit acids and antioxidants.
The indigenous American population used this berry for wound healing and for dying textiles. Because of the high vitamin content, sailors would carry cowberries with them to prevent scurvy (condition caused by lack of vitamin C).
Like the mountain cranberry, the cowberry is used to prevent urinary tract infections, through the same mechanism. Recently published studies indicate that cowberries could also be containing active ingredients that protect other parts of the human body, for example the stomach and the oral cavity, through the same mechanism of preventing bacteria from attaching themselves to the mucous membranes.
At the moment new studies are undertaken to verify the effect of cowberries on the coronary vessels. The seeds of the cowberry, for example, contain the much discussed omega-3-fatty acids, which are rarely found in plants, and that can help keep the heart healthy. Other studies showed a reduction of cholesterol and a reduction of the growth of breast cancer cells in animals.
In a comparison between 20 different fruits, the cowberry topped the list with regards to antioxidant capacity.
Cowberries contain sodium, potassium, phosphorous, vitamin C as well as other plant antioxidants and non essential plant nutrients.
We recommend a dosage of 2-4 capsules per day preventive or complementary with a drug treatment.