The Cranberry (Vaccinium vitis idaea) is a medicinal plant of the Ericaceae family. It has some other popular names, like lingonberry, partridgeberry or cowberry.
The Cranberry is a bushy shrub of 10 to 40 cm tall. The stem is cylindrical and branched. The leaves are alternate, elliptical, skinny, with blurred edges and black dots on the back. The flowers are campanulated in a white-pink color and in terminal racemes with two or six flowers.
The fruits of this shrub are consumed dried, candied or preserved in different ways. The leafs (Folium Vitis idaea) are also used. You need to cut the branches until dry, then shake the leaves by tapping. Active substances: arbutin, hydroquinone, tannin, flavonoids. The leaf preparation is an energetic diuretic, lithontriptic (dissolves urinary calculi, commonly called kidney stones), antidiareic, strong antiseptic of the urinary tract. It is recommended for kidney problems, urinary infections, cystitis, rheumatism, gout, diarrhea. It can be taken as a simple decoction (5-10 minutes with 1 1/2 teaspoons per cup), 2 cups a day, plus a sodium bicarbonate tip. It is also a part of different diuretic teas.
It grows at high altitudes, in alpine meadows or shrubs, rarely in shady places (spruce trees). The cranberry grows on moist, strongly acidic soils with low soil requirements. It also resists in dry weather conditions. In Romania, the cranberry grows in the high areas of the Carpathian Mountains, especially those in Transylvania.