CRANBERRY, Vaccinium macrocarpon
Scurvy was a big problem to the early sailors all over the world. The winter season seemed to be more difficult, because there were no fresh fruits or vegetables to be had.
From an old diary comes a story of two Norwegian brothers that were sailors. Their mother always fed her family cranberries, because she knew they would help keep her children from catching cold. She would always gather a lot of cranberries before her sons went to sea. The cranberries would not freeze even when the weather got cold, so she would send a keg or small barrel of cranberries with them on their voyage. Every day, they would eat a few cranberries. None of the other sailors wanted to eat any because they were too sour. On long trips, many of the other sailors would get sick, but the two Norwegian brothers always stayed healthy. Even though everyone on the ship ate the same food, no one thought it strange that the Norwegian brothers never got sick. They all thought it was because they came from healthy Norwegian family.
Too bad that the captain and crew never knew that cranberries are very high in vitamin C and good for scurvy! Cranberries also contain potassium, calcium, magnesium and vitamin K.
When the pilgrims first came to this country, the Indians introduced them to cranberries. So, cranberries were a part of the first Thanksgiving feast. After all, what is turkey without cranberries? The tradition must have really caught on, because over 600 million pounds of cranberry sauce are sold every year, besides all the cranberry jams, jellies, juice and preserves.
After a few years ago, most of cranberries were made into a sauce that was used on the Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey. However, in the last few years, cranberry juice has become a very popular drink. It is not only a good tasting drink, but it is a very healthy drink, especially when combined with another fruit. One word of caution: Because cranberries are sour and tart, they are made up with a lot of sugar, especially in drinks. Remember the study that said one molecule of sugar eats up height molecules of calcium. This is a problem to a lot of people-- a lot of calcium. The Native Americans sweetened cranberries with maple sap.
Cranberries, besides being a tasty food and drink, are very healthy for the body. Cranberries as an herb, or a food, are very good for the kidneys, the bladder and the urinary tract, in general. They are a very good remedy for bladder infection.
I knew of a lady who suffered kidney and bladder infection all the time. She said she was in the doctor's office continually getting this or that kind of shot to try to get rid of the infections. As soon as the shot wore off, the infection would come back. She said it gave her candida (years infection) and a bunch of other problems. One of her friends said she should drink a lot of cranberry juice. Not the sweet kind of drink, but the sour kind from the health food store. She drank the cranberry juice for a few weeks and took some of Grandma's herbal Anti and Kidney formulas and in a few weeks everything was back to normal.
The wild cranberry the Native Americans gave the Pilgrims grew in bogs and swamps. They were low-growing, slender, creeping vines from six inches to two feet long. They had small leathery evergreen leaves that were very light underneath and grew alternately on the vine. The pink or red blossoms developed into bright red berries on a thread-like stem that bent like a crane's neck. They were first called cranberries, and they loved moist ground and cold weather.
Stories from the pilgrims and early settlers say that cranberries are also good for diabetes, to remove blood toxins. And because they are an astringent, they will also help diarrhea. They are also good for asthma, because they help dilate the bronchial tubes.