Evergreen shrub growing to 20 ft (6 m). Has an upright stem with reddish bark, leathery serrated leaves, white or pink bell shaped flowers, and round warty red fruit resembling strawberries.
Habitat & Cultivation
Native to Mediterranean coasts, strawberry tree also grows in western Ireland, Australia, and Africa. The leaves are gathered in late summer and the fruit in autumn.
Strawberry tree contains up to 2.7% arbutin, methylarbutin, and other hydroquinones, a bitter principle, and tannins. Arbutin is powerfully antiseptic in the urinary system.
History & Folklore
The fruit of strawberry tree is used in preserves, but it is not palatable fresh. The Latin unedo comes from un ede, meaning “[only] one I eat.”
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Strawberry tree is valued as an astringent and antiseptic herb. Its antiseptic action within the urinary tract makes it a useful remedy for treating cystitis and urethritis. Strawberry tree’s astringent effect has been put to use in the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery.
Do not take during pregnancy or if suffering from kidney disease.