The Arbutus unedo also known as “strawberry tree” and “apple of Cain” is a native of South Europe and Mediterranean regions, but will grow readily in warm coastal regions.
In spite of the fruit being totally unpalatable, the herb is a highly effective renal antiseptic used for a number of medicinal conditions such as treatment of diseases of the urinary system, i.e. urethritis and cystitis. Owing to its antiseptic, astringent and diuretic properties it is used for treating dysentery and diarrhoea as well as inflamed sore throat. Gargling is usually very effective for treating irritated and painful throat due to cold.
The flowers have diaphoretic properties and hence are used to control and treat fevers resulting from bacterial infections. It is also used with success in treating high blood pressure.
In ancient times, the Arbutus unedo was also used for treating certain STDs resulting from infection with Trichomonas vaginalis, which was also proved by medical research studies carried out in Turkey. Studies also show conclusively that the herb s a powerhouse of antioxidants.