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lingonberry

Wild Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) grows on dry forest soil, typically in pine forests and lichen heaths where the undergrowth is not very dense. The dark red berries can be found growing in clusters on short shrubs close to the ground. The thick, wax-coated leaves of the shrubs are coloured dark green. Lingonberries are ready for picking in late August and the season lasts until the end of September. Lingonberries can simply be preserved in their own juice, since the berries contain all the natural acids and sugar needed. In fact, lingonberry contains more sugar than the sweeter-tasting bilberry, but the sweetness is covered by acids. Lingonberries are very rich in vitamins A and C and magnesium. Lingonberries contain high concentrations of flavonoids and lignans. It contains lignans in much higher concentrations than other berries do. Lignans are believed to play a role in the prevention of cancer and osteoporosis, and are also regarded as phytoestrogens. Vaccinium berries may affect the coliformic bacteria that cause urinary track infection. The cranberry-lingonberry juice concentrate is reported to reduce recurrences of symptomatic urinary track infection by about half, compared to the control group.

Cowberries contain plentiful organic acids, vitamin C, provitamin A (as beta carotene), B vitamins (B1, B2, B3), and the elements potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. In addition to these healthful nutrients, cowberries also contain phytochemicals that are thought to counteract urinary-tract infections, and the seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.

Cowberries are used in herbal medicine. They were a major component in keeping people healthy in Sweden through the long winters without fresh vegetables. A coarse porridge with fat salt pork and lingonberry preserve was a classic meal of the winter, and a large crock of the berries preserved with sugar would be found in every larder. Owing to their high content of benzoic acid, they have the additional virtue of being able to be made into preserve without boiling.