BackgroundRowan trees were revered in ancient times for their capacity to ward off the evil eye. It is easy to consider such beliefs to be superstitious nonsense, but perhaps there's more to it than that.
TheoryRowan berries are believed to strengthen the immune system, being rich in vitamin C and anti-oxidants. Perhaps this is enough to ward off the evil eye of Lyme disease and other chronic disease. A folk name is the quicken tree, perhaps for its ability to quicken (bring life into) a sick body.
IdentificationRowan trees are called mountain ash, as their leaves are very similar to ash leaves. They generally grow much smaller than ash trees. The red berries are a giveaway, as the ash does not produce these.
CollectionThe berries appear in midsummer. Pick by the bunch rather than the individual berries.
PreparationWhen fresh, you can eat them straight from the tree. Suck them rather than biting into them though, as they are very bitter. You can chew them once the bitterness has been slowly sucked away.
Dry berries in a dehydrator or in dry heat and store in a cool, dark place.