Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Rowan Tree Berries

Sorbus aucuparia

Background

Rowan 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.

Theory

Rowan 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.

Identification

Rowan 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.

Collection

The berries appear in midsummer. Pick by the bunch rather than the individual berries.

Preparation

When 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.

Dosage

Three berries a day.

WARNINGS

The raw berries contain parasorbic acid, which can cause indigestion and even lead to kidney damage. Cooking, heat drying or freezing will convert this to the safe sorbic acid.

My Experience

I've been eating three rowan berries a day for the better part of a year. I've never had any sickness or indigestion from them. My health has been improving during this time, and although I cannot say with any surety that rowan berries are the reason, I will continue to eat them.

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