The healing power of lingonberry

The lingonberry bush is a low-growing plant; it grows at most 30 centimeters high. The plant blooms in May and June, after which matte red berries appear between the leaves a few weeks later. These are perfectly edible; they are odorless, sour and fresh. The fruits of the lingonberry are a time-tested medicine from ancient times for urinary infections. By the way, the lingonberry is a completely different species than red currants. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Botanical drawing lingonberry / Source: Otto Wilhelm Thomé, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)


  • Naming lingonberry
  • Active substances lingonberry
  • Lingonberry for bladder infection
  • Other medicinal effects of lingonberry
  • Eating tips lingonberry
  • Consult a herbal therapist


Naming lingonberry

In botany, Latin names are used for plant names so that everyone in the world is talking about the same plant. The Latin name for the lingonberry bush is Vaccinium Vitis-Idaea . Vaccinium is the general term for berry bushes. It is derived from ‘bacca’ meaning berry and ‘vacca’ meaning cow. Cows are big lovers of lingonberries. ‘Vitis’ is the Latin name for ‘grape’. Dutch has some alternative names for the lingonberry: Rode krakelbezie, Bospalm, Lepeltjesheide, Blaadjesheide. In English it is called Cowberry, Foxberry or Worthleberry. The best known name in French is Myrtille rouge and in German the berry is known as Preiselbeere or Fuchsbeere.

Active substances lingonberry

The berries contain many flavonoids and oligomeric procyanides (OPCs) such as kaemferol and hyperoside. In addition, it contains a high degree of tannins, namely catechins. It contains pectin in large quantities. Ingredients that occur to a lesser extent are: beta-carotene, vitamin C, lycopene, zeoxanthin, the sugars fructose and glucose, malic acid, citric acid, benzoic acid, oxalic acid, quinic acid, salicylic acid, ursolic acid, vegetable pigments, the minerals magnesium, calcium and manganese.

In addition to lingonberries, the medicinal value of lingonberry leaves has been recognized.


Buds and leaves / Source: Wildfeuer, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-2.5)

Lingonberry for bladder infection

This berry is a disinfectant for the urinary tract. A series of substances are used for this purpose, which reinforce each other’s effect. That is called synergy. The substances are excreted in the urine where they then exert their disinfectant effect in the bladder. It also has a positive effect on the kidneys and prostate. It also helps sexually active women to be less likely to get bladder infections. Due to these medicinal effects, a herbalist can prescribe lingonberry for:

  • Benign prostatic hypertrophy or enlarged prostate. This is a benign prostate enlargement that can cause infectious diseases in the bladder due to incomplete urination.
  • Prevention of honeymoon cystitis or bladder infection in sexually active women,
  • Prevention of repeated bladder infections, especially in older women with weakened resistance and diabetics,
  • Prevention of bladder infections in postmenopausal women who develop thinner mucous membranes due to the drop in estrogen and are therefore more susceptible to infections.
  • Prevention of bladder inflammation in people with catheter, spinal cord injuries and chronic urinary tract infections. In 90% of cases, burning or stabbing pain during urination is reduced, annoying urges disappear and urination frequency is reduced.
  • Acute bladder infection, the burning sensation and the need to urinate in small amounts are reduced a few hours after taking the berries during an acute bladder infection.


Other medicinal effects of lingonberry

Lingonberries / Source: Jonas Bergsten, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)

  • Because this berry makes the urine more acidic, kidney stones disappear,
  • Since it makes the urine more acidic, the ammonia-like odor of urine is reduced and it has a deodorizing or deodorizing effect on the urine.
  • Because it contains vitamin C, it prevents scurvy,
  • The vitamin C and flavonoids make this berry a resistance-enhancing agent.
  • The anthocyanidins and flavonoids provide a preventive effect against macular degeneration or cataracts, a disease that mainly occurs in diabetics.


Eating tips lingonberry

You can make a delicious jam or jelly from lingonberries. You can also pickle them in vinegar to make a tasty sour snack. You can eat the berries straight away, but it is advisable not to eat too many of them. You don’t have to make jam to use it as a sandwich spread. You can puree the fresh berry and mix it with honey and grated, dried coconut to sweeten it and then spread it on bread. This is also a tasty and simple recipe for a sauce over a scoop of desert ice cream or home-made ice cream. The simplest dishes are often the tastiest,

Consult a herbal therapist

Anyone who wants to use lingonberry as a medicinal remedy is recommended to consult a herbal therapist. Lingonberry extracts and medicines in the form of mother tinctures, powders, nebulisate, liquid extract, ointment, cream and capsules should only be used on the prescription of authorized persons. A herbal therapist can tell you more about this, as well as about any side effects and interactions with other medicines or herbs. There are also beneficial combinations with herbs. All medicinal effects of this medicinal herb mentioned in this article are based on scientific research and come from Geert Verhelst’s Large Handbook of Medicinal Plants, a standard work in the field of healing plants. The book is used in phytotherapy.

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