Cranberries, the red berries used in sauces as accompaniments to Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys are not the same as the European cranberry which is in fact the Guelder rose (Viburnum opulus) whose berries are not edible.
   The cranberry is native to North America and was highly prized by the Native Americans for its health properties long before the arrival of the Pilgrim Fathers. In some tribes it was a symbol of peace too. The Native Americans recognized the berry’s astringent qualities and used them in poultices to heal wounds. They have anti-bacterial qualities and are anti-asthmatic and diuretic. They are well-known for treating urinary tract infections such as cystitis and contain the anti-inflammatory substance, quercetin and proanthocyanidins which prevent bacteria sticking to the cells of the urinary tract and gut. Thus they help flush out bacteria such as E.coli in urine; they are diuretic. They also contain a potent vasodilator which opens up the bronchial tubes making them effective in the treatment of asthma. Cranberries also contain myricetin a flavonoid which is thought to have the ability to lower the risk of male prostate cancer.
   Cranberries are high in vitamin C which boosts the immune system and aids the body in its absorption of calcium. They are used in traditional or homeopathic medicine to help in the treatment of blood, and liver disorders and stomach problems. They contain antioxidants which combat the free radicals in our body which can cause cancer.
   These little red berries are the official state fruit of Wisconsin where they are cultivated. They are the number one fruit crop of the state harvested in early autumn in time to supply the Thanksgiving tables of America and the Christmas tables of the rest of the world .The US and Canada supply almost 98% of the world’s cranberries.
   The colonists found that the cranberry was useful to preserve meat during the winter as it contains benzoic acid, and the tart berries were utilized for this purpose. General Ulysses S. Grant famously ordered cranberry sauce to be served to his troops during the siege of Petersburg in 1864, and they were first canned commercially in 1912. They are called bounceberries and bearberries in the US, as when dropped the ripe berries bounce and it seems that bears are rather partial to them.
   If you add sugar to these berries when cooking them this will cancel out their anti-bacterial effects. So if you are intending to use them as a medicine use the leaves of sweet cicely or stevia instead of sugar.
   If you eat cranberries or drink the juice, and eat plenty of pomegranates and pumpkin this winter, as a male you will be doing a lot to decrease your risk of prostate cancer. Try the traditional recipe for cranberry sauce, using leaves instead of sugar. You can add a fruity red wine or brandy to this if you wish, or raisins which will counteract the tartness of the fruit.

12 oz cranberries, washed and topped and tailed
1 cup water
1 handful of sweet cicely leaves, finely shredded
1 stick cinnamon or a few allspice berries or ¼ tsp grated nutmeg (optional)
Put water in a pan and bring to the boil. Add the cranberries and leaves and bring to the boil again then lower the heat and simmer for 10 mins or until the cranberries burst. Add the optional spice if you are using them and simmer for a further 5 mins.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature, then chill in the fridge until ready to serve with your turkey.
This has Taste and is a Treat.


  1. You mean to say Cranberries in US are the same as 'Karonda' in India?? Google search gives conflicting answers and I really would like to know...Thanks.

    1. Vineet, no. Cranberries and karonda are not the same at all.

  2. They're not the same. The botanical name for the North American cranberry is Vaccinium macrocarpon. Karonda, popularly known as the Indian cranberry, is Carissa carandas.

  3. No cranberries and karonda are not the same.

  4. KARONDA {Carissa carandas} is not the same as CRANBERRIES {VACCINIUM OXYCOCCUS}