Clusterberry. Clusterberry leaves

Clusterberry. Clusterberry leaves

Clusterberry. Clusterberry leaves

Specification & Spread

Clusterberry leaves — folia vitis idaeae
Clusterberry — vaccinium vitis-idaea l.
Heath family (Vacciniaceae subfamily) – ericaceae (vaccinioideae)
Other names: redberry, lingonberry.

It is an evergreen shrub in height from 5 to 30 cm tall with a creeping rhizome and upright branched stems.
The leaves are alternate, leathery, short-petiolate, obovate or elliptical, shiny, with a solid, wrapped on the bottom side edge.
The flowers are tetramerous, pinkish, gathered in 2-8 short drooping apical brushes, bell-shaped corolla, 8 stamens, the pistil is with lower ovary. The fruit is a bright red juicy spherical berry with numerous small seeds.

It blooms in May – June, the fruits ripen in August – September.

Spreading. It has an extensive holarctic range with a predominance in the northern part of Eurasia. The main areas of harvesting – the northern, northeastern and western regions of Russia, Siberia (Tomsk region, Republic of Tyva), as well as Belarus.

Habitat. It occurs in the forest and arctic zones, climbing the mountains to the alpine belt. It grows in coniferous and mixed forests, in mountain and flat tundra. It mostly abundant in light coniferous (pine and pine-spruce) forests.


The chemical composition of clusterberry

Clusterberry leaves contain:

  • arbutin (4-9%),
  • free hydroquinone,
  • as well as flavonoids,
  • tannins, mainly condensed groups (up to 15%),
  • ursolic, ellagic and quinic acids.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. Clusterberry leaves are harvested in two periods in spring and autumn: in spring – before flowering, until there are no buds or until they are whitened; late autumn – with full ripening. The leaves are harvested in the summer, when drying turn brown, at the same time quality of the raw materials worsens. The raw materials can be harvested by plucking leaves from a bush, cut with scissors or gently break off above-ground shoots, from which, after drying, the leaves are easily separated. The most high-quality raw materials – the leaves are harvested immediately after melting or during snow melting. Apical shoots (Cormi Vitis idaeae) are allowed for harvesting; however, this type of raw material is not found in practice.

Security measures. It is not allowed to pull out plants. Clusterberry multiplies vegetatively by the rhizomes and dies when damaged. The repeated harvesting in the same area is allowed only after 5-10 years, after full restoration of thickets.

Drying. It is dried, scattered in a well-ventilated room or in the attic. The temperature when drying with artificial heating should not exceed 35-40 ºС. After drying, the raw materials are sorted, the damaged, blackened and browned leaves are removed, and, if necessary, the twigs are removed. The yield of dry raw materials is 20-22%.

Storage. The raw materials are stored in a dry and well-ventilated area.

Whole raw materials

The leaves are short, leathery, elliptical or obovate, at the apex blunt or weakly matted with solid or slightly serrated, wrapped on the bottom side edges (Fig. 7.2, A), 7-30 mm long, 5-15 mm wide.
The leaves are dark green above, light green below, with clearly visible dark brown dots (glands). Venous cirrus
The smell is absent. The taste is bitter and astringent.

Milled raw materials

The pieces of leaves of various shapes, passing through a sieve with 3 mm diameter holes. The colour is from light green to dark green. The smell is absent. The taste is bitter and astringent.


In the raw materials of clusterberry and bearberry as impurities, within the limits of the permissible amount, there may be leaves of other similar species from heath family (blueberry, swamp blueberry) and plants from tpyrola family – common pipsissewa. The leaves of these plants are easily recognizable by external signs.
In blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) the leaves are ovate, not leathery, thin, with a finely toothed margin, light green on both sides. The leaves of blueberry (Vaccinium uliginosum L.) are wider than the leaves of bearberry and clusterberry, obovate, entire, dense, but not leathery, non-shiny, bluish-green from above, grey-green from below.
In common pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata (L.) W. Barton), the leaves are thick, leathery, shiny, dark green above, lighter, oblong-back-shaped at the bottom, sawtooth-toothed at the edge.

Properties and application

Pharmacotherapeutic group. Diuretic and antiseptic agent.
Pharmacological properties of clusterberry

Clusterberry leaves render:

  • antimicrobial,
  • astringent and
  • anti-inflammatory effect due to the presence of phenolic glycoside arbutin in the plant, as well as ursolic acid and phytoncids.

The preparations have:

  • astringent and
  • capillary strengthening properties due to the content of flavonoids, vitamins, ursolic acid and tannins, and also have:
  • demineralizing effect,
  • increase the effectiveness of antibiotics,
  • stimulate phagocytosis and other body defenses,
  • regulate nitrogen metabolism.

Clusterberry leaves are used when:

  • urolithiasis,
  • pyelonephritis,
  • cystitis,
  • prostate and
  • gonorrhea as a diuretic, disinfectant, demineralizing and nitrogen metabolism regulating agent.

Clusterberry leaves as compared with bearberry leaves contain less tannins and practically do not contain methyl arbutin, not always useful for kidney diseases and affecting the mucous membrane of the gastrointestinal tract, which should be considered when prescribing bilberry leaves for patients with renal pathology.

Broth leaves of clusterberry are used:

  • with nephropathy and edema of pregnant women,
  • in diabetes in pregnant women, as an adjuvant
  • with pyelonephritis in pregnant women and in the postpartum period.

Inhalations and aerosols of the bilberry leaf decoction are used in complex therapy for:

  • chronic pneumonia,
  • bronchiectasis,
  • bronchitis.

A decoction of clusterberry leaves as an astringent and anti-inflammatory agent is used for:

  • gastritis,
  • enterocolitis,
  • colitis, accompanied by diarrhea.

A decoction of clusterberry leaves is prescribed in the form of rinses at:

  • angina,
  • stomatitis,
  • periodontal disease,
  • avitaminosis,
  • chronic tonsillitis,
  • gingivitis,
  • ulcerative lesions of the oral cavity.

Clusterberry leaf should not be used for allergies or idiosyncrasies.
With a stomach ulcer or duodenal ulcer.
With gastritis with high acidity.
Children under 12 years old should not use clusterberry leaf.
Caution should be applied to people suffering from low blood pressure.
Also, clusterberry leaf should not be used in acute renal failure.
Clusterberry tea is used to relieve swelling during pregnancy, but it should be used only after consulting a doctor.