Viburnum is a perennial shrub reaching a height of 4 meters. The plant was named so for the bright color of its berries, similar to the color of hot iron. The Latin name comes from the word vimen, that is, vine or twig.
- Calories and nutritional values
- Benefit: 5 properties
- Harm and contraindications
- How to store and eat viburnum
- Expert commentary
Calorie content and nutritional properties of viburnum
The berries have a bitter taste, but after the first frost they become sweeter.
Viburnum contains the most important vitamins A, C, E, P, K, as well as magnesium, zinc, iron and essential oils. It is an excellent source of antioxidants. The berries are used to treat coughs, colds, rheumatic pain, ulcers, stomach and kidney problems (2). Viburnum relieves pain, supports immunity and reduces blood pressure, it is good for women’s health and is considered a natural antibiotic.
Viburnum is harvested at the first frost, when the berries become sweet.
“To achieve its healing properties, you need to consume viburnum no more than 4-5 tbsp. l. berries a day, both fresh and in ready-made dishes,” comments nutritionist Alexandra Razarenova. — If you like hot drinks, you can make tea, but you should not drink more than four cups a day. And it is important to remember that with this method of preparation the amount vitamin C in the product will be reduced.”
Interesting fact. There is a legend that once upon a time, viburnum berries were sweeter than raspberries. One day a village girl fell in love with a proud, handsome blacksmith. He walked through the forest, but did not pay attention to her. Then the girl decided to set fire to the place where the guy often visited. When the blacksmith came to his beloved forest, he saw only scorched earth, a viburnum bush and a tear-stained girl. Only now, along with the forest, its beauty also burned down. Since then, the berries have been bitter, like tears of unrequited love. There is a sign that a bouquet of viburnum, applied to the heart, heals love wounds.
Health benefits of viburnum: 5 properties
Bright red berries and other parts of the bush have many scientifically proven beneficial qualities, so viburnum has long been used as an adjuvant for vitaminization and the treatment of various diseases.
1. Relieves pain
The bark of the shrub is used in herbal medicine as an antispasmodic agent. (3). Some studies show that fruit and bark extracts help relax muscles and dilate blood vessels, which helps relieve pain.
2. Natural antibiotic
Doctors confirm the antimicrobial potential of berries, especially against gram-positive bacteria (4), (5). Of course, you should not replace antibiotics prescribed by your doctor with viburnum, but its use has a positive effect on health, especially during the period of the spread of respiratory infections.
3. Supports immunity
Photochemical analysis of leaves and young branches of the Viburnum davidii shrub showed the presence of beneficial flavonoids (6). These substances help strengthen the immune system, increasing the body’s resistance to viruses and bacteria, and also improve the condition of blood vessels.
4. Good for women’s health
Some studies have confirmed the benefits of viburnum for premenstrual syndrome (7). There have been no rigorous clinical trials, but adherents of herbal medicine drink tea made from berries and bark to relieve pain.
5. Reduces blood pressure
Viburnum has 70% more vitamin C than in lemon (8). This component is involved in many body processes, including helping control blood pressure. According to Rosstat, 10–20% of Russians do not receive enough of it in their diet (9). When consuming viburnum, smooth muscles relax and blood vessels dilate, which is why in folk medicine it is often used for hypertension.
Consumption of viburnum has a positive effect on health, especially during the spread of respiratory infections
Harm of viburnum and contraindications
Viburnum has a whole range of beneficial properties; it contains many vitamins and micro-elements. These are vitamins C, A, E, iron, tannins, pectin. Moreover, you can use not only the berries themselves, but also leaves, flowers, and tree bark. All this will enrich the diet with useful substances and benefit health.
“People with peptic ulcers, high acidity, gout, arthritis, hypotension, thrombophlebitis, kidney disease, allergic reactions and individual intolerance should avoid eating viburnum berries,” warns Alexandra Razarenova. “The same as for pregnant women and young mothers during breastfeeding.”
How to store and eat viburnum
Viburnum is eaten frozen, dried, squeezed, boiled. Alcoholic drinks and tea are prepared on its basis. The berries can be eaten fresh, made into jam, or added to baked goods. They are stored without refrigeration. To do this, frozen viburnum is collected and tied in bunches, and then hung on a thread in the attic, pantry, basement or on a glazed balcony. You can store viburnum in the kitchen, but in warm conditions the berries will lose moisture and shrivel. As an option, put the bunches in a paper bag and leave them in the refrigerator in the fruit and vegetable area, and leave the berries torn from the branches in the freezer. They need to be thawed at room temperature before use.
Additional ways to store viburnum: rub it with sugar and put it in jars up to 1 liter or dry it in the oven at 60–70 degrees.
To preserve the beneficial properties of viburnum as much as possible, it is best to store it by minimizing exposure to light, oxygen and away from heat sources. To freeze the berries, you need to separate them from the bunch along with the stalks – this way the juice will not leak out. The fruits can be placed in bags or plastic containers. It is better to wash the berries before eating. Dried viburnum will be somewhat inferior to freezing in terms of beneficial properties.
The best time to collect viburnum to prepare it for the winter is late autumn, after the first frost. Then the fruits lose their inherent bitterness, becoming sweeter. The method of preparing viburnum with sugar will also preserve the beneficial properties of the berries, but in order to maximize the shelf life, it is necessary to mix viburnum and sugar in a 1:2 ratio. This is already a dessert that I would not recommend to people with carbohydrate metabolism disorders, diabetes, intestinal diseases and those who are watching their weight.
Viburnum has always been famous for its healing properties. It protects the immune system thanks to its high content of vitamin C and antioxidants. During colds, it helps support the immune system. You can introduce tasty and healthy viburnum-based dishes into your diet: compotes, fruit drinks, jelly, mousses, and also as an addition to salads. Of course, if you have no contraindications, it is worth consulting with a therapist in advance.