Strawberry trees exist in interspersed places of the island. A great number of them lie in “koumarodasos” (Strawberry tree forest) in the area of Gerakari among pine trees, stone pine trees and eucalyptus. The area is very beautiful around Christmas due to the color feast of the berries (varying from light yellow to dark red). Its fruits are edible and they are used for the production of exquisite raki. It is an important bee plant due to its flowering period helping beehives make enough reserve to get through winter.
Scientific Name: Arbutus unedo
Kythera Name: Koumaria
Name in other places of Greece: Koumaria, Agriokoumaria, Mavrokoumaria, Glystrokoumaria, Lagomilia
Collection: The plant leaves are collected all year round and its fruits are collected in autumn.
Properties: Strawberry tree is tonic herb. Strawberry tree leaves are diuretic and antiseptic. They are palliative for conditions in urinary tracts (cystitis, pyelonephritis, prostate hypertrophy, blennorrhea urethritis). They are indicated also as a haemostatic agent for conditions like haematuria and uterine hemorrhages. Their fruit is indicated in cases of constipation and aerophagy because it reduces intestines and therefore facilitates the exhaustion of gases. Fruit is also used against staphylococcus on skin abscesses and pimples.
Tonic: Dissolve fruits in biological red wine and boil them for 5 minutes. Let them for a while to cool and then drink it. Raki: Raki that is produced out of berries is of exquisite quality and has great taste and it is one of the best treatments against influenza. Boil some raki with honey and cinnamon for 5 minutes and drink it while it is still hot. It cause strong perspiration and makes the flu go away.