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Cranberries: a Superfood

Cranberries are commonly associated with Thanksgiving but in early America they played a varied role. Besides the berries serving as food, the plant’s leaves were commonly used for tea or as a tobacco substitute. Native Americans also combined cranberries with dried meat to prepare a special “energy bar” called pemmican that could be stored well and during wintertime provided a good source of fat and protein. Cranberries also had medicinal applications. Natives relied on cranberries as laxatives and “blood purifiers.” They were also used to treat child-birth related injuries as well as to reduce fevers and stomach cramps although there is no evidence that any of these actually worked.

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