Blackberry – Health Benefits, Uses, Research, Preparation, Precautions
Blackberry is a thorny bush that produces dark purple berries of the same name. A member of the rose family, there are many species of blackberry which may be used interchangeably. Despite the blackberry plant’s numerous thorns, I can think of few finer summer activities than gathering the berries for breakfast.
This article on blackberry was written for Insights-on-Health.com by Patricia Bratianu RN PhD RH-AHG. Find out more about her at the end of this article.
Black raspberry, (rubus species)
Blackberries serve as a great reminder of the ancient naturopathic principle to use our food as medicine. The fresh berries are delicious and an outstanding source of nutrients.
I like to brew the leaves into a tasty herbal tea which I use for healing and beverage purposes. The roots are powerful medicine. If gathering roots, use young ones as old woody roots are difficult to gather. If you are a gardener in a temperate or subtropical climate, you may want to grow blackberries for food and medicine.
Traditional and Modern Uses of Blackberry
Blackberries are a fantastic source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids, including rutin. These compounds strengthen blood vessels. Hemorrhoids and varicose veins may be prevented by consuming foods rich in rutin, vitamin C and other flavonoids. Dark colored fruits, such as blackberries, contain the most concentrated amounts of these valuable compounds. Include plenty of these fruits in your diet. Frozen blackberries may be purchased, if fresh ones are unavailable. Try making smoothies with the berries for a low-calorie, nutrient-rich tasty treat each day. Include at least one cup of berries in your daily diet for maximum benefits.
Blackberry is an interesting medicinal plant as it is a remedy for both constipation and diarrhea. The berries are loaded with fiber which relieves constipation. The roots, and to a lesser degree, the leaves, contain tannins. Tannins have an astringent action which helps to tone intestinal mucosa and stop diarrhea. The astringent actions of blackberry reduce irritation and inflammation. They create a soothing barrier on the surface of irritated tissues.
A root tincture is stronger than a leaf tea, so I prefer to use the tea for children and for adults with mild diarrhea. If diarrhea is severe, then I reach for the tincture.
Internationally renowned herbalist Rosemary Gladstar records that blackberry root tincture is her favored remedy for travelers’ diarrhea. The easy-to-carry tincture is an excellent addition to a first aid kit for hikers and travelers who are visiting or working in areas that have a questionable water supply.
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