Most commonly known for being made into jams and jellies, the berries, leaves, and root bark of the blackberry plant are used to provide many medicinal effects. The Ancient Greeks and Europeans used blackberry to treat gout. In Asian countries, the unripe berries were used to treat kidney problems. The leaves have been used in the Middle East as a remedy for bleeding gums for at least two thousand years. Native Americans have used blackberry root tea to cure dysentery.
The blackberry plant is a thorny perennial shrub or vine. It is native to eastern North America. This shrub is found in dry thickets, clearings, woodland margins, fence rows, open meadows, roadsides, and in waste places. Blackberry flowers blooming in the wild is a beautiful site, as the flowers are white, with five petals. These flowers bloom in April and May. Blackberry plants have biennial stems which fruit in the second year and then die. The blackberry vine is thorny, growing in groups or thickets. These vines can grow up to 15 feet or more in length, and thickets can go on for hundreds of square acres in area. Thickets die off after 2 to 3 years.
The blackberry is both edible and medicinal. The leaf is more commonly used as a medicinal herb; the root also has great value. Young edible shoots of the blackberry plant are harvested in the spring, and then peeled, and used in salads. The actual blackberry can be eaten raw or made into a jelly or jam. The root-bark and the leaves provide astringent, depurative, diuretic, tonic, and vulnerary effects and make an excellent alternative medicine for many conditions. Among these are dysentery, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, and cystitis.
The root of the blackberry plant has the ability to work as an astringent, as it constricts blood vessel and reduces minor bleeding. Blackberries have also been used to treat diarrhea and as a diuretic. When made into a tea, blackberries have the ability to help dry up sinus drainage. By using unripe berries and creating an infusion, vomiting and loose bowels can be controlled. External uses for blackberry also include gargles and eyewashes. The root is the most astringent part. It can be used orally to treat sore throats, mouth ulcers, and gum inflammations. By making a decoction with the leaves, a gargle to treat thrush can be made, as well as a valuable general mouthwash. Blackberry possesses a large amount of tannins, which give blackberry roots and leaves an astringent effect. This effect is useful for treating diarrhea and helpful in soothing sore throats. Medicinal syrup can be made from Blackberry, which provides a great cough remedy as it combines the fruit and root bark in honey.
The blackberry provides alterative, astringent, bitter, febrifuge, and hemostatic properties. The primary nutrients provided by the blackberry include calcium, iron, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, and vitamins A and C. Primarily, blackberry provides beneficial effects in treating bleeding, cholera, congestion, diarrhea in children, dysentery, and vomiting.
Additionally, blackberry can be extremely helpful in dealing with anemia, boils, fevers, genital irritations, bleeding of the gums, excessive menstruation, mouth irritations, and weak peristalsis. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by blackberry, please contact a representative at your local or internet health food store with questions.
About the Author
More information on blackberry is available at VitaNet ®, LLC Health Food Store. http://vitanetonline.com/
By Darrell Miller