Blackberry (Rubus fructicosus L, Rubus villosus L)
Rosaceae Rose family
Common names: Dewberry, European blackberry
Parts used and where grown: Blackberry leaf is more commonly used, but blackberry root also has medicinal value. Blackberries grow in wet areas across the United States and Europe. There are several species of blackberry, some of which are native to the Americas and others that are native to Europe. Rubus fructicosus is the most common European species, and Rubus canadensis is a common North American species.
In what conditions might blackberry be supportive?
¥ common cold/sore throat
Parts Usually Used
Roots, leaves, fruit
Medicinal Properties: Astringent (leaves and roots), hemostatic, nutritive, refrigerant, tonic
Historical or traditional use: Since ancient Greek physicians prescribed blackberry for gout, the leaves, roots, and even berries have been employed as herbal medicines.1 The most common uses were for treating diarrhea, sore throats, and wounds. These are similar to the uses of its close cousin, the raspberry (Rubus idaeus), and a somewhat more distant relative, the blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum).
Biochemical Information: Isocitric, and malic acids; sugars, pectin, monoglycoside of cyanidin, tannin (high in root bark and leaves), iron, carbohydrates, sodium, magnesium, and vitamin A and C
Active constituents: The presence of large amounts of tannins give blackberry roots and leaves an astringent effect that is useful for treating diarrhea.2 These same constituents are also helpful for soothing sore throats.
Uses: Blackberry leaves and roots are a long-standing home remedy for cholera, anemia, regulates menses, diarrhea and dysentery. Prolonged use of the tea is also beneficial for enteritis, chronic appendicitis, stomach upset, and leukorrhea. It is said to have expectorant properties as well. A tea made from the dried root can be used for dropsy. The chewing of the leaves for bleeding gums goes back to the time of Christ. The fruit and juice are taken for anemia. A standard infusion is made, which can also be applied externally as a lotion, reported to cure psoriasis and scaly conditions of the skin.
Blackberries also make wine, brandy; and flavor liqueurs and cordials.
How much should I take? Blackberry tea is prepared by adding 10&endash;15 ml of leaves or powdered root to 250 ml of boiling water and allowing it to steep for ten to fifteen minutes. Three or more cups per day should be drunk. Use 3&endash;4 ml of tincture three times each day or more if there is an acute problem.
Are there any side effects or interactions? Tannins can cause nausea and even vomiting in people with sensitive stomachs. Individuals with chronic gastrointestinal problems might be particularly at risk for such reactions.
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1. Castleman M. The Healing Herbs. New York: Bantam Books, 1991, 106&endash;10. 2. Tyler V. Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals. New York: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 1994, 53.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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Disclaimer: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.