Blackberries (Rubus fruticosus)


Blackberries (Rubus fruticosus) are a popular foraging fruit in autumn due to their abundance in hedgerows. They taste good and have many health benefits. Packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants and low in carbs and fat, they’re a good food to eat regularly when in season.



Key nutrients

Blackberries contain many vitamins and minerals. Here’s the main ones:


Vitamin C

Can help: heal wounds; regenerate skin cells; form collagen in bones, connective tissue, and blood vessels; absorb iron; and shorten colds.


Vitamin K

Helps your blood clot and is essential for bone metabolism.

Caution: if you take blood thinners check with your doctor about eating foods high in vitamin K.


Manganese

Helps: manage blood sugar levels; prevent osteoporosis; and reduce epileptic seizures.


Calcium

Helps build strong bones.


Antioxidants

Help: reduces inflammation and the effects of aging; protect against heart disease; and support brain health.

Topical Blackberry extract has been shown to heal cold sores due the antiviral properties of the antioxidants

Fiber

Can help: manage blood sugar levels; promote regular bowel movements; and reduce cholesterol.



Use in Herbal Medicine

Internally

The leaves, roots and root bark are high in tannins which are astringent. Traditionally, herbalist used these parts to treat diahorrea, dysentery and gastroenteritis, bleeding, vaginal discharge, mouth ulcers, and catarrh.


Externally

the leaves were used to treat bites and stings, injuries, wounds, rashes, fungal infections and haemorrhoids.

The anti inflammatory components in the leaves made it a useful herb for treating cystitis, gout, coughs, gum disease, and sore throats. In addition, a 2013 study found blackberries beneficial to oral health due to the antibacterial and anti inflammatory effects of the berry.



Recipes

Julia’s Blackberry Smoothie

Combine a handful of blackberries with one banana, a table spoon of non-dairy yoghurt, ¼ cup of oats, a handful of spinach leaves, 1 chopped date, and a glass of non-diary milk. Whizz and enjoy.


Blackberry Vinegar

Fill a sterilised jar with washed and dried blackberries. Cover with apple cider vinegar and leave to infuse in a dark cool place for about 10 days. Then strain the fruit out and pour the liquid into a sterilised bottle.

Use for dressings or take a spoonful in warm water to help ease cold symptoms.

Other ideas for using blackberries

Find some unusual ways of using blackberries in savoury dishes here.


Over to you

Happy foraging and cooking. I’d love to you to share your blackberry recipe.


Always seek qualified Medical Herbalists before taking herbs and check with your doctor for any interactions with current medication.


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