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Blackberry as an Herb

Blackberry as an herb

In Australia, the Blackberry grows more luxuriantly than in any other part of the world, though it is common everywhere.

High in Antioxidants. Blackberries rank even higher than blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries on the antioxidant scale. In fact, their concentrated antioxidant content is exceeded only by dark chocolate and culinary herbs and spices.

This distinction makes blackberries anti-aging superstars that can enhance the health of our brains, arteries, and more. The fruit also contains malic and citric acids, pectin and albumen.

Blackberry as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

A syrup made from the root of the Blackberry contains much tannin and is used to treat diarrhea and upset stomach (good for treating children). An infusion of the leaves is good for treating a sore throat, as are the dried, powdered berries. The root is the more astringent.

If desiccated in a moderately hot oven and then reduced to a powder, it is a reliable remedy for dysentery.

The root-bark, as used medicinally, should appear in thin tough, flexible bands, odor-free, strongly astringent and somewhat bitter. It should be peeled off the root and dried by artificial heat or in strong sun.

One ounce, boiled in 1-1/2 pint water or milk down to a pint, makes a good decoction. Half a teacupful should be taken every hour or two for diarrhea.

One ounce of the bruised root, likewise boiled in water, may also be used, the dose being larger, however. The same decoction is said to be useful against whooping-cough in the spasmodic stage.

The leaves are also employed for the same purpose. One ounce of the dried leaves, infused in one pint of boiling water, and the infusion taken cold, a teacupful at a time, works as a remedy for dysentery, etc.

Southern Appalachian Folk Medicine

In Southern Appalachian, practitioners made blackberry root or bark into tea for diarrhea (Cavender 2003). Late 18th and 19th century Southern folk practitioners used blackberry to treat old sores, kidney, stomach problems, and other ailments (Moss 1999). Chevallier (2000) reported that blackberry is an effective diuretic. Because it has astringent properties, blackberry leaves are somewhat useful for diarrhea (Fleming 2000).

A noted hair-dye has been made by boiling the leaves in strong lye, which gives the hair a permanent soft black color.

Blackberries with leaves

Blackberry jelly was an English folk remedy for swelling of the limbs (especially those associated with heart problems). The jelly was added to apple cider vinegar and used as a compress. Blackberry glycerite was also used as a compress on swollen joints.

An old remedy for cholera was to combine 2 quarts of blackberry juice with 1 pound of sugar, 1/2 ounce nutmeg, 1/2 ounce allspice, and boil together, then allowed to stand until cold; 1/4 pint of brandy was added; 1 teaspoon up to 2 or 3 wine glass fulls were taken two or three times daily.

There is also a popular country notion that the young shoots, eaten as a salad, will fasten loose teeth.

Culinary Uses of Blackberry

There are a myraid of modern ways to use blackberries in the kitchen! Pies, jams, torts, jellies, pastries, syrups, cordials, wine, etc. Here are a few quick tips to getting more blackberries into your diet:

  • Breakfast: Serve thawed berries over whole grain cereals, granola, or yogurt, and blend with kefir and other ingredients for delicious fruit smoothies.
  • Cooking: Thawed, pureed berries make great toppings for fish, meats, or poultry, and will serve as the basis of delightful sauces.
  • Desserts: Perfect for Pie or Tart recipes calling for frozen berries, or poured over ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Glass of wine

Blackberry wine is made by crushing the fruit and adding one quart of boiling water to each gallon of the fruit, allowing to stand for 24 hours, stirring occasionally, and then straining off the liquid. Two pounds of white sugar are then added to every gallon, and it is kept in a tightly corked cask until the following October. (This makes a trustworthy astringent for loose bowels.)

Wine Tip: Collect 1 gallon of tender green shoots in May or early June (or when available in your area); boil 1 hour in 1 gallon of water to which 4 pounds brown sugar have been added; strain off liquid and allow to ferment; bottle and allow to age 1 year.

A delicious cordial is made from pressing out the juice from the ripe Blackberries, adding 2 pounds of sugar to each quart and 1/2 ounce of nutmegs and cloves. Boil all together for a short time, allow to get cold and then add a little brandy.

  • Dried leaves of blackberries are used as part of herbal tea blends.
  • Blackberries can be eaten fresh or cooked.
  • The berries were often infused in brandy and rum by early settlers of North America.
  • Although the fresh was preferred, Native Americans dried blackberries and added the powdered fruit to water which was sweetened with maple syrup and drank as a beverage called uhiagei.

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