The name Blackberry (Rubus fruiticous) includes at least 14 closely related species. All of the species are perennial, semi-deciduous, prickly, scrambling, shrubs with stem tips that take root where they contact the ground. They often form tough thickets that can be several feet high. Blackberrys have sharp, brambles or thorns on their stems that grab and tear clothes and skin.
The fruit is not a berry, but instead an aggregate fruit of numerous drupelets. The soft fruit changes colour from green to red to black as it ripens. When they are black all over, it is time to eat them. They can be eaten dried, fresh or right off the vine. Each fruit is a collective, of many juicy segments each with one seed. It is a rich source of antioxidants. It is often made into jelly or jam and occasionally wine. The fruit contains Vitamin C, Vitamin A, niacin, malic and isocitric acids, pectin, sugars, anthocyanins, monoglycoside of cyanidin, and flavonoids (kaempferol, quercitin). Its flavonoids are thought to be anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal and belived to enhance the immune system due to its high content of Vitamin C and bio-flavonoids.
The flowers are white to pinkish, 5-petaled, blossoms provide good nectar, which produce a medium to dark, fruity honey. Flowers and fruit are often on the same plant at the same time. The flowers have both male and female organs and produce seed asexually without fertilisation. The seed is a clone of the mother plant.
The root also contains tannin, is an astringent, and is a blood purifier. It can be used to treat diarrhea and dysentery, but do not over do it. Avoid using more than three times a day. People with sensitive stomachs can experience upset stomach.
Medicinally, the leaf of the Blackberry is most often used. It contains tannins which are chemical compounds that reduce intestinal inflammation, as well as to constrict blood vessels, which inhibits bleeding. Blackberry Leaf is also used as a tonic and a poultice to promote the healing of wounds and insect bites, and as a wash for oily skin. The leaf can be made into a tea to ease a sore throat. The tannin content of Blackberry leafs make it an effective astringent. The leaves can be chewed to treat bleeding gums and mouth sores.
How to make Blackberry Leaf Tea:
*Pick young tender green leaves either before the plant flowers or during flowering.
*Let the leaves dry completely for at least five days.
*Store in an airtight jar, to avoid mold, aerate frequently.
*Use 1 tsp of dried blackberry leaves per cup of water.
*Pour the boiling water over the leaves, cover and allow to infuse for 10 minutes.
*Sweeten with honey.
Nothing in this essay is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Blackberry has not been approved by the Food & Drug Administration for the treatment of any disease.