Blackberries have provided food for man since the ancient times, and mention of the herb is found in the works of Hippocrtaes. A rambling thorny shrub with woody stems and serrated leaves, it not only had a reputation of a valuable medicinal plant, it was also used as a charm against a number of illnesses. Blackberry spreads easily on its own, and needs moist well-drained soil and plenty of shade. The roots live a long time, throwing up canes that become productive only in the second year of their lives. The Blackberry is a creeping bush that grows easily in the dry and sandy soil of Europe, Australia and Midwestern United States. The juicy berries are reddish to almost black in color.
The Blackberry plant is an amazing herb because almost every part of the plant contains something good. The leaves and roots of the plant are rich in flavonoids and tannins. The roots contain a substance called villosin and the fruits are rich in Vitamin C. The fruits also contain Vitamin A, Malic acids, isocitric acids, sugars, albumin, pectin, quercertin and cyanidin. The leaves are harvested just before the fruits begin to appear. The roots, leaves and bark can be dried and used later on. The berries can be used fresh or dried.
The fruits of the plant are beneficial to the liver and kidney. It is an excellent diuretic. It also regulates the flow of blood during menstrual cycles by limiting the flow of excessive blood, and is also used to treat anemia. In Europe and North America, the Blackberry plant has been used as a long-standing home remedy for bowel disorders like diarrhea, dysentery, piles and cystitis. It is also used as a remedy for hemorrhoids and helps loosen phlegm in the body.
Blackberry for Health Treatments
The main chemicals present in Blackberry are gallic acid and tannin. For medicinal uses, blackberries are picked and dried for use. Tea is made by simmering the leaves for about five minutes and cordials are used to fight flu and colds. The shoots of the plant boiled into a tea is said to be effective against mouth infections and sores.
The leaves, roots and bark of the plant as a home remedy for throat infection, laryngitis, pharyngitis, tonsillitis, mouth and gum problems. The young shoot is supposed to tighten loose teeth. Blackberry was considered to be so effective against infections that the root decoction was once used to fight whooping cough. It was even believed to be effective against appendicitis. The flowers and fruits were once thought to be effective against venomous bites and poison. The leaves were once used to soothe burns and scalds.
The leaves of the Blackberry plant are also used as a skin tonic to freshen up winter-weary skin. It is also added to bath water.
The blackberry is also famed for its magical uses. According to folklore, a bush of blackberry forming a natural arch is a great help for magical healing. Crawling through this arch backwards and forwards is supposed to treat boils, blackheads, rheumatism and even whooping cough. The leaves, berries and fruits are supposed to exude a protective influence on those that grow it.
Blackberry is generally considered to be a gentle astringent, hence the cleansing properties attached to it. But large doses and continuous use of the herb may lead to stomach irritation, nausea, vomiting and in extreme cases, even cancer.