Blackberries grow in wet areas across the United States and Europe. Several species of blackberry exist: Rubus fructicosus is the most common European species and Rubus canadensis is a common North American species. While the leaves are used most frequently for medicinal preparations, the root is sometimes used as well.
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For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.
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Common Cold and Sore Throat
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Blackberry leaves contain astringent tannins that are helpful for soothing sore throats.
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Blackberry is an astringent herb traditionally used to treat diarrhea.
Astringent herbs traditionally used for diarrhea include blackberry leaves, blackberry root bark, blueberry leaves, and red raspberry leaves.3 Raspberry leaves are high in tannins and, like blackberry, may relieve acute diarrhea. A close cousin of the blueberry, bilberry, has been used traditionally in Germany for adults and children with diarrhea.4 Only dried berries or juice should be used—fresh berries may worsen diarrhea.
Cranesbill has been used by several of the indigenous tribes of North America to treat diarrhea. The tannins in cranesbill likely account for the anti-diarrheal activity5—although there has been little scientific research to clarify cranesbill’s constituents and actions.
Since ancient Greek physicians prescribed blackberry for gout, the leaves, roots, and even berries have been used 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 red raspberry (Rubus idaeus), and a somewhat more distant relative, the blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum).
The German Commission E monograph recommends 4.5 grams of blackberry leaf per day.7 Blackberry tea is prepared by adding 1.5 grams of leaves or powdered root to 250 ml of boiling water and allowing it to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Three cups per day should be drunk. Alternatively, one may use 3–4 ml of tincture three times each day.
Tannins can cause nausea and even vomiting in people with sensitive stomachs. People with chronic gastrointestinal problems might be particularly at risk for such reactions. Taking blackberry leaf or root preparations with food may reduce risk of gastrointestinal problems in some people.
1. Castleman M. The Healing Herbs. New York: Bantam Books, 1991, 106-10.
2. Schilcher H. Phytotherapy in Paediatrics. Stuttgart, Germany: Medpharm Scientific Publishers, 1997, 126-7.
3. Tyler VE. Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals. New York: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 1994, 51-4.
4. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenburg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum and Beaconsfield, UK: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1988, 101-2.
5. Duke JA. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Plants. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1985, 209.
6. Tyler V. Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals. New York: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 1994, 53.
7. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 91.
Last Review: 07-22-2014
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