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Parts Used & Where Grown
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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3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
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1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:
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.
Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)
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).
How It Works
How It Works
How to Use It
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.
Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds
Interactions with Medicines
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: 06-08-2015
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2017.
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