Blackberries (brambles) are a ubiquitous plant, found in any area fork and spade neglect. For many garderners it’s a pest, sending out thorny tendrils from the tiniest shred of root time and again, but there’s another side to blackberries we might overlook. While we have all tried the delicious bramble fruits, either raw or in preserves and sauces, how many of us have tried using its leaves as a natural remedy?
Blackberry leaves can be chewed fresh (though watch out for thorns which may lurk on their underside). They are high in tannins and Vitamin C, boosting immunity and blancing the body’s ph. Chewing fresh leaves can help with canker sores and inflamed gums. They can also be made into a poultice for rashes and and to promote skin healing.
As a tea made with dried, fermented leaves, this plant can help with a number of ailments.
For minor sore throat pain
Blackberry leaf tea is suitable as a gargle and mouthwash for inflammation of the mouth and throat when you have a cold. When you first notice a sore throat, you can keep it from worsening by gargling with blackberry leaf tea right away. Drink 2-3 cups of the tea daily to supplement the effects.
For gastrointestinal flu with diarrhea and cramping, a decoction of blackberry leaf tea can prove to be very effective. Drink 2-3 small cups sweetened with a little honey or stevia over the course of a day. The astringent tannins in the leaves will reduce both the intestinal inflammation and the excess flow of secretions. You can also add peppermint tea to increase this effect.
For skin rashes
To treat inflamed or oozing rashes, make a decoction by gently boiling the blackberry leaves. Soak a cotton cloth in the liquid. Wring out the cloth and place it on the affected area; cover with plastic wrap. Leave on for 30 min. Repeat several times a day.
Use the tea as a mouthwash to improve the condition of the mucus lining of the mouth and to soothe scratches, mouth ulcers and sores.
Antioxidants protect us against free radicals, which can damage cells and may be a factor in heart disease, cancer and other health problems. A study published in the February 2000 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that blackberry leaves had higher oxygen radical absorbance capacity than the fruit.