Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More Than Just Berries

Astringent red raspberry and blackberry leaves are prime candidates for harvesting right now. They are bright green and full of vitality. The weather and insects have not yet degraded their lush quality.

How to tell them apart.

Red raspberry leaves have a matt finish and grow on "furry" looking stems. Red raspberry leaves are often a lighter shade of green than blackberry leaves.
Red Raspberry Leaf by jessicasays on Flickr

Blackberry leaves have a shiny finish and grow on darker stems with bigger thorns.
Blackberry Leaf by photographphil on Flickr

Why Harvest Them?

Red Raspberry leaves contain beneficial flavonoids (quercetin glycosides), minerals (calcium, magnesium, manganese and potassium) and tannins (gallotannin). As a tea, it is a toning tonic for the digestive system, it is useful in the stomach complaints of children and it is definitely a very good/quick remedy for diarrhea... (read more). It also contains fragrine, an alkaloid which gives tone to the muscles of the pelvic region, including the uterus itself....(read more).

Blackberry root and leaves contain tannin and act as an astringent and tonic, proving a valuable remedy for dysentery and diarrhoea, etc. The root is the more astringent but I find that chewing on a leaf provides almost instant relief in a pinch. Half a teacupful of leaf infusion should be taken every hour or two for diarrhoea...(read more).

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