Although the most recognizable use of blackberries is for jams and jellies, this most common of berry plants has other applications as well. At one time prized for their astringent properties, blackberries have since been replaced by other more synthetic treatment choices. With a resurgence of interest in natural remedies, blackberries are being reconsidered for their use as a healing herb. The root, leaves and fruit can all be used to make medicinal preparations.
The root of the blackberry plant contains high quantities of tannins. Tannins produce an astringent effect, particularly on the mucous membranes of the digestive tract. Consequently, blackberry root tea or tincture can be used for treating dysentery, diarrhea, hemorrhoids and other intestinal disorders. Some gastrointestinal disorders are serious and may require medical attention. If you suffer from a serious gastrointestinal condition, consult with your physician prior to using any herbal remedy.
A preparation made from blackberry root, leaves and ripe berries can be used as a gargle to treat sore throats, inflamed gums and mouth ulcers. It can also assist in controlling occurrences of thrush, a mild yeast infection that can occur in the mouth, particularly in young children.
The astringent properties of blackberries can also be applied to treating wounds. Tannins in blackberries can help constrict blood vessels. A poultice or dressing made from a preparation of blackberries can be applied to cuts and scrapes to help control minor bleeding.
Blackberry fruit is high in antioxidants, primarily due to its anthocyanin content. Anthocyanins are the type of bioflavonoid that is also found in teas, wines, nuts, cocoa and other fruits. These can help control the activity of damaging free radical chemicals within the body. Anthocyanins may also help address a host of other conditions, including improving vision, reducing hypertension, enhancing liver function, increasing memory and mental acuity.