A gallery of edible and useful wild plants, in Wellington and the Wairarapa (NZ)
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus)
The berries are full of antioxidants, and the leaves contain high levels of vitamin C and tannins.
Whren harvesting blackberry leaves, pick only very new ones. If they're still curled up, that's fine. Use them to make a nice, very astringent medicinal tea. (A time-honoured remedy for upset tummies - which, without going into gory details, seems to me to work.)
If using the leaves fresh, chop them up quite finely to help them release their active constituents.
Dried leaves may be more effective. Dry them flat or hang the whole stems upside down in a dry place with good airflow. You might want to hang them within a paper bag to protect them. Once dry, take off the leaves and store them whole. Break them up just before use.
To make the tea, pour a cup of just boiled water over a big tablespoonful of blackberry leaves. Cover and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Strain and sip. (Add honey if you want.)
For someone who doesn't like the tea, you could add cordial or juice concentrate, or whizz the leaves up in a smoothie.
When giving medicinal herbs to children, herbalists often use Clark's rule.