Since ancient times, the leaves of the blackberry plant have been used curatively, especially throughout Europe and Asia. For example, two thousand years ago, the roman army doctor Galenos had his soldiers chew blackberry leaves to strengthen gums and build up physical resistance; today, we know it was the vitamin C and tannins in the leaves that he was counting on to boost immunity and heal wounds. Blackberry leaves have high levels of tannins and vitamin C, and they are made into a tea that has proved beneficial as a remedy for diarrhea, a gargle for throat inflammations and a compress for wounds and rashes. The tea also helps regulate both heavy and light menstrual flow and is a gastrointestinal soother. It's a tea you can drink daily-it has no side effects. Sweeten its bitter taste with honey, or mix the leaves with other herbs for healing tea blends.
For a mild tea, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 tsp. of dried leaves. Cover and let steep for 10 min.; strain. For a greater medicinal effect, make a decoction; Gently boil a handful of dried blackberry leaves in 1 qt. of water until about half of the water has boiled off. Drink 2-3 small cups of the tea daily.
Therapeutic Effect : Because of its acidity and high tannin content, blackberry leaf tea is useful for alleviating skin rashes, mouth or throat inflammations and diarrhea. In addition, the leaves vitamin C strengthens the immune system and promotes tissue repair.
Flavor from fermentation
Fermenting the blackberry leaves enhances their flavor and therapeutic effect. To ferment, crush slightly wilted blackberry leaves with a rolling pin. Wrap the leaves in a damp cloth and hang them in a warm place. After two or three days, the leaves will exude a rose like scent. At this point, remove the leaves from the cloth; let them dry before using.
Increasing the tea's medicinal value
Boiling down the leaves to make a decoction releases many more tannins than when the tea is made by infusion. This means that boiling the blackberry leaves produces a much more medicinally effective tea. Drink it to combat diarrhea, decrease heavy menstrual flow and treat inflammations of the mouth and throat.
First aid : Chewing fresh blackberry leaves can help canker sores and inflamed gums. The action releases the astringent tannins, which heal and soothe, and vitamin c, which is essential for gum health.
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 help keep it from worsening by gargling with blackberry leaf tea right away. To supplement the effect, drink 2-3 cups of the tea daily.
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 over the course of a day. The astringent tannins in the leaves will reduce both the intestinal inflammation and the excess flow of secretions. For an even more effective tea, blend 2 oz. of blackberry leaves with 1 oz. of peppermint leaves.
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.
Healing Tea Mixtures
For colds & flu
1 oz. blackberry leaves
1 oz. of elder flowers
1 oz. of linden flowers
1 oz. of peppermint leaves
Prepare this tea and drink daily as a preventive measure during the cold and flu season. If you do get sick, add honey to the tea, drink it very hot and lie in bed; covered, to sweat.
For intestinal complaints
1 oz. blackberry leaves
1 oz. raspberry leaves
1 oz. chamomile flowers
1 oz. peppermint leaves
Prepare this tea to combat intestinal gas and mild diarrhea. This tea warms the stomach and soothes intestinal inflammation.
1 ½ oz. blackberry leaves
1 oz. white-willow bark
1 oz. nettle leaves
1 oz. horsetail leaves
Prepare this tea to ease rheumatism pains by relieving inflammation of the tissues. Drink 2 cups per day for 1-2 weeks. Reduce your intake as symptoms decrease.