We had our intern, Crystal, come out today. We harvested wild blackberry root to use as medicine. She learned how to harvest, how to use it, and how to give back to the soil afterward. Here is a photo of her proudly holding up some roots she helped to dig up.
Wild Blackberry, Rubus fruticosus or any brambleberry in the Rubus spp Rosaceae species, are wonderful medicinal plants. For this article, we will speak specifically of R. fruticosus. Apart from the delicious berries being very high in antioxidants - which are known to destroy free radicals, the leaves, stems, and roots are useable for medicine. The plant is an astringent therefor used for upset tummies acting as an antidiarrheal. It is also used as an antimicrobial, may help reduce fever, fight off colds and viruses, reduce inflammation, and all parts of the plant can be made into a tincture for a natural face cleanser and topical wound care. The roots, in particular, are wonderful at regulates menses. Native Americans use R. fruticosus to treat gout and other ailments. There are so many medicinal uses for it and given how wildly easy they grow, this makes it an excellent sustainable natural medicine.
The leaves of the plant are mild and are a great way to start if you are new to the plant. The roots are pretty potent and should only be used internally for short periods of time, no more than a few days. They may be used externally for wound care and face wash tinctures or as a mouth rinse for mouth ulcers or damaged gums. You should also avoid using the roots if you are suffering from constipation. Please do your research before ingesting any medicinal herbs as there are several precautions and interactions you should learn about.
Be mindful when harvesting the plants. The stems have very sharp prickles that can tear through clothing with ease. A good thick pair of gloves are needed. Take your time and trim from the tips of the plant, workable pieces and then work your way down. Be sure not to leave any canes behind if you do not want the plants to spread. They can spread very rapidly, taking over an area with ease. Dropped canes left behind can root and create a whole new plant so clean up is imperative. Once you have gotten the prickly canes cut down it is then easy to harvest the roots. The roots tend to be just slightly below the surface. Instead of shooting their roots deep they send them out wide so follow the roots along gently, pulling them up as you go.
It is so rewarding to harvest your own medicine, knowing fully where they came from. Nature provides what we need. We just need to open our eyes and hearts to receive.
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