The fruit is used to make cordials and wines, and a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage or tea. Tender young sprouts and twigs are used in soups and stews. Young edible shoots are harvested in the spring, peeled and used in salads. The fruit is excellent, edible raw or made into jelly or jam.
Blackberry is edible and medicinal. Used extensively by the Native American tribes, it had many other surprising uses. the leaf is more commonly used as a medicinal herb, but the root also has medicinal value. The root-bark and the leaves are astringent, depurative, diuretic, tonic and vulnerary. They make an excellent alternative medicine for dysentery, diarrhoea, haemorrhoids, cystitis, the root is the more astringent. Externally, they are used to treat sore throats, mouth ulcers and gum inflammations. A decoction of the leaves is useful as a gargle in treating thrush and also makes a good general mouthwash. The presence of large amounts of tannins give blackberry roots and leaves an astringent effect that is useful for treating diarrhea. These same constituents are also helpful for soothing sore throats, a medicinal syrup is also made using the fruit and root bark in honey for cough.
The roots are antihaemorrhoidal, antirheumatic, astringent,
stimulant and tonic. An infusion can be used in the treatment
of stomach complaints, diarrhoea, piles, coughs and colds, tuberculosis
and rheumatism. The infusion has also been used by women threatened
with a miscarriage. The root can be chewed to treat a coated tongue.
An infusion of the root has been used as a wash for sore eyes.
The leaves are astringent. An infusion can be used in the treatment
of diarrhoea. An infusion of the bark has been used in the treatment
of urinary problems. A decoction of the stems has been used as
A good source of Vitamin C, blackberries are useful as an antiscorbutic (helps prevent scurvy).
Recipe; Medicinal herb tea: To 1 ounce of the dried leaves and root bark, add 1 pint of boiling water, and steep 10 min., drink a tea cup at a time.
Plants have biennial stems, they produce a number of new stems from the perennial rootstock each year, these stems fruit in their second year and then die. Blackberry canes are long and very thorny, growing in groups or thickets. Canes branch and can grow up to 15 feet or more in length and thickets can extend to hundreds of square acres in an area. Canes die off after 2 to 3 years but are usually retained in the thickets making them largely impenetrable. Leaves are light green, serrate and palmate with 3 to five leaflets or fingers, the main vein on the back of each leaflet has thorns. The flowers are white, five petaled and bloom in spring/summer. Fruit is usually ripe in late summer. Gather edible fruit when ripe, can be frozen or canned for later use. Gather leaves and roots of young (first year) cane, dry for later herb use.