January 24, 2008

Dewberry Fruits Benefits

dewberry, dailyfruits.blogspot.com# Family: Rosaceae # Common name: northern dewberry # Synonyms: R. tetricus, R. tracyi R. urbanianus, R. serenus, R. subuniflorus, R. sailori, R. occultus, R. maltei, R. neonefrens, R. jaysmithii var. angustior, R. longipes, R. frustratus, R. geophilus, R. connixus, R. cordialis, R. dissitiflorus, R. enslenii, R. exemptus, R. bonus, R. camurus, R. clausenii, R. arundelanus, R. arundelanus var. jeckylanus, R. ascendens, R. ashei, R. alacer

Trailing vine which often roots at the nodes, may reach 60 cm (24 in) tall. Twigs green or red, primocanes terete, glabrous and glandless, spines about 3 mm (1/8 in) long, stout and hooked; pith green. Leaves alternate, palmately compound, 3-5 leaflets; leaflets ovate, elliptic to rhombic; floricane leaflets are often smaller than those on the primocanes; glabrous, but may be lightly pubescent beneath; broad to sub-cordate at base; narrow to acute at apex; margins serrate to doubly serrate; petiole and rachis armed, glabrous to thinly pilose. Inflorescence a corymb with few flowers (1-6) on long slender pedicels; flowers 2-3 cm (0.75-1.25 in) in diameter; calyx lobes 5, narrow, pubescent, reflexed; petals 5, white; pistils many, inserted on hypanthium; stamens numerous; flowers appear from May to June. Fruit an aggregation of drupelets, 10-15 mm (0.4-0.6 in) in diameter, globose to short-oblong, black; fruits mature June to August.

Distribution: Oklahoma and Texas, east to Georgia, north to New Brunswick, west to Minnesota and Missouri.

Habitat: open fields, woodlands and forest margins.

Comment: Rubus is a Roman name meaning red; flagellaris refers to the long, thin whip-like appearance of the primocanes.

Field identification: Rubus is a complex genus. Species are difficult to identify due to frequent hybridization and introgression.

Horticulture: several varieties of dewberry are available commercially.

Medinical uses: The Osage prepared a tea using northern dewberry roots to calm stomach irritation.

Food uses: the fruits are large and tasty. They can be eaten raw or used in jams, jellies, and sauces. The leaves were used to make tea and young shoots were peeled and eaten raw.

Wildlife benefits: dewberry fruits are eaten by many species of birds and mammals. (biosurvey.ou.edu)

January 17, 2008

Nutritional Information Of BlackBerries

Why should I eat blackberries? Because blackberries abound in antioxidants. The press has been proclaiming the health benefits of fresh produce for many years. In recent years, much focus has been directed toward berries. The high levels of natural antioxidant compounds found in berries have been found to aid in the prevention of esophageal and colon cancer. Antioxidants are good for you.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are compounds or groups of compounds that neutralize unstable molecules in humans. Antioxidants can be vitamins A, C and E, lycopene, and ellagic acid and anthocyanin pigments, which are responsible for the purpleish-black color of blackberries.

National independent research suggests that consumption of these fruits may slow the aging process in both the body and the brain and may provide protection against cancer and chronic disease. Cooking does not seem to destroy ellagic acid, so even blackberry jams and desserts retain ellagic acid health benefits. Black Currants have been found to have the highest levels, and Blueberries, Blackberries and Black Raspberries have especially high levels of the compounds also.

Other health benefits:

Blackberries are also an excellent source of dietary fiber and a good source of folic acid. Fiber has been linked to lowered cholesterol levels and reduced risk of colon cancer, and has been shown to help regulate postprandial glucose levels. Folic acid is a B vitamin needed for cell replication and growth. It helps form building blocks of DNA, the body’s genetic information, and building blocks of RNA, needed for protein synthesis in all cells. Therefore, rapidly growing tissues, such as those of a fetus, and rapidly regenerating cells, like red blood cells and immune cells, have a high need for folic acid.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 cup (144g)
Amount per serving
Calories 62 Calories from fat 6

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 1 g 1%
Saturated Fat 0 g 0%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 1 mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 14 g 5%
Dietary Fiber 8 g 31%
Sugars 7 g
Protein 2 g
Vitamin A 6%
Vitamin C 50%
Calcium 4%
Iron 5%
Potassium 233 mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Source: USDA Publication SR17

Picking the Blackberries

When you come to pick the berries, we will have lined gallon buckets for you to fill as you pick. That way you simply take the liner with you. This keeps the berries from being handled too much. We charge $10 per level bucket, not by the pound (partially filled buckets will be charged accordingly).

Two major characteristics determining maturity for harvest are fruit color and ease of separation. Blackberries usually develop a dull, black color with plump, juicy fruitlets as they ripen. The berries soften and produce the characteristic flavor. Full color often develops before the berries separate easily. Pick the berries by gently lifting the berry with the thumb and fingers. The receptacle, or center part of the fruit, remains in the fruit when blackberries are harvested, unlike raspberries which leave the receptacle on the bush.

To cool the berries as soon as possible after harvest, you might want to bring an ice chest with ice for the ride home. This will help to extend shelf life. Keep them refrigerated under high relative humidity and use within three to five days. Although blackberries have a short season and are highly perishable, they freeze quite well, allowing you to enjoy them practically year round. Freezing berries yourself is simple. Place berries (wash and dry only if necessary) in a single layer, slightly apart on a cookie sheet. Place the berries in the freezer until they are solidly frozen, and then transfer them to an airtight container or heavy plastic bag, seal tight, pressing out all air, label and date. They will keep for 1 year.

Please be aware that fruits are 80% or more water. When frozen, the water expands, and the cell wall breaks, thus changing the texture. Upon thawing, the texture will be mushy. Keep this in mind when determining how to use the frozen product. We recommend Ball’s Blue Book as a thorough and accurate guide for preserving fruits and vegetables. (arberries.com)

January 1, 2008

Medicinal Action and Uses Of Black Mulberry

The sole use of Mulberries in modern medicine is for the preparation of a syrup, employed to flavour or colour any other medicine. Mulberry Juice is obtained from the ripe fruit of the Mulberry by expression and is an official drug of the British Pharmacopoeia. It is a dark violet or purple liquid, with a faint odour and a refreshing, acid, saccharine taste. The British Pharmacopceia directs that Syrupus Mori should be prepared by heating 50 fluid drachms of the expressed juice to boiling point, then cooling and filtering. Ninety drachms of sugar is then dissolved in the juice, which is warmed up again. When once more cooled, 6.25 drachms of alcohol is added: the product should then measure about 100 drachms (20 fluid ounces). The dose is 2 to 1 fluid drachm, but it is, as stated, chiefly used as an adjuvant rather than for its slightly laxative and expectorant qualities, though used as a gargle, it will relieve sore throat.

The juice of the American Red Mulberry may be substituted; it is less acid than the European, while that of the White Mulberry, native of China, is sweet, but rather insipid.

In the East, the Mulberry is most productive and useful. It is gathered when ripe, dried on the tops of the houses in the sun, and stored for winter use. In Cabul, it is pounded to a fine powder, and mixed with flour for bread.

The bark of M. nigra is reputed anthelmintic, and is used to expel tape worm.

The root-bark of M. Indica (Rumph) and other species is much used in the East under the name of San-pai-p'i, as a diuretic and expectorant.

The Morinda tinctoria, or Indian Mulberry, is used by the African aborigines as a remedial agent, but there is no reliable evidence of its therapeutic value.

A parasitic fungus growing on the old stems of Mulberry trees found in the island of Meshima, Japan, and called there Meshimakobu, brown outside and yellow inside, is used in Japan for medicine.

Gerard recommends the fruit of the Mulberry tree for use in all affections of the mouth and throat.

'The barke of the root,' he says, 'is bitter, hot and drie, and hath a scouring faculty: the decoction hereof doth open the stoppings of the liver and spleen, it purgeth the belly, and driveth forth wormes.'

With Parkinson, the fruit was evidently not in favour, for he tells us:

“Mulberries are not much desired to be eaten, although they be somewhat pleasant both for that they stain their fingers and lips that eat them, and do quickly putrefie in the stomach, if they be not taken before meat.”

The Mulberry family, Moraceae, formerly regarded, together with the Ulmacece (Elm family), as a division of the Urticaceae (Nettle family), comprises upwards of 50 genera and about 900 species, of very diverse habit and appearance. Among them are the highly important food-plants Ficus (Fig) and Artocarpus (Bread fruit). M. tinctoria (Linn.), sometimes known as Machura tinctoria (D. Don), but generally now named Chlorophora tinctoria (Gaudich.), yields the dye-stuff Fustic, chiefly used for colouring wood of an orange-yellow colour. The tree is indigenous in Mexico and some of the West Indies, the wood being imported in logs of various sizes. This kind of fustic is known as old fustic, or Cuba fustic. Young fustic is a different product, obtained from Rhus cotinus (Linn.). It is known also as Venetian or Hungarian sumach, and is used in the Tyrol for tanning leather. The extract of fustic is imported as well as the wood. From Maclura Brasiliensis (Endl.) another important dye-wood is obtained. A yellow dye is also derived from the root of the Osage Orange (Toxylon pomiferum, Raf.), belonging to this order. The milky juice of Brosimum Galactodendron (Don) - the Cow or Milk-Tree of Tropical America - is said to be usable as cow's milk, and 'Bread-nuts' are the edible seeds of another member of this genus, B. Alicastrum (Swz.), of Jamaica. The famous deadly Upas Tree of the East Indies (Antiaris toxicaria, Lesc.) is a less useful member of this family.

The bast-fibres of many Moraceae are tough and are used in the manufacture of cordage and paper. The Paper Mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera, Vint.) is cultivated extensively in Japan. It is a native of China, introduced into Great Britain early in the eighteenth century and is a coarse-growing, vigorous shrub, or a tree up to 30 feet, forming a roundish, spreading head of branches. The young wood is thickly downy, soft and pithy, the leaves very variable in size and form, often shaped like fig-leaves, the upper surface dull, green and rough, the lower surface densely woolly. It is a dioecious plant, the male flowers in cylindrical, often curly, woolly catkins, the female flowers in ball-like heads, producing round fruits congregated of small, red, pulpy seeds. In Japan, the stems are cut down every winter, so that the shrub only attains a height of 6 or 7 feet, and the barks are stripped off as an important material for paper. B. Kajinoki (Sieb.) is a deciduous tree, wild in Japan, growing 29 to 30 feet high, similar to the Paper Mulberry and made use of in like manner, though inferior. The ripe fruits are beautifully red and sweet. Paper is also manufactured in Japan with the fibre of the bark of B. kaempferi (Sieb.), a deciduous climber. A good paper may be manufactured from the bast of the Morus alba, var. stylosa (Bur.), Jap. 'Kuwa,' but as this plant is used especially for feeding silkworms, the paper made from the branches after the leaves are taken off for silkworms is of a very inferior quality. (botanical.com)

The Bilimbi Benefits

The bilimbi, Averrhoa bilimbi, L., (Oxalidaceae), is closely allied to the carambola but quite different in appearance, manner of fruiting, flavor and uses. The only strictly English names are "cucumber tree" and "tree sorrel", bestowed by the British in colonial times. "Bilimbi" is the common name in India and has become widely used. In Malaya, it is called belimbing asam, belimbing buloh, b'ling, or billing-billing. In Indonesia, it is belimbing besu, balimbing, blimbing, or blimbing wuluh; in Thailand, it is taling pling, or kaling pring.

In Haiti, it is called blimblin; in Jamaica, bimbling plum; in Cuba, it is grosella china; in El Salvador and Nicaragua, mimbro; in Costa Rica, mimbro or tiriguro; in Venezuela, vinagrillo; in Surinam and Guyana, birambi; in Argentina, pepino de Indias. To the French it is carambolier bilimbi, or cornichon des Indes. Filipinos generally call it kamias but there are about a dozen other native names.


The tree is attractive, long-lived, reaches 16 to 33 ft (5-10 m) in height; has a short trunk soon dividing into a number of upright branches. The leaves, very similar to those of the Otaheite gooseberry and mainly clustered at the branch tips, are alternate, imparipirmate; 12 to 24 in (30-60 cm) long, with 11 to 37 alternate or subopposite leaflets, ovate or oblong, with rounded base and pointed tip; downy; medium-green on the upper surface, pale on the underside; 3/4 to 4 in (2-10 cm) long, 1/2 to 1 1/8 in (1.2-1.25 cm) wide.

Small, fragrant, 5-petalled flowers, yellowish-green or purplish marked with dark-purple, are borne in small, hairy panicles emerging directly from the trunk and oldest, thickest branches and some twigs, as do the clusters of curious fruits. The bilimbi is ellipsoid, obovoid or nearly cylindrical, faintly 5-sided, 1 1/2 to 4 in (4-10 cm) long; capped by a thin, star-shaped calyx at the stem-end and tipped with 5 hair-like floral remnants at the apex. The fruit is crisp when unripe, turns from bright-green to yellowish-green, ivory or nearly white when ripe and falls to the ground. The outer skin is glossy, very thin, soft and tender, and the flesh green, jelly-like, juicy and extremely acid. There may be a few (perhaps 6 or 7) flattened, disc-like seeds about 1/4 in (6 mm) wide, smooth and brown.

Origin and Distribution

Perhaps a native of the Moluccas, the bilimbi is cultivated throughout Indonesia; is cultivated and semi-wild everywhere in the Philippines; is much grown in Ceylon and Burma. It is very common in Thailand, Malaya and Singapore; frequent in gardens across the plains of India, and has run wild in all the warmest areas of that country. It is much planted in Zanzibar. Introduced into Queensland about 1896, it was readily adopted and commercially distributed to growers.

In 1793, the bilimbi was carried from the island of Timor to Jamaica and, after some years, was planted in Cuba and Puerto Rico, Trinidad, the lowlands of Central America, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Surinam, Guyana and Brazil, and even in northern Argentina, and it is very popular among the Asiatic residents of those countries as it must be in Hawaii. Still it is grown only as an occasional curiosity in southern Florida.


Bilimbis are all much the same wherever they are grown, but P.J. Wester reported that a form with sweet fruits had been discovered in the Philippines.


The bilimbi is a tropical species, more sensitive to cold than the carambola, especially when very young. In Florida, it needs protection from cold and wind. Ideally, rainfall should be rather evenly distributed throughout most of the year but there should be a 2- to 3-month dry season. The bilimbi is not found in the wettest zones of Malaya. The tree makes slow growth in shady or semi-shady situations. It should be in full sun.


While the bilimbi does best in rich, moist, but well-drained soil, it grows and fruits quite well on sand or limestone.


Most efforts at grafting and budding have not been rewarding, though Wester had success in shield-budding, utilizing non-petioled, ripe, brown budwood cut 1 1/2 to 2 in (3.8-5 cm) long. Air-layering has been practiced in Indonesia for many years. However, the tree is more widely grown from seed.

Bilimbi trees are vigorous and receive no special horticultural attention. It has been suggested that they would respond well to whatever cultural treatment gives good results with the carambola.

Season, Harvesting and Keeping Quality

In India as in Florida, the tree begins to flower about February and then blooms and fruits more or less continuously until December. The fruits are picked by hand, singly or in clusters. They need gentle handling because of the thin skin. They cannot be kept on hand for more than a few days.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases have been reported specifically for the bilimbi.

Food Uses

The bilimbi is generally regarded as too acid for eating raw, but in Costa Rica, the green, uncooked fruits are prepared as a relish which is served with rice and beans. Sometimes it is an accompaniment for fish and meat. Ripe fruits are frequently added to curries in the Far East. They yield 44.2% juice having a pH of 4.47, and the juice is popular for making cooling beverages on the order of lemonade.

Mainly, the bilimbi is used in place of mango to make chutney, and it is much preserved. To reduce acidity, it may be first pricked and soaked in water overnight, or soaked in salted water for a shorter time; then it is boiled with much sugar to make a jam or an acid jelly. The latter, in Malaya, is added to stewed fruits that are oversweet. Half-ripe fruits are salted, set out in the sun, and pickled in brine and can be thus kept for 3 months. A quicker pickle is made by putting the fruits and salt into boiling water. This product can be kept only 4 to 5 days.

The flowers are sometimes preserved with sugar.

Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion*
  • Moisture 94.2-94.7 g
  • Protein 0.61 g
  • Fiber 0.6g
  • Ash 0.31-0.40 g
  • Calcium 3.4 mg
  • Phosphorus 11.1 mg
  • Iron 1.01 mg
  • Carotene 0.035 mg
  • Thiamine 0.010 mg
  • Riboflavin 0.026 mg
  • Niacin 0.302 mg
  • Ascorbic Acid 15.5 mg
*According to analyses of fruits studied in Nicaragua and the Philippines.

Other Uses

Fruit: Very acid bilimbis are employed to clean the blade of a kris (dagger), and they serve as mordants in the preparation of an orange dye for silk fabrics. Bilimbi juice, because of its oxalic acid content, is useful for bleaching stains from the hands and rust from white cloth, and also tarnish from brass.

Wood: The wood is white, soft but tough, even-grained, and weighs 35 lbs/cu ft. It is seldom available for carpentry.

Medicinal Uses: In the Philippines, the leaves are applied as a paste or poulticed on itches, swellings of mumps and rheumatism, and on skin eruptions. Elsewhere, they are applied on bites of poisonous creatures. Malayans take the leaves fresh or fermented as a treatment for venereal disease. A leaf infusion is a remedy for coughs and is taken after childbirth as a tonic. A leaf decoction is taken to relieve rectal inflammation. A flower infusion is said to be effective against coughs and thrush.

In Java, the fruits combined with pepper are eaten to cause sweating when people are feeling "under the weather". A paste of pickled bilimbis is smeared all over the body to hasten recovery after a fever. The fruit conserve is administered as a treatment for coughs, beri-beri and biliousness. A sirup prepared from the fruit is taken as a cure for fever and inflammation and to stop rectal bleeding and alleviate internal hemorrhoids.

Bilberry: Herbal Remedies

Benefits of Bilberry

Though you may not recognize the name, you are already familiar with the Vaccinium genus of herbs. It includes numerous plants that bear small, round, dark blue or dark purple edible berries. Blueberries, huckleberries, and bilberries are three of more than 100 species of the Vaccinium genus found throughout the United States and Europe in woodlands, forests, and moorlands.

If you eat whortleberries and cream in England, you're getting a healthy dose of antioxidant-rich bilberries. Bilberries and huckleberries are popular food for hikers and forest birds and animals. The berries also make good dyes and very tasty jellies and jams, and are often used in several herbal remedies. These berries freeze quite well, so you can harvest them in the summer and store them for year-round consumption.

Uses of Bilberry

Both the leaves and the ripe fruit of the bilberry and related berry species have long been a folk remedy for treating diabetes. Traditionally, people used the leaves to control blood sugar. While the leaves can lower blood sugar, they do so by impairing a normal process in the liver. For this reason, use of the leaves is not recommended for long-term treatment.

The berry, on the other hand, is recommended for people with diabetes. The berries do not lower blood sugar, but their constituents may help improve the strength and integrity of blood vessels and reduce damage to these vessels associated with diabetes and other diseases, such as atherosclerosis (calcium and fat deposits in arteries). The berries contain flavonoids, compounds found in the pigment of many plants. The blue-purple pigments typical of this family are due to the flavonoid anthocyanin.

With their potent antioxidant activity anthocyanins protect body tissues, particularly blood vessels, from oxidizing agents circulating in the blood. In fact, bilberries contain the highest antioxidant level, bite for bite, of any berry! In the same way that pipes rust as a result of an attack by chemicals, various chemicals in our environment pollutants, smoke, and chemicals in food can bind to and oxidize blood vessels. Two common complications of diabetes, diabetic eye disease (retinopathy) and kidney disease (nephropathy), often begin when the tiny capillaries of these organs are injured by the presence of excessive sugar. Antioxidants allow these harmful oxidizing agents to bind to them instead of to body cells, preventing the agents from causing permanent damage to the lining of blood vessels.

Bilberry extracts also may reduce the tingling sensations in the extremities associated with diabetes. Several studies have shown that bilberry extracts stimulate blood vessels to release a substance that helps dilate (expand) veins and arteries. Bilberries help keep platelets from clumping together, which, in turn, thins the blood, prevents clotting, and improves circulation.

Bilberry preparations seem particularly useful in treating eye conditions, so in addition to diabetic retinopathy, they also are used to treat cataracts, night blindness, and degeneration of the macula, the spot in the back of the eye that enables sharp focusing.

In the next section, you will learn how to prepare bilberry for herbal remedies and some of the potentially dangerous side effects.