Have you heard the phrase “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away”? This common saying has much more depth than it appears to have at first glance. Even though an apple is mentioned as it is the quintessential fruit, this saying highlights the importance of regular fruit intake. Fruit intake is essential for optimal growth and maintenance of the human body.
This food group provides us with key nutrients to stay in shape and regularize the chemical reactions that happen on the inside. Not to mention fruits are extremely yummy and the perfect go-to snack on a busy day! Berries, as we all know, are small one-bite pulpy fruits that not only taste great but are also fairly easy to carry and consume. At least easier than apples!
Blueberries stand out due to their vibrant color and amazing taste. But do you know that nature provides us with many berries that are blue, that aren’t blueberries? If you want to get familiarized with various blue-colored berries, learn about their properties, and want to be able to tell the poisonous ones from the edible, then this is the perfect guide for you!
Elderberries are one of the most commonly used berries in the medicinal world because of their healing properties. Many indigenous communities use these berries to cure fever and rheumatism, whereas ancient Egyptians used elderberries to lighten sun-tanned complexions and treat minor burns.
The rest of the elderberry bush also has medicinal uses e.g. flowers and leaves utilized to make the pain and anti-inflammatory medicine, bark used as a laxative, and diuretic. To this day, this type of blue-colored berry is used all across Europe in folk medicine to deal with flu and common colds. Other medicinal uses include treatment of headaches, dental pain, nerve pain, and heart pain.
In addition to elderberry’s use in the medical world, it is also consumed for its distinct sweet taste! From jam to chutney to wine and even pies, this type of berry is a favored snack. High in vitamin C, a cup of this fruit provides you with 60% of the recommended daily intake. In addition to this, elderberries are also rich in dietary fiber, phenolic acids, flavonols, and anthocyanins!
This highly popular fruit is a favorite all around the globe! Related to the breadfruit and fig, these berries can be found in the colors blue, red, and white. Consumed in many forms, mulberries are made into jams, juices, wines, and even dry fruit! Another surprising use of the fruit is for its leaves. Many places in Asia and North America grow the mulberry tree as the leaves are fed to silkworms, and hence result in silk production. This blue-colored berry is also a very popular low-calorie diet food as a cup of mulberries provides us only 60 calories while keeping us full throughout the day!
This is due to the berry’s high fiber content. Mulberries also contain substantial quantities of vitamin C and iron which keep our skin healthy and blood running.
We know what you might be thinking, aren’t blackberries black? Not Really! Blackberries are a very dark shade of blue that gives them their black appearance. Let’s dive into other interesting properties that blackberries possess. Aside from being high in vitamin C and fiber, this type of berry also packs a punch of vitamin K! Vitamin K is the reason your blood clots when you cut yourself and you don’t bleed out. Its deficiency may lead to thinning and fracturing of bones, but not to worry!
A regular supply of tasty blackberry snacks will make sure you are never subjected to the horrors of bone disease. Blackberries are also reportedly high in Manganese, which is a vital mineral for healthy bones and an efficient immune system. Other health benefits include improvement in brain and oral health.
This type of blue-colored berry is actually a close relative of the widely loved blueberry! Being quite similar in appearance, this berry has been utilized for medicinal purposes since the middle ages. In addition, bilberry juice is also used as a blue dye. As for its health benefits, credible studies have found out that a regular bilberry intake aids in vision, especially night vision! Isn’t that cool? This berry also contains significant levels of anthocyanins which lend it its anti-inflammatory properties. Scientists believe that these berries prevent the uptake of carbs in your digestive tract.
This results in lower blood sugar levels and can help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels. Aside from this, bilberries are also rich in vitamin K and can hence prevent blood clots and the risk of heart-related ailments.
Pokeberry is the fruit of the pokeweed plant. Pokeweed, along with its berries, is poisonous to human beings. Despite its poisonous nature, this plant is still a part of Native American cuisine. In spring and early summer, shoots and leaves of the pokeweed plant become edible with proper cooking and are used in salads.
In addition to this, the berries have been used in folk medicine for ages. Native Americans use pokeweed for achy muscles and joints (rheumatism), swelling of the nose, throat, and chest, swollen and tender breasts (mastitis), skin infections, and many other conditions. However, modern science fails to prove any effective medicinal usage of the pokeweed plant or its berries. Not all blueberries should be ingested, and pokeberries are one of them!
Do not ingest Pokeberry shoots and leaves direct off the plant!
Now we know what you might be thinking, another poisonous berry. But you couldn’t be more wrong! Black Nightshade berries, unlike popular belief, are edible and very nutritious! The Black Nightshade plant can grow up to 1 meter in height and produces berries that taste like a cross between a tomato, a tomatillo, and a blueberry. The berries are available for a short time, from late summer to fall. Eaten raw, in pies, jams, and even chutneys, black nightshade berries are a backyard favorite.
In addition to their great taste, the berries provide support to your bones as they are rich in calcium, phosphorous, and vitamin A. The berries and leaves of the black nightshade plant have also been used by Native American tribes for their medicinal value, namely Cherokee, Iroquois, and Costanoan Indians. A concoction of the leaves and berries was taken in case of extreme depression, usually caused by a death in the family.
In addition to being used as an anti-depressant, the berries were also used to combat scarlet fever, dermatological disorders, and toothaches.
One of the most overlooked berries, the berries from the Salal bush, grow naturally under conifer canopies from northern California to as high up as Alaska. Available and ripe during late summer (usually August and September), the berries are extremely juicy and sweet. This makes them perfect for pies and jams. In addition to a heavenly taste, the dark blue berries are also rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, and vitamin C.
Due to the berry’s health benefits, Northwest Native American tribes to this day utilize it in medicine. Having anti-inflammatory properties, the berries are used to treat wounds, coughs, colds, and digestive problems. In addition to being a favored snack and medicine, this bush also has ornamental qualities! Spring Salal flowers are dainty bell-shaped blossoms that vary between being white and pink. Their delicate appearance makes them a bouquet favorite!
Chokeberries, also widely referred to as Aronia Berries, are small dark blue berries that grow on Rosaceae shrubs. Native to North America, these shrubs can now be found in other places of the world too, namely Europe.
The delicious chokeberries are used to make juices, syrups, jams, jellies, purées, teas, wine, and even dry fruit! While the berries were traditionally used by Native Americans as a cold remedy, advances in science have pointed out many other health benefits too. Being low in calories, chokeberries are high in fiber, vitamin c, and manganese. They also contain high levels of antioxidants like polyphenols, which help us combat cancer and heart disease by inhibiting free radical activity.
A two-month study involving 38 individuals found out that chokeberries effectively help reduce bad cholesterol and total cholesterol levels. In addition to all the fore mentioned health benefits, Aronia berries have also been found to support our immune system! Having antibacterial qualities, continual ingestion of the berries has also been linked to a decrease in urinary tract infections.
Huckleberries are berries that grow on a shrub native to North America. Similar to Salal Berries, the Huckleberry bush can be found in the wilderness from California up to Alaska. The berries are large and blue-black in color, sometimes even red! Being juicy and sweet, Huckleberries can be eaten raw or made into jams, jellies, wine, or even pie!
Its health benefits come from the abundance of vitamin C, potassium, and iron the berries contain. In addition, Huckleberries also contain phytochemicals that can act as antioxidants. These phytochemicals include flavonoids, tannins, and many more. The berries are ingested by many before surgeries to naturally prevent hemorrhaging.
Other benefits include prevention of cardiovascular problems, elimination of free radicals, defense against seasonal cold and flu, regulation of blood sugar levels, regulation of cholesterol, reduction in osteoarthritis joint pain, and many more!
Native to North America, the Saskatoon berry (also known as prairie berry or serviceberry) resembles the blueberry at first sight but is more closely related to the apple family. Having a sweet nutty-almond taste, this berry is truly one of a kind. Being a summer fruit, the Saskatoon berries ripen around late June and early July but are also available frozen all year round. An interesting fact about these berries is that much like their apple cousins, they continue to ripen even after they have been picked! Isn’t that cool?
Saskatoon berries grow in the wild from Alaska to Maine, hence they aren’t difficult to find. These fruits are loaded with vitamins and minerals and are rich in manganese, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, copper, and carotene. An antioxidant-rich fruit, the berries have anti-cancer, anti-aging, and anti-heart disease effects on the human body, reducing cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, and acting as a protective guard to our immune systems.
Virginia Creeper is an ivy that is native to North America and used for ornamental/decorative purposes. The Virginia Creeper has berries that resemble grapes and are blueish-purple in color. The berries contain minuscule oxalate crystals that are also present in the leaves of the plant.
The crystals cause serious irritation to the tongue, mouth, throat, and esophagus if the berries and leaves are chewed or ingested. In rare cases, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and labored swallowing are also reported after ingesting Virginia Creeper Berries and its leaves. These symptoms can be seen almost as soon as one eats the berries and can last for up to a day or even more.
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
If someone you know has had an accidental exposure to the Virginia Creeper berry (or plant), the following steps are recommended: wipe out their mouth and make them rinse with water to get rid of any access plant material, place ice in their mouth to subside irritation and pain, keep them hydrated with electrolyte-rich water to prevent dehydration in case of vomiting/diarrhea.
Last but definitely not least, a worldwide favorite, the blueberry! Credited as a superfood by many, the blueberry has many wondrous qualities. Being low in calories while still packing a nutritional punch, it is the perfect diet snack. The berry also contains extremely high quantities of antioxidants, much more than any other blue-colored berry on the list.
These antioxidants protect us from free radicals to shield us from threats like cancer and also delay aging. This superfood is also extremely good for the cardiovascular system as it turns bad cholesterol into good cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, and makes sure your heart is in a top-notch shape! Blueberries also possess anti-bacterial qualities and have the ability to cure urinary tract infections. In addition to all this, the fruit also helps people with type 2 diabetes regulate their blood sugar.
Blueberries are a universal favorite, but do you know there are many other berries that are blue but aren’t blueberries? Well now you know! Broaden yours and your family’s berry taste palate, but make sure to stay away from the poisonous ones! After all, the best way to live is to incorporate nature’s gifts into our lives and elevate our lifestyles.
While you’re at it, check out our article about cactus wilting !
My name is Kelly and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!
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