Common names: Dewberry, European blackberry
Botanical name: Rubus fructicosus
© Steven Foster
Parts used and where grown
Blackberries grow in wet areas across the United States and Europe. Several species of
blackberry exist: Rubus fructicosus is the most common European species and Rubus
canadensis is a common North American species. While the leaves are used most frequently
for medicinal preparations, the root is sometimes used as well.
Blackberry has been used
in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual
health concern for complete information):
Historical or traditional use (may
or may not be supported by scientific studies)
Since ancient Greek physicians prescribed blackberry for gout, the leaves, roots, and even berries have been
used as herbal medicines.1 The most common uses were for treating diarrhea,
sore throats, and wounds. These are
similar to the uses of its close cousin, the red
raspberry (Rubus idaeus), and a somewhat more distant relative, the blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum).
The presence of large amounts of tannins give blackberry leaves and roots an astringent
effect that may be useful for treating
diarrhea.2 These same constituents may also be helpful for soothing sore throats.
How much is usually taken?
The German Commission E monograph recommends 4.5 grams of blackberry leaf per
day.3 Blackberry tea is prepared by adding 1.5 grams of leaves or powdered root to
250 ml of boiling water and allowing it to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Three cups per day
should be drunk. Alternatively, one may use 3–4 ml of tincture three times each day.
Are there any side effects or interactions?
Tannins can cause nausea and even vomiting in people with sensitive stomachs. People with
chronic gastrointestinal problems might be particularly at risk for such reactions. Taking
blackberry leaf or root preparations with food may reduce risk of gastrointestinal problems in
At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions
1. Castleman M. The Healing Herbs. New York: Bantam Books, 1991,
2. Tyler V. Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of
Phytomedicinals. New York: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 1994, 53.
3. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete
Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative
Medicine Communications, 1998, 91.