Herb: Blackberry

Latin name: Rubus fruticosus

Family: Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Medicinal use of Blackberry:

The root-bark and the leaves are strongly astringent, depurative, diuretic, tonic and vulnerary. They make an excellent remedy for dysentery, diarrhoea, haemorrhoids, cystitis etc, the root is the more astringent. Externally, they are used as a gargle 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.

Description of the plant:


3 m
(9 3/4 foot)

May to

Habitat of the herb:

A very common and adaptable plant, found in hedgerows, woodland, meadows, waste ground etc.

Edible parts of Blackberry:

Fruit - raw or cooked. The best forms have delicious fruits and, with a range of types, it is possible to obtain ripe fruits from late July to November. The fruit is also made into syrups, jams and other preserves. Some people find that if they eat the fruit before it is very ripe and quite soft then it can give them stomach upsets. Root - cooked. The root should be neither to young nor too old and requires a lot of boiling. A tea is made from the dried leaves - the young leaves are best. The leaves are often used in herbal tea blends. Young shoots - raw. They are harvested as they emerge through the ground in the spring, peeled and then eaten in salads.

Other uses of the herb:

A purple to dull blue dye is obtained from the fruit. A fibre is obtained from the stem and used to make twine. Plants are spread by seed deposited in the droppings of birds and mammals. They often spring up in burnt-over, logged or abandoned land and make an excellent pioneer species, creating the right conditions for woodland trees to move in. The trees will often grow in the middle of a clump of blackberries, the prickly stems protecting them from rabbits.

Propagation of Blackberry:

Seed - requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3C and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn. Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn.

Cultivation of the herb:

A very common and adaptable plant, found in hedgerows, woodland, meadows, waste ground etc.

Known hazards of Rubus fruticosus:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.