I absolutely love spring because it ushers in new beginnings. Fresh and vibrant plants which lay dormant all winter are now poking their little heads up to feel the warm air and greet the sun. This is about the time of the year when our Southern Dewberries (Rubus trivialis) start to bloom. The berries won’t come in until sometime in late April or early May, but the blossoms are just a reminder that soon we will be gorging ourselves on their juicy ripe berries.
The Dewberry is often confused with the Blackberry as they look quite similar. However, Dewberries fruit earlier and grow close to the ground like a vine, while the Blackberry grows on upright stems or canes.
Like the Blackberry the Dewberries are edible and are a great treat on a warm spring day. Dewberries like Blackberries can also be used medicinally and are a great local resource if Blackberry bushes are unavailable. The root and leaves of the Dewberry are similar in action to the Blackberry and are Astringent. The astringent action tightens and tones tissues helping to retain moisture. This action is of great benefit in cases of acute diarrhea. The berries are sweet, sour, cooling and mildly astringent which make them of benefit where there is heat in the digestive tract. These actions will also help to improve absorption of nutrients.
The berry and leaves can also be used medicinally, yet have a milder action than the root. The constituents of the Dewberry plant are soluble in water and alcohol. An infusion of the leaves can be made and used as a gargle for sore throats or irritations of the mouth or gums or the leaves can be chewed for bleeding gums. The infusion may also be applied topically to bug bites, scrapes and scratches and hemorrhoids. The berries can be eaten and are a good source of Vitamin C and other nutrients such as copper, manganese, potassium and magnesium. Dewberries also contain antioxidants which help to protect cells from oxidation or damage.
4 cups of Dewberries
1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup of honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
Combine berries and water in a sauce pan on medium heat . Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Mash the berries until they are soft and then strain off the juice. To the juice add the remaining ingredients. May be refrigerated for up to 3 – 6 months. You can add various herbs during the cooking phase.
You can also make an Elixir from the berries by placing berries in a jar, filling the jar half way up with honey and then filling it the rest of the way with brandy. Let the jar sit for about 4-6 weeks. The Elixir will not have to be refrigerated as the alcohol acts as a preservative. Along with your dewberries you can also add additional herbs such as cinnamon, cardamom, fennel or what ever strikes your fancy. A tablespoon may be taken every few hours until the stomach feels settled and at ease.
For acute diarrhea a decoction can be made by combining the root and leaves in a pot (approx. 1 oz) along with 1 quart of water. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Strain off the liquid. A few tablespoons every 15 minutes should be beneficial in arresting the diarrhea.
This post was shared on Mind, Body and Sole.