I’ve probably mentioned that I grew up split between Washington and Arizona, but Washington defines home for me. Covered in blackberry bushes, I picked berries outside my house every summer with my cousin, eating as many as I stuffed into my pale. I likely ate a lot of worms and spiders too, but we won’t dwell on that too much. It was not until last year, however, that I learned about the medicinal benefits of blackberry leaf tea.
I’ve been really interested in foraging recently, especially for medicinal plants. Here in California, there are tons of native and invasive herbs that can be harvested for medicinal purposes. I have a small blackberry vine in my backyard that never produces very many berries, but once I discovered I could use it medicinally, I waited until spring and harvested a ton of young leaves. I conveniently had flowering sage at the same time. If you’ve ever let your sage go to flower, you know how lovely the blossoms smell. I displayed them in my home for a few days and then hung them up to dry with the blackberry leaf.
If you get into foraging, remember to be respectful and know what is endangered and what is not. I typically harvest more invasive species than native species so as not to disrupt the natural ecosystem.
What Is Blackberry Leaf Tea Good For?
The leaves of the blackberry are stuffed with vitamin c, antioxidants, free radicals, and tannins. One can make a tea or compress from the leaves, to use as an herbal remedy. Adding smokey sage leaves and fragrant sage flowers make blackberry leaf tea a lovely addition to one’s herbal arsenal.
Blackberry has been shown to help with the following ailments:
- Sore throats
- Skin inflammation
- Gum and mouth inflammation
- Ulcers of the mouth
- Menstrual Regulation
- Diarrhea (yep! we just went there!)
- Preventing infection on surface wounds and burns
If you’d like to read more about the benefits of taking blackberry leaf tea, check out this great article from Sacred Habits.
Side Effects + Warnings (Please read these!)
Blackberry leaf is a potent herb, and while it has many benefits, it also should be consumed responsibly.
Blackberry leaf contains tannins that if consumed in large quantities over time, could lead to liver issues and osteoporosis. Therefore, the use the following instructions to consume as a tea:
- Do not steep longer than 6 minutes
- Combine with milk if desired to neutralize the added iron and calcium absorption
- Drink away from food
- Do not drink if pregnant or nursing
- Do not drink if you have liver problems
- Consult a doctor or herbal practitioner if you have any concerns about drinking this tea.
How To Make Sage + Blackberry Leaf Tea & Compress
1. Forage the youngest blackberry leaves and shoots from your vine, the soft light green leaves that spring from the ends. Mid-spring is a great time to do this before the blackberry vine produces flowers and fruit. Harvest flowering sage, stems, leaves, and blossoms.
2. Hang your leaves to dry. I like to let them hang upside down on a twine I keep at the back of my kitchen. In my dry climate, it took about a week to dry these leaves but depending on where you live it could take longer. If you notice any mold, remove the leaves and start fresh.
3. When the leaves are fully dried, crush them using a mortar and pestle.
4. Store in an air-tight container, such as a mason jar. To make a tea, steep 1 teaspoon per cup of hot water for 6 minutes The flavors are similar to black tea. To make a compress, steep in a muslin bag and then apply to the area needed.