Blackberry Leaf Decoction

by Daisy

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As I was trimming back a few blackberry shoots I got to thinking–Aren’t blackberry leaves Something–you know, something in their own right other than the prickly part of blackberry production?

As it turns out, they are something. High in tannins and vitamin C, they are good for:

  • skin
  • mouth/gum tissue
  • intestinal health
  • immunity

Teas and decoctions (concentrated teas) made from blackberry leaves are recommended by herbalists for skin rashes, mouth/canker sores, gum inflammation, sore throat, diarrhea, and more.

Since I have plenty of blackberry leaves, nothing to lose, and can’t resist a good concoction, I was in.

Here’s how to do it:

Remove the newer, fresher green leaves of the blackberry bush. Bruise them by crushing. A rolling pin saves your hands from the prickles:


Lay them out in a thin layer to ferment for 2-3 days. They will develop a rose-like aroma:

Spread them out in a single layer and allow to dry completely.

When absolutely dry, crush and store in a cool, dark place.

To make a decoction, boil a handful of the dried leaves in a quart of water. Reduce by half. Drink a cup or two per day, as needed or desired for prevention or treatment of the above conditions.

The decoction tastes a bit astringent,  but is a nice tea with honey and lemon.


You can also make a simple tea, in the usual way.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Leanne Opaskar November 4, 2009 at 9:51 am

Interesting! I’ve got some boysenberry bushes on order for the spring, so I wonder if I could do the same with boysenberry leaves. They’re a cross between blackberries, raspberries, and loganberries. Hmmm!

Tomato Lady November 4, 2009 at 12:10 pm

Leanne Opaskar–I imagine so. All I could find on the medicinal properties of boysenberry leaves indicated they may act to protect against liver injury, but if they are derived from blackberries I suppose they would have all their qualities and possibly more.

tanya Walton November 4, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Did it taste nice?? I’m a little dubious!!

Tomato Lady November 4, 2009 at 4:06 pm

tanya Walton–It ain’t bad, but it’s no English breakfast. Not exactly bitter, but it’s got a little edge that makes you reach for the honey and lemon. Then it’s fine. Remember, it’s good for ya.

Kate November 4, 2009 at 10:01 pm

I’m guessing we have at least three acres of blackberry brambles scattered across the farm. Wow! I’m gonna have the healthiest intestines in Oregon!

Jen M. November 5, 2009 at 8:18 am

This may be a more aromatherapeutic use–I’ve used blackberries or blackberry-flavored substances for this–but I’ve found it can bring comfort to a woman pre-menstrually.

One afternoon, many years ago, I was having really bad cramps. Something told me to “drink some of that blackberry-flavored tea. Just do it!” So I did, and it calmed me right down.

I believe raspberry LEAF is recommended for the same conditions, but read up before trying anything.

Jen M.

Emily November 5, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Raspberry tea is also helpful for pregnant and post-natal women as well.

Do tell us more about how you manage your blackberries in future posts. I have one right now but would like to know how you keep them in check – obviously clipping them back, but what’s the best way?

Kathy Murphy November 5, 2009 at 3:11 pm

I’m all for using things in the yard. I’m going to try mixing it with dried mint to make tea.

Keep berries in check by cutting them back to 2′ tall after all the leaves fall off. DO NOT put the trimmings in the much pile or you will have many “volunteer” plants in the spring. I hav a 3″ trimming tunr into a new plant!

katherine lantsman November 5, 2009 at 10:53 pm

i am looking to buy some young blackberry shoots to treat juvenile diabetes in my 3 year old child if anyone has this – please let me know so i can buy it
thank you

Pat November 8, 2009 at 6:46 pm

My daughter has lupus and often when she was younger her intestines would be inflamed, she would have to stay home from school for a couple days. I was getting into buying herbal teas back then (trying to cut back on soft drinks). She had to stay home one day because of her inflamed intestines and she called me very excited and said she had opened up a box of blackberry leaf tea that I had bought and drank one cup and it was helping her condition. She drank 3 cups that day and claimed the blackberry leaf tea took care of the problem. I researched it and found that it is high in tannins like black tea but has no caffeine. For some strange reason that day she let her “inner physician” take over and heal her. It is an old Cherokee remedy too.

Tomato Lady November 8, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Pat–What a happy help for your daughter. Amazing.

Handful November 12, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Mmmm… interesting. Are red raspeberry bushes/ leaves the same?

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