It’s summer and it’s the best season for fruit. Just think of how you can stroll about and pick the ripe fruit on the branch or vine. Blackberries are one of those beautiful fruits that herald the sunny season. And, they make you glow inside and out.

Do you want to know why I’m obsessed with how the blackberry fruit and its leaves can help your skin keep off wrinkles? Then keep on reading about how the plant can save your skin.

A little bit of background

Blackberry is related to raspberry. It’s part of the family Rosaceae and its botanical name is Rubus fruticosus. You can find them growing wild or cultivated and in home gardens. They’re easy to grow and can spread like wildfire. So, if you don’t want brambles with thorns everywhere, keep them contained in a small patch.

Blackberry, photo by Ulvi Safari

Blackberries are an aggregate fruit composed of many smaller fruits. These drupes have a flesh body with a kernel – a very tiny seed. The typical examples of drupes are mango and peach.

Blackberry grows wild throughout most of Europe but with its enormous growth, it’s often considered a weed. Just think of its unchecked growth and how it can grow toots from branches that touch the ground.


One of my favourite things is to find the intersection between delicious food and beauty and health benefits. Even more so, since I’ve learned the correlation between nutrients and how our bodies make new tissue from what we eat. Especially, since the correlation between nutrients and the ageing process gives all the more reason to increase the bar with the rainbow diet.

The blackberry fruit is known to be a rich source of anti-oxidants. It’s also crammed full of vitamins C and K. It contains dietary fibre and manganese. If you only take the seeds (since you can also find blackberry seed oil). These contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, protein, carotenoids, ellagitannins, and ellagic acid. Of course, if you eat fresh blackberries, you get all of these nutrients.

Recent research has revealed that blackberry leaves are not something to turn your nose at. While the fruit is recognised as an important source of antioxidants and some call it a super food, research on the leaves is still sparse but very promising. The leaves also contain valuable flavonoids and polyphenolic compounds.


Since blackberry grows wild in Europe, it’s not a stretch to say that people have foraged for blackberries for a very long time. There’s evidence that people have eaten blackberries as far back as 2500 years ago. In Denmark, the remains of a woman were found dating back from about 500 BC and blackberries were discovered in her stomach.

Harvesting the berries is still a popular pastime nowadays. And what can’t be eaten fresh can be used to make desserts, pies jams, and jelly. The fruits were also used to make wine.

It probably won’t surprise you to know that the leaves, roots, and fruits were used as a remedy for a range of ailments by the Ancient Greeks and Native Americans. Different parts of the plants such as the fruit, leaves, and stems were used as fabric and hair dye.

What can it do for your skin

Both the fruit and the leaves have many beneficial compounds. As mentioned, blackberry is a rich source of anti-oxidants that boost your skin’s defences against environmental aggressors and have soothing qualities. As a rule of thumb, the darker the fruit, the more powerful its anti-oxidants.

Age gracefully

Since the blackberry is, well, black (ok, ok, dark blue to almost black) it’s an excellent source of potent anti-oxidants called anthocyanins. These anti-oxidants are water-soluble pigments. They belong to a class of compounds called flavonoids and have many responsibilities:

They’re what gives the plant, especially its flowers and fruits its colours to attract pollinators and animals that eat the fruits and help disperse the seeds
They help protect against all kinds of stresses such as to protect against extreme temperatures

In skin care, blackberries help defend your skin against the impact of the environment. They bolster your skin’s defence against photo-ageing and the damage caused by free radicals. These are known to speed up the ageing process.

Since the blackberry contains vitamin C, it helps your body produce collagen and even out your skin tone.

Blackberry seeds are packed with carotenoids that your body turns into vitamin A. So, it helps slow signs of ageing like wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, lessened elasticity, and texture changes.

Recent research has shown that blackberry leaf extract has its own skin benefits. Especially for rejuvenating and keeping your skin plump and bouncy. The leaves mess with matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), enzymes that play an important role in skin ageing.

The enzymes MMP degrade and break down extracellular matrix proteins. These are elastin and collagen. Lower levels of these protein mean less elastic and firm skin, which again translates into sagging and wrinkles. Now, blackberry leave extract hinders MMPs working on these proteins and breaking them down. It so keeps your skin elastic and smooth for longer.

Fading dark spots and scars

The combination of vitamin A, C, and K helps your skin to stay healthy while helping fade scars, stretch marks, sun spots, and other visible skin issues.

How to use

It’s no wonder you’ll find blackberry infused products in all kinds of forms, from toner to moisturiser.

But I’m leaving you with a recipe for blackberry leaf infusion toner. The good thing is, that you can use it as a tea for a sore throat or to pacify your digestion. Or, you could use it as a toner or leave-in hair conditioner.

You first need to collect young blackberry shoots and tender leaves – be cautious though, even young leaves can have spines and spikes. But these can be pinched off quite easily. It’s probably best to do this task with a pair of hand protection.

You can gather them as you need them, but they’re best in spring when all of the plant’s energy go into the making leaves. You can gather a full year’s supply and dry them. Once dried, pack them into a large clean, and sterile glass that closes firmly.

For one cup of blackberry leaf infusion, bring the water to about 80 to 85 degrees C. Put 1 heaped teaspoon of the dried blackberry leaf into a tea bag or infuser and pour the hot water over it. Allow to steep for 5 minutes – et voila, your tea is ready.

Of course, if you want to use it as a toner or hair conditioner, you need to let it cool down. If you want to use it only the infusion only for skin and hair care, you can also make it stronger:

Prepare a saucepan with 1l of topwater, add a handful of blackberry leaves and make sure they’re covered in water. Bring it to boil, cover the saucepan and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and leave it to infuse. After 3h, strain the infusion and discard the leaves.

Worried about wrinkles? Keep them at bay with blackberries

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