In previous articles the health benefits of various fruits and vegetables have been extolled over and over, above all those whose anthocyanins and anti-oxidants in general have been found, according to both holistic and allopathic experts to be formidable cancer foes. Herbalists and other alternative medicine practitioners and those using such methods, now unite in sending up a mighty cheer! The beautiful, delicious and powerful black raspberry has been found, once again, to pack a wallop against tumors.
Recently at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a team of researchers have been experimenting on lab mice with the objective of finding if black raspberries are effective in the inhibition of tumor growth. The mice were given modified colorectal tumors and fed a diet high in fats, low in calcium and Vitamin D, for a period of twelve weeks. However, some of the rodents were also fed a freeze-dried powder made from the anthocyanin-laden berries that comprised up to ten per cent of their daily diet. The end result? The mice lucky enough to get the berry supplements suffered fewer tumors in their overall intestinal tracts; what tumors did form were apparently lesser in growth than in those of their fat-fed fellow subjects.
Similar testing has been done previously on mice and rats in other academic environments, with the black raspberries being hailed as responsible for slower development of cancer, fewer tumors, and general protection of the rodents’ bodies from carcinogens. The anthocyanins and ellagic acids (both are forms of anti-oxidant) contained in black raspberries are considered heavy-duty weapons, herbally speaking, against cancer development, especially where intestinal and rectal tumors are concerned. As well, these berries are noted for their ability to improve vision, lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension, heart disease and stroke, and help memory retention in the elderly.
Those in clinical nutrition, herbal medicine and other branches of holistic health are already aware that dark-colored foods such as berries are strong inhibitors of a variety of ailments, especially those involving free radical oxidation such as cancer. In particular, though, the black raspberry–considered by many here in our area and throughout Michigan to be a nuisance weed that grows wild all over, taking over nice, orderly yards and fields, where nothing is supposed to grow rapidly or randomly–is a storehouse of natural goodness. Its anthocyanin levels range from 214-589 mg/100 g, and the ellagic acid levels are 5.37 mg/g. This is higher for both anti-oxidants than most other berries.
It’s too late in the season to pick these berries here in Detroit, but when you’re gardening in the spring (eventually it’ll return, never mind the snow falling in some places in the state today!) please, don’t weed out the wild black raspberries. Cultivate them, nurture and enjoy them–and live a longer, healthier life as a result. You’ll never regret it.