When we think “blackberry” (at least in terms of something edible) we think of the fruit. Sure, the fruit is a superfood in its own right, infused with antioxidants galore. But when researchers measured the antioxidant status of the blackberry fruit versus the blackberry leaf, they discovered that the blackberry leaf had the higher oxygen radical absorbance capacity (the higher the ORAC, the more antioxidants a substance has). The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, suggests that it’s time to pay attention to Rubus fruticosus (blackberry) leaf extract, an anti-aging force of nature. We’ve got two quick ways to benefit!
Apply as a Topical Tonic
The dermis, the middle layer of your skin that eventually succumbs to wrinkles, contains collagen and elastin, two proteins that provide support, structure, and elasticity to the skin. Keeping your collagen and elastin intact is essential to skin health and anti-aging. Research published in International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists (IFSCC) magazine found that blackberry leaf extract possesses potent collagen and elastin-boosting properties.
Here’s how it works: Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are enzymes that accelerate the aging process by breaking down collagen and elastin in your dermis. Hence, loss of elasticity and firmness. Scientists sought to discover if blackberry leaf extract could suppress MMP activity, especially MMP-1 which deteriorates collagen types I and II (the primary skin collagens). Because radiation from UV rays increases MMP activity, researchers studied both UV-irradiated and non-irradiated human dermal fibroblasts (skin cells) in vitro.
They tested blackberry leaf extract at a concentration of 0.01% and at a higher concentration of 0.1%.
- At 0.01% blackberry leaf extract reduced MMP-1 protein in non-irradiated cells by 46% and in UV-irradiated cells by 54%.
- At 0.1% blackberry leaf extract decreased MMP-1 by 72% in non-irradiated cells and by 92% in UV-irradiated cells.
Talk about anti-aging protection! Add it to your skin care regimen by investing in an anti-aging formulation that contains organic blackberry leaf extract.
Ingest as an Internal Elixir
Researchers also showed that blackberry leaf extract contains an antioxidant profile similar to that of green tea. Full of polyphenolic compounds and flavonoids, blackberry leaf extract reverses cellular damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress, and helps to prevent life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
An easy way to benefit from blackberry leaf extract from the inside out is to take 4.5 grams of blackberry leaves daily as a tea. You can find ready-made blackberry tea satchels online or at your local health food store.
A note of caution: Blackberry leaves are rich in tannins that have astringent properties, making blackberry leaf extract an effective anti-diarrheal. If you are allergic or sensitive to tannins, however, limit your consumption.