Latin name: Rubus idaeus (European red raspberry)
Rubus occidentalis (Black Raspberry)
What is a Raspberry?
Raspberries are members of the Rosaceae family, and come in colors of red, black, purple, and yellow. The red raspberry species, the kind most likely to be stocked at the grocery store, is indigenous to Asia Minor and North America. Going back to around the time of Christ, raspberries were gathered wild in the foothills of Troy, and it is likely that the Romans spread cultivation throughout Europe.
Often termed “brambles,” raspberries and blackberries have a characteristic aggregate fruit structure, which means they are formed by the aggregation of several smaller fruits, which are called drupelets. All of the drupelets are attached to a fibrous central core of the fruit.
What are the health benefits of Raspberries?
Raspberries contain significant amounts of the anthocyanin pigments that potentially protect against several human diseases. Preliminary research suggests that eating raspberries regularly can help protect from inflammation and pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, allergies, age-related cognitive decline, and the eyesight degeneration that comes with aging. Raspberries also contain bioflavonoids that are beneficial to the bladder. Red raspberry tea is thought to help strengthen uterine tissue.
The “aggregate structure” increases the raspberry’s proportion of dietary fiber, and in fact, raspberries, are among the plants with the highest known fiber content, nearly 20% fiber per total weight. Nutritionally, raspberries are packed with vitamin C and manganese, and also have a significant amount of vitamins B2 and B3, copper, folic acid, iron, and magnesium.
The black raspberry—not to be confused with the blackberry—is indigenous only to North America, and in spite of its health benefits, takes a backseat to the more popular red raspberry. Black raspberry extracts have been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth. Yellow raspberries, owing to their pale color, are lower in anthocyanins, and therefore not as beneficial to health.
More information about the healing powers of Black Raspberry and Red Raspberry Tea can be found in the Herb section.
Where can I find Raspberries?
Raspberries can be found in grocery stores and outdoor markets in the late summer season.
To unlock more health secrets from the Natural Health Dictionary, download your copy for Amazon Kindle.