In the rich and fertile rainforests of Chile and Argentina, the maqui berry grows in abundance. Until now, it has been one of the best-kept secrets of these countries. But lately there has been a surge of interest, due to the many health benefits of maqui berries.
The maqui berry is not cultivated, as its presence in the wild is widespread, from roadsides to hillsides. It grows on a bush that is about four metres in height and is an evergreen species. It has small white flowers that produce little purple-black berries.
Traditionally, maqui berries are eaten by the Mapuche. The Mapuche have long recognised the health benefits of maqui berries, and have used them as general healing agents. Apart from the fruit itself, they also use the bark of the tree to dress wounds.
Did you know about these health benefits of maqui berries?
- In 2007, clinical health trials by the US agriculture department showed the maqui berry to have a higher antioxidant capacity than other berries. It was shown to contain twice as many antioxidants as acai berries – and acai has long been touted as one of the most antioxidant rich foods in the world!
- Maqui berries are rich in anthocyanins, particularly an antioxidant named delphinidim, which gives the berry its purple colour. Most of the health benefits of Concord grapes come from delphinidim, although maqui berries are a much more potent source for this antioxidant.
- Delphinidims have strong anti-inflammatory properties, which help the immune system. Nearly all diseases that attack the immune system have an inflammatory effect. Maqui berries can be helpful when fighting all kinds of diseases, from allergies to diabetes.
- Maqui berries are antimicrobial. They have been shown to inhibit the growth of fungi, bacteria and viruses.