Berries could help to heal wounds thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties, new research has revealed.
For centuries, honey has been used for wound healing, but the latest research suggests berries, especially strawberries and blackberries, could also be effective for those with sores, ulcers and other wounds.
The study, published in the journal Food Research International, analysed the anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties of strawberries and blackberries.
The scientists found that blackberries were particularly good at helping to suppress reactive oxygen species – molecules that are produced when tissues are injured. Berry proanthocyanidins – the very compounds that give berries their red, blue, or purple colours – also appeared to reduce the need for nitric oxide synthesis, a compound involved in wound repair.
Dr Emma Derbyshire, public health nutritionist and adviser to British Summer Fruits, commented: “This new research has some very interesting findings which suggest that berries are helping to take the pressure off some of our innate wound repair mechanisms.
“We know that plants produce phytochemicals to protect and repair environmental damage, diseases, parasites and fungi, and this research shows that eating berries or applying them to our skin could also potentially support our body’s wound repair mechanisms.
“Ongoing research in the form of in vivo human studies are now needed. In the meantime, regular berry consumption, particularly strawberries and blackberries, for those with sores, ulcers or other wounds or injuries, could be a nice, tasty way to benefit from their anti-inflammatory effects. And to step it up even further, eating berries with a spoonful or squirt of honey could be the perfect combination to help heal wounds.”