Blackthorn – what is it, a description of the plant, the medicinal properties of berries and the use of traditional medicine

The content of the article

Among the whole variety of shrub plants, not all possess useful properties, and their fruits can be used in medicine or cooking. One of these unpretentious decorations of the garden is blackthorn. This prickly branched shrub begins to bloom in early spring, and already bears fruit by the middle of summer. From the bark and leaves of thorns, folk healers prepare useful tinctures, and from the fruits of the hostess they make jam for the winter, bake delicious pies or casseroles, make dumplings.

What is blackthorn

Prunus spinosa (Latin name for the thorn) is a thorny shrub from the family Rosaceae, a class of dicotyledons. Blackthorn is a distant relative of the plum. Although both plants are similar to each other only in the structure of the fruit and their color, this was enough to have another name for the shrub – prickly plum. Wild Prunus spinosa is found in the northern latitudes of Russia, Europe, Asia. The roots of thorns serve as a strong strengthening of the slopes, they are able to prevent soil erosion, so the plant is often planted on the banks of rivers or ravines.

The attitude to the turn changed all the time. Previously, he was considered a divine plant, believing that he has the ability to drive away evil spirits. Today, people began to look at him pragmatically. Gardeners use blackthorn seedlings to create decorative hedges. Berries, leaves, bark, rhizome have found their application in medicine, medicines are prepared from them. In England, gins are insisted on thorns and a dessert liquor is prepared. Strong shrub wood is used in the manufacture of small turning products and canes..

Biological description

Blackthorn is considered a low shrub – its length is 1.5-4.5 meters. Very rarely you can meet a stunted tree no higher than 8 meters. Without pruning, the thorn bush with the help of root offspring grows strongly, forming dense thorny thickets. In an adult thorn, branches grow horizontally, ending with sharp spikes. If the bush was planted relatively recently, its branches will be lowered down.

Blackthorn leaves are elliptical. Young foliage is bright green in color, with time it becomes leathery, changes color to dark green, acquires a matte sheen, a jagged pattern appears on the edge. Sharp thorns are located between the leaves. Small flowers open in pairs even before the foliage. A beautiful shrub begins to bloom in early April-May. Five leaf buds cover all branches. Biological formula of a bisexual flower: K (5) C5A20G1.

The bush begins to bear fruit for 2-3 years after planting in the soil. Fruits – odnostoyanki, round in shape, do not exceed sizes of 10-15 mm in diameter. The peel of the berries is dark blue with a waxy coating, the flesh remains a green hue. The oval bones contain dangerous toxins in the body. The kernels from the pulp are separated very poorly.

Plum berries ripen in late August – early September, and stay on the branches of shrubs all winter. In autumn, the fruits are acidic, have a very tart taste. With the advent of the first frosts, the taste of berries becomes softer. From one adult blackthorn bush, amateur gardeners collect about 15 kg of fruits, which are distinguished by good transportability and long stored.

Blackthorn bush

Growth environment

Plum blackthorn loves fertile calcareous soil, so it is almost impossible to meet the growth of thorns on rocky, clay or peat. A wild plant prefers to settle mainly in open glades, ravines, forest edges. Small trees and thorny shrubs grow in the European part of Russia, in Asia Minor, the Caucasus, Western Siberia and Europe, the Mediterranean, and Crimea. Ornamental species of thorns are cultivated on the Scandinavian Peninsula, Tunisia and Finland..

Chemical composition

The thorn bush contains a large number of different nutrients, and some of them are extremely rare in nature. Juicy, fragrant wild berries are considered an excellent source of carbohydrates, pectin, organic acids – oleic, linoleic, palmitic, eleostearic. Scientists have found coumarin, mineral salts, unsaturated fatty acids, tannin, catechin, flavonoids in the fruit. Peel wax wax is rich in essential oils..

Thorny fruits are useful due to the presence of amino acids, vitamins of groups B, C, E, PP, minerals – iron, calcium, potassium, copper, magnesium, cobalt, molybdenum, steroids, beta-carotene, sodium, phosphorus. Dyes and organic oils are found in the roots, and the leaves contain anthocyanins, alpha tocopherol and ascorbic acid. Dark blue forest berries are considered a dietary product – only 54 kcal per 100 grams of thorns. The nutritional value of the fruit is distributed as follows:

  • proteins are 1.5 g;
  • carbohydrates – 9.4 g;
  • mass fraction of fats – 0.3 g;
  • fiber contains up to 2 g;
  • Vitamin A – 233 mcg;
  • thiamine – 0.04 mg;
  • nicotinic acid – 0.3 mg;
  • ascorbic acid – 17 mg;
  • riboflavin – 0.05 mg;
  • tocopherol – 0.5 mg.

Than is useful for the body

Due to the high content of minerals, oils, macro and trace elements, vitamins, blackthorn has a lot of useful properties. It is used to cleanse the body, increase immunity, to get rid of viruses and bacteria, in the treatment of many diseases of the heart, liver, kidneys, stomach. For medicinal purposes, apply all parts of the plant – fruits, leaves, roots, bark, buds. Berries can be eaten fresh, frozen or dried. Leaves with bark are first dried in the fresh air, and then crushed.

To speed up the drying process, you can use the oven. For the safety of all nutrients, it is necessary to observe only one condition – to maintain the temperature in the oven at 45 degrees. Harvested raw materials are stored in canvas bags or closed glass containers. The bark and roots will retain their beneficial properties for three years, and the leaves, inflorescences and fruits must be consumed throughout the year..

Healing properties

The benefits of blackthorn became known a long time ago. Long-term practice of using the bush for medicinal purposes, as well as numerous scientific studies have allowed the inclusion of plant components in the composition of official medicines. Fresh blackthorn fruits increase the output of potassium and sodium ions. Medicines with the addition of prickly plums have different effects on the human body:

  • anti-inflammatory;
  • antiseptic;
  • laxative;
  • expectorant;
  • antispasmodic;
  • astringent;
  • diuretic.

Spiny plum

What diseases heals

With proper use, blackthorn is able to alleviate the patient’s condition and for the better affect the healing process. Thorn drugs and its components are individually used to treat various diseases. It is authentically known that:

  • The turn is able to help with diseases of the liver, kidneys, stomach, vitamin deficiency.
  • The fruits of the plant have laxative and diuretic properties, due to which the berries can remove toxins, toxins, poisons from the body, normalize the microflora and intestinal motility.
  • Berries and leaves of thorns are actively used for weight loss. It is known that this plant helps to normalize metabolic processes, prevents the deposition of subcutaneous fat.
  • Very fragrant, but slightly tart juice is effective in the treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, helminthiasis, dysentery, colitis, food poisoning.
  • Blackthorn is indicated for respiratory viral or infectious diseases of the bronchi and throat. It reduces body temperature, helps to remove phlegm, accelerates the recovery of children with laryngitis and tonsillitis..
  • To get rid of bad breath and cure gum disease, you need to chew 3-4 berries of prickly plum daily.
  • Blackthorn preparations help with prostate adenoma. Medicines regulate metabolic processes in skin cells, lower capillary permeability.
  • Inflorescences rich in routine purify the blood. Homeopaths use this ability of a shrub in the treatment of furunculosis, purulent skin rashes, acne.
  • Tea made of thorns improves the state of the nervous system, helps to cope with nervous tension. The drink is often prescribed for insomnia, irritability, dizziness..
  • A decoction of leaves accelerates the medical treatment of cystitis, nephritis, urolithiasis.
  • Fresh fruits of the turn are very useful for the cores. They help normalize the functioning of the heart, prevent the formation of cholesterol plaques, strengthen blood vessels, reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, hypertension.
  • Receiving a decoction from the roots of a thorn bush helps women get rid of pain during menstruation.
  • Fresh berries contain vitamin A, so doctors advise them to be included in the diet for people suffering from myopia, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy.

Application in traditional medicine

Useful properties of thorns have been known since time immemorial. Today, this plant is actively used in homeopathic practice. So, an aqueous infusion of shrub inflorescences is used as a sedative and laxative. Bark, branches and roots have diaphoretic and anti-febrile properties. Decoctions are made from young leaves to improve the cardiovascular system, increase immunity.

Blackthorn branches


Juice from fresh blackthorn fruits is used to treat liver diseases – cirrhosis, hepatitis, jaundice. The berries of the bush can stop vomiting, relieve nausea, calm the nerves. Outwardly, juice is used in the preparation of antibacterial compresses, which are used to accelerate the healing process of wounds, purulent skin inflammations. The fruits of the turn have a lot of other useful properties:

  • normalize the intestinal microflora, relieve bloating and flatulence;
  • strengthen the walls of blood vessels;
  • lower blood pressure;
  • Resist the accumulation of bad cholesterol in the body;
  • improve liver and kidney function;
  • reduce soreness of menstruation;
  • help strengthen immunity;
  • prevent the development of periodontal disease, stomatitis, strengthen the gums;
  • help get rid of insomnia.

Fresh fruits of the turn help relieve skin inflammation and get rid of obsolete corns. To do this, grind the berries into the pulp with a sieve. Apply the resulting mass to a sore spot, fix it with a bandage or adhesive plaster. The result from such procedures will be noticeable in 2-4 days. Doctors advise thorny juice to drink to patients with vitamin deficiency. You need to make a drink according to the following recipe:

  1. Sorted and washed fruits of the thorn must be filled with boiling water so that the liquid completely covers them.
  2. Cover the container and put it in a dark place..
  3. After two days, drain the juice by filtering through cheesecloth.
  4. Add sugar to the resulting liquid at the rate of 500 g per 1 liter of juice.
  5. Simmer the mixture with constant stirring for 15-20 minutes..
  6. Pour the finished drink into cans, cool and put in the refrigerator.
  7. To increase immunity, improve appetite, in the treatment of vitamin deficiency, it is necessary to take 1 tbsp. l medicine in the morning before breakfast.

The use of plant bark

Shrub roots and bark are harvested in the fall, after the fruits have ripened. So that the plant does not die in the winter, the bark is removed from the cut branches, and then dried and crushed. Finished raw materials retain medicinal properties for up to three years. Large concentrations of tannins and dyes are concentrated in the blackthorn bark. This part of the shrub has a diaphoretic and anti-inflammatory effect; it is used in medicine for diarrhea and fever. In a diluted form, a blackthorn broth is used by women for douching with inflammation of the vaginal mucosa.

If the bark has been removed from the top of the bush, it is used to treat erysipelatous skin diseases. Alcohol tincture will help with inflammation of the prostate gland and is used to treat gout. For its preparation:

  1. Burn dried bark of thorns, and mix the resulting ash with clove and cinnamon powder in ratios 30-10-20.
  2. Pour dry mixture with 2 tablespoons of red wine mixed with 150 ml of warm water.
  3. Let it brew for 20-30 minutes, then strain.
  4. Take the medicine for 2 tbsp. l three times a day before meals. The course of treatment is six months.

The following decoction will help ease the patient’s condition with a cold and increase the protective functions of the body:

  1. Two tablespoons of dried and chopped bark pour a glass of boiling water.
  2. Heat the mixture in a water bath for 10 minutes.
  3. Judge and strain through a fine mesh sieve.
  4. Take the medicine 50 g, 2-3 times a day before meals.
  5. The average course of treatment is 5-7 days.

Thorn Leaf Broth

When the color of the shrub begins to fall, it is time to collect the foliage. It, like the bark, is first dried, and then crushed. Leaves have diuretic, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects. From this part of the plant, medicinal decoctions or teas are prepared, which have the following properties:

  • remove slags, poisons and toxins from the body;
  • purify the blood;
  • relieve purulent inflammations and recurrent infectious skin ailments caused by streptococcus bacteria;
  • contribute to the restoration of metabolism;
  • cleanse the liver.

There are many recipes of traditional medicine with the use of dried leaves. Tea will help minimize unpleasant symptoms that occur with diseases of the urinary system. To prepare it you need:

  1. Brew 2 tsp. dry leaves in a glass of boiling water.
  2. It is necessary to take such a decoction for 30 days, 2 glasses a day.
  3. After a month of treatment, doctors recommend taking a break for two weeks, after which you can resume taking the drug.

Rubbing the skin with a decoction of leaves, using lotions of sponges to make lotions to get rid of corns. A therapeutic drink will speed up the treatment of cystitis, relieve edema, and eliminate most of the symptoms of kidney disease. You can prepare a universal drink like this:

  1. Two tablespoons of chopped foliage is poured with a glass of water.
  2. Bring the liquid to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes..
  3. Then the broth is cooled, filtered.
  4. Lotions from the broth do at night, for 3-4 days.
  5. With cystitis, edema, kidney disease, is the medicine taken orally by? parts of a glass three times a day.

Decoction in a cup

Thorn of flowers

Blackthorn inflorescences are known for their antipyretic and diaphoretic properties. Tinctures are prepared from them with or without alcohol. Such drinks are indicated for high blood pressure, various inflammatory processes of the oral mucosa and throat, nervous disorders, liver diseases, constipation. Alcohol-free infusion must be prepared as follows:

  1. 40 grams of dried flowers pour 1 cup boiling water.
  2. Cover the container, let the mixture brew for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Strain the liquid. For constipation, take 150 ml three times a day.
  4. If you have problems with the kidneys, liver, drink? cup 4 times a day before meals.
  5. The course of treatment is 1.5-2 months.

From the flowers of wild thorny shrubs make liquor – healthy and tasty. Alcohol tincture is used for intestinal disorders as an astringent and restorative agent. For cooking:

  1. Wash fresh blackthorn fruits. Throw rotten, broken and spoiled berries.
  2. Pour the prepared raw materials with sugar so that it completely covers the berries.
  3. Place glass containers in a warm place.
  4. As the juice ferments, pour the liquid into a clean bottle.
  5. Tightly cork and remove the container, insist in a dark place for 4 months.
  6. Take a drink of 2 tbsp. l before meals for 2-3 days.

Using plum blackthorn in cooking

Fresh fruits of blackthorn can hardly be called a treat. They, like persimmons or mountain ash, are strongly knit in the mouth, but their taste is significantly increased after the onset of the first frost. Berries can be prepared for future use, picking fresh and putting in the refrigerator freezer or boiling compote, jam, tasty jam. In Bulgaria, porridge is made from edible fruits. In the CIS, dumplings are made from thorns, homemade marmalade, casseroles are made.

Berry Based Tea Recipe

  • Time: 1 hour.
  • Servings Per Container: 1 Person.
  • Calorie dishes: 25 kcal.
  • Purpose: for breakfast, lunch, dinner.
  • Cuisine: Russian.
  • Difficulty: low.

Blackthorn tea is an excellent tonic and restorative. Before preparing a drink, the fruits must be carefully sorted and washed. If you yourself were picking berries, you can just rinse them in cold water. It is better to soak the bought blackthorn berries for a while, changing the water several times. The finished drink differs from regular tea in an attractive dark blue color, a pleasant berry aroma and a sweet and sour taste. Even if you like drinks better, do not put sugar in tea – it is better to replace it with honey or jam.


  • frozen or fresh blackthorn berries – 1 tbsp. l .;
  • boiling water – 1 tbsp .;
  • honey – 1 tsp.

Cooking method:

  1. If the berries were in the freezer, get them in advance and defrost them. Sort fresh fruits and rinse well.
  2. Pour the prepared raw materials with a glass of hot water, cover.
  3. Leave the tea to infuse for 1 hour, after which strain the liquid through several layers of gauze.
  4. Before taking the liquid, warm up a little in a steam bath.

Tea in a glass

Thorny Kvass

  • Time: 2 days.
  • Servings Per Container: 4 Persons.
  • Calorie dishes: 78 kcal.
  • Purpose: drink.
  • Cuisine: Russian.
  • Difficulty: Easy.

You can quench your thirst in summer with the benefit of the body with berry kvass from the turn. To make the drink tasty, it is advisable to use only freshly picked fruits. As for bread kvass, before adding yeast, they must first be diluted in a small amount of warm water or strained fruit broth, let them “start working”. The finished drink can be stored in the refrigerator for no longer than 3-5 days.


  • blackthorn – 1 kg;
  • honey – 2 tbsp .;
  • yeast – 30 g;
  • water – 7 l.

Cooking method:

  1. Freshly picked blackthorn fruits, sort, rinse. Leave in a warm place for 24 hours..
  2. After a day, interpret the fruits with a wooden crush, transfer to a pan.
  3. Pour boiling water over the raw materials, put the container on the fire. Boil for 40 minutes.
  4. When the broth cools down a bit, strain.
  5. Add yeast and honey to the liquid. Leave to ferment for 12-14 hours.
  6. After time, pour the blackthorn kvass into clean plastic bottles, put in the refrigerator.


Thorn Jam

  • Time: 8 hours.
  • Servings Per Container: 2 Persons.
  • Calorie dishes: 248 kcal.
  • Purpose: dessert.
  • Cuisine: Russian.
  • Difficulty: medium.

Thorn jam can be added to pies, pies, bagels. Its sweet-tart taste will go well with sweet tea. To preserve the jam for longer, it must be laid out in sterilized jars, and the covers should be greased with olive oil first. It should be remembered that the bones of the turn contain a toxin – glycoside, so all canned berries must be eaten within a year. Otherwise, the toxic substances from the seeds will gradually go into the finished jam.


  • blackthorn berries – 1 kg;
  • sugar – 2 kg.

Cooking method:

  1. Rinse fresh fruits, dry. Prick each berry with a toothpick or pierce with a skewer.
  2. Pour the raw materials with sugar, leave to insist for 3-4 hours.
  3. After the berries of blackthorn let the juice, move the container to the stove.
  4. Let the jam boil and then reduce the heat to a minimum.
  5. Boil the workpiece, stirring regularly, 20-30 minutes.
  6. Let the jam cool completely for 3-4 hours.
  7. So boil the workpiece 3-4 times. When the foam appears, carefully remove it with a slotted spoon.
  8. Put the jam in the jars, roll up the lids.
  9. Store in a cellar or refrigerator for no longer than 12 months..

Ready jam

Contraindications and side effects

The healing properties of the thorns are undeniable, but this shrub will not be useful for everyone. Teas and decoctions with the addition of this plant are not given to children under the age of 5 years due to the increased risk of an allergic reaction. With caution use folk remedies based on blackthorn with a tendency to diarrhea. The berries of the plant should never be eaten in the presence of diseases or conditions of the body, such as:

  • gastritis with high acidity;
  • gastric ulcer in the acute stage;
  • pregnancy;
  • hypotension;
  • individual intolerance to the product;
  • dehydration.

As such, there are no side effects of persolum. At the same time, people prone to allergies can react sharply to pollen during flowering. The berries and blackthorn juice can stain the tooth enamel in a bluish tint, and for its removal it will take several days. When using alcohol tinctures on an empty stomach, nausea, dizziness may occur. Sweet jams, preserves, syrups and marmalades can contribute to weight gain. Due to the high content of toxins in the seeds, blackthorn drinks must be filtered before use..

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