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New research on buffaloberry reveals significant source of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients

Sunday, November 24, 2013 by: L.J. Devon, Staff Writer
Tags: buffaloberry, antioxidants, beneficial nutrients

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(NaturalNews) A berry commonly found on Indian reservations in the Dakotas is gaining new attention.

A study published in the Journal of Food Science by the Institute of Food Technologists provides new evidence showing that buffaloberries contain greater amounts of antioxidant lycopene than was originally understood, including large amounts of a related compound, methyl-lycopenoate, which is beneficial for cellular health.

The berry, which is bright red and tart tasting, was traditionally used by the Native Americans as a staple nutritional food. Able to thrive in dry conditions, buffaloberries could theoretically be grown and harvested in uncharted lands in the Dakotas. Even wine producers are beginning to take interest in the buffaloberry, which may provide a viable cash crop for Indian reservations. Rich in carotenoid and phenolic antioxidants, buffaloberries may even become the next big superfood.

Study details buffaloberry's superfood potential

According to their abstract, researchers studied seven selections of Dakota-grown buffaloberries. Using liquid chromatography-mass spectral analysis and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, researchers determined the amount of primary carotenoids and lycopene antioxidants in the samples. The greatest proportion of antioxidants (55%) came from a substance relatively new to researchers, methyl apo-6'-lycopenoate.

Also greater than expected was the total amount of phenol concentrations, which ranged around 9 grams of gallic acid per kilogram. The study also yielded a 21% concentration of measurable soluble solids from the buffaloberry.

What does this mean for you?

Buffaloberry has high concentrations of antioxidants, especially lycopene (the same antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red color), and may be grown in the future as a medicinal food. This could spur new wine production, new health supplements and a new food stuff for farmer's markets.

Buffaloberry could be used as an all natural dye

Not only a food and medicine, buffaloberry can also be used as an all natural dye and was used as a dye in Native American culture. Buffaloberry comprises three species, all native to North America. These include russet buffaloberry, silver buffaloberry, and roundleaf buffaloberry.

Picked from a shrub that ranges in height from 2 to 7 feet tall, buffaloberries may appear translucent and may resemble clusters of red olives. View picture here.

Stretching from the Dakotas into Canada and all the way to the West Coast, buffaloberries may be found on dry hillsides, in valleys, in the open woods or along river edges.

One unique characteristic of the berry is its high saponin content which yields a frothy substance when beaten and stirred. Throughout time, this berry has been used by colonies and Natives as a main ingredient in jellies, beverages, sauces, puddings and cakes.

Native Americans knew how to prepare the berries for medicinal purposes as well, and they found the berry to be effective for treating constipation, swelling, bites, boils, headaches, tuberculosis and gallstones.

Learning from other cultures of the past and present

Learning from the wisdom of other cultures and tribes may help America overcome some of its current health care crises. This will take time, as people begin to open up to the healing ways of Native Americans and other cultures. The Natives thrived on the same continent as modern Americans, all without drugs and medical intervention. They understood the hidden medicinal powers of foods like the buffaloberry. Sure, they couldn't isolate specific antioxidants within the berries, but they at least understood and utilized the health benefits connected with these amazing berries.

Today, Americans drive right by their medicines which grow alongside the road, in the ditch, throughout the woods and by the creek bed. In search for some higher intelligent medical care, a large number of people have been herded into a disease management philosophy run by pharmaceutical companies.

Substances as simple as the buffaloberry are a threat to these pharmaceutical juggernauts. Tell your doctor about antioxidants, like those in the buffaloberry, and talk about their effective cellular medicinal abilities.

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