Introduction of Maqui Berry
Aristotelia chilensis, known as maqui or Chilean wineberry, is a tree species in the Elaeocarpaceae family native to South America in the Valdivian temperate rainforests of Chile and adjacent regions of southern Argentina. Limited numbers of these trees are cultivated in gardens for their small fruits, known as maqui berries. Most of the fruits commercially marketed come from the wild.
History of the Maqui Berry
Traditionally, maqui berries have been used by the indigenous Chilean Mapuche Indians to promote strength, endurance and overall health. The Mapuche Indian tribe was the only tribe in America who were not conquered by invading colonists. Legend has it that Mapuche warriors consumed a fermented beverage made from maqui berries three times a day, which may have contributed to their amazing strength and endurance qualities.
There is more than one reason why these berries have been one of the Mapuches’ customary foods and medicine for centuries. They claimed they could cure a range of ailments including fever, ulcers, hemorrhoids, diarrhea, inflammation, scars, kidney pain, sore throats and migraines.
These claims were never scientifically proven – until now. A heightened interest in superfoods over the past decade led scientists to look more closely at traditional foods that are held in high regard by native tribes. The results of the Mapuche’s maqui berry have been astonishing.
Its powerful disease-fighting compounds (anthocyanins) and other natural bio-actives found in the berry – are being studied for their ability to support the body’s natural defenses against disease. The evidence is stacking up to show that these potent bio-actives may support cardiovascular, lung, immune and musculoskeletal function. Whether these antioxidants play out the same way in human clinical studies is yet to be determined, but the fantastic results in lab studies show much promise for this superfood.
Fruit with Great Antioxidant Power
- Maqui (Aristotelia chilensis) is a type of vibrant purple berry native to Chile.
- Proponents claim that maqui berry offers numerous health benefits, partly due to substances in the berries (such as anthocyanins, flavonoids, and ellagic acid) that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
- The antioxidant content of maqui berry, measured by the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) value, is 37,174 for 100 g of the fresh fruit. In comparison, fresh blueberries are less at 27,412 for 100 g.