Bay berries come from an evergreen shrub, which is usual with many other berries that are grown on deciduous trees or shrubs. The berries look similar to blackberries, although with many more tiny juice-filled nodes covering the berry’s surface. The flavor is both sweet and tart. Unlike blackberries or raspberries, where there are multiple seeds (one in each node of the fruit), bar berries have a single seed at their center. A waxy coating covers the berries, which is very rich in energy, although it was traditionally used for candle-making as demonstrated in the novel The Swiss Family Robinson. Bay berries are usually a deep red color, but may range into purplish tones.
The bay berry shrub grows in colder areas of the Northern Hemisphere and are native to China, but one species of bay berry is native to the Canary Islands and Madeira. Chinese bay berries are unusually rich in the most powerful free-radical fighting antioxidants known as oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), which are believed to protect the body from a wide range of environmental and internal stressors. OPCs are also 20 times more potent than Vitamin C and 50 times more powerful than Vitamin E, so consuming bay berries can help prevent the following health conditions:
- Degenerative diseases
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Premature aging
Bay berries are enjoyed fresh, or in juice, canned or dried forms. They are an excellent source of Vitamin C, dietary fiber, thiamine, carotene, riboflavin, and other minerals. Antioxidants and other important metal ions such as calcium, potassium, copper, iron and magnesium are also found in the bay berry fruit. Enjoying bay berries can help:
- Boost immunity
- Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
- Improve blood vessel and collagen elasticity
- Treats sinus conditions
- Increases circulation
- Prevent cancer cell growth
- Treat common ailments such as fever, colds, flu, etc.
- Improves digestion and detoxifies the liver