Wildflowers, Plants and Ferns, Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest has wild blueberries growing all over it. These low bush blueberry plants are primarily spread by rhizomes or underground runners, which produce new roots and stems. All shoots arising from the same root system have similar characteristics and are clones of the original root system..
Wild Blueberry plants areas actually produce many different low bush blueberry clones and this creates the variations in color and size that you find in a Wild Blueberry crop. The First Peoples of North America were first to use blueberries, both fresh and dried, for their flavor, nutrition and healing qualities.
First Peoples believed the Wild Blueberry had magical powers. If you look Atop each Wild Blueberry you will see a calyx in the shape of a five point star. Legend has it that during a time of starvation, the Great Spirit sent these star berries down from the heavens to relieve the hunger of his people.
These early inhabitants were the first to burn their Wild Blueberry areas to encourage the growth of new plants. Wild blueberries are nutritious and are a good source of Vitamin C and dietary fiber. There is no fat, sodium or cholesterol and only 80 calories per cup of berries.
As well, recent studies have shown that the pigments that give the wild blueberries their unique color provide many health benefits. The pigments in the wild blueberries contain very important compounds called antioxidants. Antioxidants are needed by the body to fight compounds called free radicals, which are formed as a byproduct of breathing, digesting and exercising. If free radicals are not controlled, they can cause cancer, heart disease and premature aging. Wild blueberries were found to have the highest level of antioxidants in a recent study of 40 fruits and vegetables so it is important to make them part of your diet, especially as you age.
Urinary tract infections are a common health problem that may be prevented by eating wild blueberries. Tannin’s, which are found in wild blueberries and cranberries, prevent the bacteria, which cause these infections from attaching to the wall of the bladder and urinary tract. This allows them to pass through the body without causing problems.
The wild blueberry is called the vision fruit for its ability to relieve eyestrain. Studies have shown that a proper diet and eating habits may help to prevent cancer. Wild blueberries contain compounds that may be able to fight cancer and may keep enzymes responsible for duplicating cancer cells from working.