Looking for magic medicines in drugstores? There is always a sustainable option. Check out this ancient superfruit that has been rediscovered worldwide, assuring that nature is an endless pharmacy just for free.
Maqui (Aristotelia chilensis) is a small shrub that can get 4 or 5 meters high; it is native from the Andean-Patagonia forest zones in the depths of these South American lands, found specially in Argentina and Chile. Its fruit is an eatable fleshy berry that has been consumed by locals long before Spanish colonization. Maqui leafs are also edible and can be served in salads. Dried leafs crushed into powder are used to heal wounds, and fresh leafs infusion gargling is effective relieving throat inflammations or ulcers.
But it´s all about the berries.
They are a powerful antioxidant, with huge quantities of C vitamin that prevents body´s deterioration. They have also astringent and purifying properties.
These are the benefits that locals got to know, but recently it has been rediscovered by science and popularized worldwide.
Eternal Youth, Weight Loss and More
ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) is a method used to measure the antioxidant properties of different foods, such as red beans, cacao or blueberries that are at the top of the list. Recently Maqui ORAC measurement got surprising results. It´s 2 to 4 times higher than blueberries, 3 to 6 times higher than cherries and 5 to 6 times larger than apples.
María Angélica Damascos, a natural science doctor of the botanical department at Comahue National University (Argentina), made an exhaustive study of Patagonian fruits. Maqui ended up to prevent stress and affections caused by it and to be an effective antioxidant acting against free radicals, main causers of aging processes and other relative illnesses.
Other therapeutic effects act on sugar metabolism, accelerating the activity against adipose cells.
A Big Shot for Natural Medicine Hunters
Chris Kilham, an American that hunts natural medicines around South America, has helped popularize the Macqui berry, which he considers a “superfruit,” on his health section at Fox News. He partnered up with the Mapuche Indians, local native people that have harvested Macquis for centuries, in commercializing the Macqui berry.
Kilham relied on the research made by Juan Hancke and Rafael Burg, both doctors of the Chilean University at Valdivia, and highlighted some benefits of the berry:
- Unusual high amounts of anthocyanins (purple pigments with very high antioxidant activity) and delphinidins (potent anti-inflammatories) that prevent cardiovascular diseases, diabetes or arthritis.
- Anthocyanins also inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells.
- The antioxidant compounds help preventing cholesterol oxidation in the blood, one of the causes of cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks, strokes and hardening of the arteries.
- Consuming Maqui juice after meals can help suppressing blood glucose, preventing the formation of new fat cells.
- Antibacterial activity, aiding in preventing illnesses caused by foodborne germs.
Dr. Ward Bond is another American natural medicine hunter.
Bond classified Maqui berry as one of the “Top 20 life changing nutrients” in his most recent book.
“Maqui superberry benefits the whole body by protecting the cells from free radicals, helping to prevent oxidative stress and by promoting healthy response to inflammation,” says Bond. “Our customers are reporting outstanding health benefits related to arthritis, autism, cholesterol and blood sugar.”
Bond, together with a company called Novelle International, created different Maqui products such as powder, liquid supplement and capsules, promoting the fruit as the “highest antioxidant superfruit in the world.”
The company also claims having donated specialized computer equipment to serve Mapuche´s schools, supporting their education and sustainable harvest practices.
Further south, two Chilean brothers, Jorge and Carlos Valdivia, started commercializing Ancestral Maqui Drink, the first soda made with Maqui concentrate as its main ingredient. The brothers relate that their sodas can help prevent premature aging of the skin, decrease free radicals that oxidize LDL cholesterol in the blood while aiding neurodegenerative processes protection and weight loss.
Maqui is becoming really popular around the world, from South America to Japan. It´s a good opportunity to rediscover nature, enjoy its benefits, taste it, or just sit and admire its beauty.