Latin Name: Vaccinium sp.
Taste: Sweet and tart
Quotes from Chinese historical sources
Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Jun;51(6):675-83
Berry anthocyanins as novel antioxidants in human health and disease prevention
Zafra-Stone S, Yasmin T, Bagchi M, Chatterjee A, Vinson JA, Bagchi D.
Edible berries, a potential source of natural anthocyanin antioxidants, have demonstrated a broad spectrum of biomedical functions. These include cardiovascular disorders, advancing age-induced oxidative stress, inflammatory responses, and diverse degenerative diseases. Berry anthocyanins also improve neuronal and cognitive brain functions, ocular health as well as protect genomic DNA integrity. This chapter demonstrates the beneficial effects of wild blueberry, bilberry, cranberry, elderberry, raspberry seeds, and strawberry in human health and disease prevention. Furthermore, this chapter will discuss the pharmacological benefits of a novel combination of selected berry extracts known as OptiBerry, a combination of wild blueberry, wild bilberry, cranberry, elderberry, raspberry seeds, and strawberry, and its potential benefit over individual berries. Recent studies in our laboratories have demonstrated that OptiBerry exhibits high antioxidant efficacy as shown by its high oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) values, novel antiangiogenic and antiatherosclerotic activities, and potential cytotoxicity towards Helicobacter pylori, a noxious pathogen responsible for various gastrointestinal disorders including duodenal ulcer and gastric cancer, as compared to individual berry extracts. OptiBerry also significantly inhibited basal MCP-1 and inducible NF-kappabeta transcriptions as well as the inflammatory biomarker IL-8, and significantly reduced the ability to form hemangioma and markedly decreased EOMA cell-induced tumor growth in an in vivo model. Overall, berry anthocyanins trigger genetic signaling in promoting human health and disease prevention.
Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Jun;51(6):652-64
Cranberry and blueberry: evidence for protective effects against cancer and vascular diseases.
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, North Dartmouth, MA 02747, USA.
Growing evidence from tissue culture, animal, and clinical models suggests that the flavonoid-rich fruits of the North American cranberry and blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) have the potential ability to limit the development and severity of certain cancers and vascular diseases including atherosclerosis, ischemic stroke, and neurodegenerative diseases of aging. The fruits contain a variety of phytochemicals that could contribute to these protective effects, including flavonoids such as anthocyanins, flavonols, and proanthocyanidins; substituted cinnamic acids and stilbenes; and triterpenoids such as ursolic acid and its esters. Cranberry and blueberry constituents are likely to act by mechanisms that counteract oxidative stress, decrease inflammation, and modulate macromolecular interactions and expression of genes associated with disease processes. The evidence suggests a potential role for dietary cranberry and blueberry in the prevention of cancer and vascular diseases, justifying further research to determine how the bioavailability and metabolism of berry phytonutrients influence their activity in vivo.
Anticancer Res. 2007 Mar-Apr;27(2):937-48
Inhibition of cancer cell proliferation and suppression of TNF-induced activation of NFkappaB by edible berry juice
Boivin D, Blanchette M, Barrette S, Moghrabi A, Béliveau R
Laboratoire de Médecine Moléculaire, Hôpital Ste-Justine-UQAM, Centre de Cancérologie Charles-Bruneau, Centre de Recherche de l'Hôpital Sainte-Justine, 3175, Chemin Côte-Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, Québec, Canada
BACKGROUND: Berries contain several phytochemicals, such as phenolic acids, proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins and other flavonoids. There has been growing interest in a variety of potential chemopreventive activities of edible berries. The potential chemopreventive activity of a variety of small berries cultivated or collected in the province of Québec, Canada were evaluated here. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Strawberry, raspberry, black currant, red currant, white currant, gooseberry, high-bush blueberry, low-bush blueberry, velvet leaf blueberry, serviceberry, blackberry, black chokeberry, sea buckthorn and cranberry were evaluated for antioxidant capacity, anti-proliferative activity, anti-inflammatory activity, induction of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest. RESULTS: The growth of various cancer cell lines, including those of stomach, prostate, intestine and breast, was strongly inhibited by raspberry, black currant, white currant, gooseberry, velvet leaf blueberry, low-bush blueberry, sea buckthorn and cranberry juice, but not (or only slightly) by strawberry, high-bush blueberry, serviceberry, red currant, or blackberry juice. No correlation was found between the anti-proliferative activity of berry juices and their antioxidant capacity (p > 0.05). The inhibition of cancer cell proliferation by berry juices did not involve caspase-dependent apoptosis, but appeared to involve cell-cycle arrest, as evidenced by down-regulation of the expression of cdk4, cdk6, cyclin D1 and cyclin D3. Of the 13 berries tested, juice of 6 significantly inhibited the TNF-induced activation of COX-2 expression and activation of the nuclear transcription factor NFkappaB. CONCLUSION: These results illustrate that berry juices have striking differences in their potential chemopreventive activity and that the inclusion of a variety of berries in the diet might be useful for preventing the development of tumors.