The Mysterious Heart Health Fruit – Aronia Berries May Help With Stress and Disease
Aronia is a genus of leafy deciduous bushes, also known as chokeberries, in the mint family Rosaceae, native to eastern North America, and commonly found in damp wooded areas and swamps. The genus Aronia has been successfully hybridized, and there are now three common species in cultivation. These are more temperate to cold tolerant than their European and Asian relatives, which may account for why Aronia became so popular in the Americas.
The most familiar species in the family, which is called the Aronia officinalis or the common name Aronia rubra, is the fleshy purple fruit with red flesh that is most easily seen when the fruit is ripe. The name red chokeberry comes from the red flesh that appears at the top when the fruit is cut. The other species of the Aronia genus are the fleshless, seedless, brown-black fruits with various shades of red and black in their flesh, and the Aronia neem arbutifolia, which have a yellowish cast to its flesh. Neem has a stronger aroma than the common name. Both species belong to the mint family (Lamiaceae).
The most popular variety, which is often planted in California, is the Aronia bitternutus or the red chokeberry. With an impressive history that is both fascinating and colorful, the Aronia species was highly hunted by early settlers and was even used in some instances as a source of food in the form of tea. The chokeberries produced in this manner are extremely sweet and have a distinct tart taste. The flavor is most commonly found on the stem of the plant.
Because the Red Pulse or Roasted Root variety is so popular, it was only natural that many botanists, and even medical professionals, would want to know more about Aronia rosacea. In order to fully describe its essential characteristics and distinguish it from other related species in the rosaceae family, this essential nature must be known. It has two types of flowers and fruit. One is the fruit, with an oblong oval shape resembling a cherry tomato, while the other is the flower, which is about half a foot tall and comes with an array of red flowers, which have a distinctly unpleasant smell.
The fruit itself is quite small, about the size of a silver dollar, and its color ranges from a deep purple to a light blush. It has a pleasant, sweet taste, like a blend of cranberry and prune, or a raspberry with a hint of black licorice. Its seeds are a dark purple, about two-thirds the size of a pencil eraser, and are surrounded by a white hard shell. Because the fruit itself is so small, it is said to grow quickly, up to eight inches per month, although this may vary from locale to locale.
While this amazing superfood may provide many health benefits, including possible anti-aging effects, it may also be effective for battling certain types of cancer and arthritis. There are reports, mostly anecdotal, of its success as an arthritis pain relief and as a cancer preventive. Although there are no rigorous scientific studies currently available, those who may be interested in trying it should speak to their doctor or naturopath for recommendations. For those with chronic diseases or immune system deficiencies such as HIV/AIDS or diabetes, taking some of these berries may be particularly important, since they are generally considered a milder form of Hoodia and have almost no effect on these patients.