Huckleberry | Vaccinium parvifolium

Family: Ericaceae (Heather family)

Parts Used: Berry & Leaf

Appearance: Huckleberry is a deciduous shrub up to 4 meters tall with green branches and small, thin, oval leaves with smooth edges. The flowers are small, pink and urn-shaped that grow singly along the stems. In the early summer, small pink to orange-red berries form ranging in size with a norm of about 1 cm in diameter. Huckleberries love to grow in shaded coastal coniferous forests, often using rotten logs and stumps as their nurseries. 

Harvesting Methods: The best time to harvest the berries is in mid-summer when they are round with a nice vibrant red colour. When the berries are fully ripe, you can simply shake the branches with a large basket underneath to collect the falling berries, or spend the day in the sun collecting the berries by hand.

Medicinal Use: As with all Vaccinium species, the berries are full of vitamins, minerals and flavonoids to help reduce inflammation and boost your nutritional status. The leaves are quite acidic, which makes them a useful medicine to treat alkaline pH cystitis. The leaves also help modify blood sugar elevations in Type 1 diabetes, a disorder manifested early in life by autoimmune destruction of the pancreatic cells that produce insulin. Some people with allergies that cause skin reactions may benefit from taking a tea as the leaves have shown to produce an anti-inflammatory effect within the body.

Preparation:

  • A tea can be made from the leaves and enjoyed at 3-4 ounces per day up to 3x/day

  • The berries can be eaten fresh, frozen for winter use, or made into delicious jams, cakes, etc

Caution: Due to the acidity of the leaves, speak to your healthcare provider to make sure Huckleberry leaf is right for you.

Make Your Own Natural Medicine

Making your own medicine is a very empowering experience. Learn how to make your own medicinal teas, tinctures, salves, oils, poultices and compresses so you can heal yourself.