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.
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.