maqui berries

The maqui berries, also known as Aristotelia chilensis, are a species of the Elaeocarpaceae family, native to the Valdivian temperate rainforests on the western coast of southern Chile and neighboring regions of southern Argentina.

The maqui tree can reach up to 5 m in height, having a smooth bark and thin flexible branches. The maqui blooms at the end of spring and its fruits are small, dark-purple berries. A single fully grown tree can produce up to 10 kg of berries every year. For now, the maqui is not cultivated, being widely spread in the wild. The berries are harvested each winter by the locals and sold in local markets.

While the maqui berries have both spiritual and nutritive purposes, used in rituals and ceremonies by the Mapuche Indians – one of the longest-living local civilizations – or simply eaten by people and animals alike, they also provide numerous health benefits.

These berries are one of the richest foods in antioxidants and also contain vitamin C, calcium, iron and potassium. They contain a generous amount of anti-aging anthocyanins, anti-inflammatory compounds and pigments that prevent the growth of colon cancer cells. The antioxidant compounds help prevent the oxidation of the cholesterol in the blood, which may prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks or arteries hardening. These berries also increase the amount of insulin in your body more than any other plant.

Which is the best way to consume them? They are mostly consumed raw, but they can be found as powder, milled after being dried. People all around the world use them in smoothies and fresh juices or mixed in different desserts, both for their properties and for their amazing taste. The maqui berries make a great supplement for any diet.