Silver Berry

Silver Berry

Elaeagnus umbellata

Silverberries are rich in Vitamin C and polyphenols that make them beneficial for supporting the treatment of cough, fever, urine retention, body aches, and hypertension

  • Plant type: Annual
  • Other names: Autumn olive, Thorny olive, Russian olive
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Berries
  • Side Effects: None
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About Silver Berry

Silverberry is an invasive deciduous shrub that typically achieves a height of 10-11 ft, spreading a dense crown that bears sharp thorns, leaves, and pleasantly fragrant clusters of pale yellowish-white flowers. It produces alternate leaves with a wavy margin. In early spring, its leaves are covered in silver scales that wear off during summer and the leaves turn much greener than what they used to be before.

The silverberry plant serves as a food source for grouse, moose, deer, and elk during winters. Historically the Blackfeet used the peeled silverberries raw and for making soups and candies. Its dry yet mealy taste is perfect for making wines and for eating it raw or fried. Its bark is used to formulate a salve that helps in treating frostbites. Its bark was also made into strong ropes, mats, headbands, baskets, and even clothes. Its highly fragrant flowers are used to manufacture perfumes and massage oils.


Silverberries are rich in Vitamin C and polyphenols that make them beneficial for supporting the treatment of watery diarrhea, cough, cancer, hypercholesterolemia, fever, urine retention, body aches, hypertension, and foul sores. 

Growing

It is best to grow silverberry plants in the fall as planting during winters or summers poses the danger of frost and heatwaves, respectively. Silverberry can thrive in almost any type of soil, however, soil mix and garden soil is an ideal match for it.

Silverberry is a drought-tolerant shrub that requires full sun to part shade. It can be planted indoors in a pot, but it should then be repotted every 2 to 3 years to keep it going.

Silverberry is an extremely fast-growing network of shrubs that can reach a height of 5 to 10 ft in no time. Its bushy aura often comes in handy to control soil erosion, provide shade and shelter, and serve as an ornamental hedge. 

Silverberry enters its blooming phase in May/June, producing cone-shaped flowers that are heavily scented. They are pollinated by insects that further transform the flowers into elongated fruits that resemble the olives. These fruits contain seeds that are majorly dispersed by the birds that help in the perpetuation of the life cycle of silverberry.

 

Harvesting

Silverberries can be harvested during spring when they are fully ripe and all red.

Silverberry fruits are harvested simply by hand.

Store the silverberries in a container lined with a paper towel. The container can be loosely covered and placed in the refrigerator. 

 

Usage

Silverberries impart myriads of fringe benefits that make it fruitful for catering to a plethora of maladies. 

  • Tincture - Silverberry fruits are tinctured in grain alcohol to yield silverberry tincture.
  • Tea - 1 tsp of dried silverberry powder is added to a cup of hot boiling water to form a silverberry tea.
  • Decoction - Silverberry bark is boiled in water according to the monograph to formulate a decoction.
  • Syrup - Silverberry fruits are simmered in sugar solution (as specified in the monograph) to form a silverberry syrup.
  • Salve - Dried silverberry flowers-infused olive oil is thickened with melted beeswax pellets to formulate a salve.
  • Infused oil - Dried silverberry flowers are infused in olive oil for 2 to 3 weeks on a sunny windowsill to form an infused oil.