Chokeberries (aronia berries) are cultivated both as ornamental plants and as food products. The name “chokeberry” comes from the astringency of the fruits, which create the sensation of making one’s mouth pucker. The sour berries can be eaten raw off the bush, but are more frequently processed. They can be found in wine, jam, syrup, juice, soft spreads, tea, salsa and extracts and tinctures. Aronia is also used as a flavoring or colorant for beverages or yogurts. The chokeberry bushes are also attractive ornamental plants for gardens and are very resistant to drought, insects, pollution, and disease.
What do chokeberries contain?
Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) has attracted scientific interest due to its deep purple, almost black pigmentation that arises from dense contents of polyphenols, especially anthocyanins. Total polyphenol content is 1752 mg per 100 g dry weight, which is among the highest measured in plants to date. The plant produces these pigments mainly in the leaves and skin of the berries to protect the pulp and seeds from constant exposure to ultraviolet radiation and production of free radicals.
What are the benefits of chokeberries?
Numerous health-promoting activities-namely, antioxidative, antimutagenic, anticancer, cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, gastroprotective, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, radioprotective, and immunomodulatory-have been demonstrated for black chokeberry extracts by both in vitro and in in vivo studies.