The Blackthorn has shown to have anti-cancer effects: the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Italian National Institute of Health) certifies the beneficia



Before being replaced by other varieties of fruit plants, the Blackthorn, also called sloe, was widely cultivated in Italy as this wild plant (scientifically known as Prunus spinosa) can be used in many different ways. It’s easy to see just how “wild” it really is by the large thorns and dense branches that make it an almost impenetrable barrier and therefore ideal as a hedge to separate different fields and properties. The flowers of this plant are also used in herbal medicine and the fruits can be eaten as is or used to prepare preserves and jams.

The flowers of the wild blackthorn have diuretic and laxative properties. They are also a relaxant and are often used to prepare herbal teas and decoctions. The fruits look very much like common plums, but have opposite properties: they remove liquids from the intestine, increase appetite and have a toning and revitalising effect on the body.

Blackthorn was recently discovered to have anticancer properties. Some important laboratory studies have shown that it has the ability to destroy up to 78% of diseased cells. While research continues to better explain this mechanism, the Istituto Superiore di Sanità has approved its use as a dietary supplement.

Many syrups and liqueurs are also made with blackthorn, such as the famous Bargnolino, a typical digestive liqueur from the Emilian provinces of Parma and Piacenza and the English distillate Sloe gin, a home-made variant of English gin that has been present in England for many centuries, as the journalist Marco Cremonesi tells us in his blog “Barfly” published in the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera.