Prunus spinosa (blackthorn, or sloe) is a species of Prunus native to Europe, western Asia, and locally in northwest Africa. It is also locally naturalised in New Zealand and eastern North America



The shrub, with its savage thorns, is traditionally used in Northern Europe and Britain in making a hedge against cattle or a “cattle-proof” hedge.

The fruit is similar to a small damson or plum, suitable for preserves, but rather tart and astringent for eating, unless it is picked after the first few days of autumn frost. This effect can be reproduced by freezing harvested sloes.

The juice is used in the manufacture of spurious port wine, and used as an adulterant to impart roughness to genuine port. In rural Britain, so-called sloe gin is made from the fruit, though this is not a true gin, but an infusion of gin with the fruit and sugar to produce a liqueur. In Navarre, Spain, a popular liqueur called pacharan is made with sloes. In France a similar liqueur called épine or épinette or troussepinette is made from the young shoots in spring. In Italy, the infusion of spirit with the fruits and sugar produces a liqueur called bargnolino (or sometimes prunella) – as well as in France where it is called “prunelle”. Wine made from fermented sloes is made in Britain, and in Germany and other central European countries. Sloes can also be made into jam and, used in fruit pies, and if preserved in vinegar are similar in taste to Japanese umeboshi. The juice of the berries dyes linen a reddish color that washes out to a durable pale blue.


Works as a Blood Cleanser

The flowers, leaves and bark of prunus spinosa have depurative properties. In other words, they help in blood purification and detoxification to remove impurities from the body fluids. The flowers, in particular, are rich in rutin and quercitin that aid in purification of blood. It prevents gout and rheumatism as well.

Improves Digestion

Prunus spinosa or blackthorn, improves digestion, relieves constipation, heals dyspepsia, reduces bloating, and cures diarrhea, especially in children.

Furthermore, herbal tea prepared by steeping two teaspoons of dried blackthorn flowers in a cup of water stimulates appetite. Simply consuming blackthorn jam or marmalade cures indigestion or upset stomach.

Treats Kidney and Bladder Problems

Flowers of prunus spinosa can be used to remove fluid retention, treat kidney stones and other kidney problems because of their diuretic properties. In addition, the herb is considered good for managing bladder spasms. It also helps relieves cramps in the stomach and nerve pain.

Reduces Inflammation of Mouth and Pharynx

The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines has approved the use of this herb for getting rid of mild inflammation of mouth and pharyngeal mucosa.

When dealing with sore throat, you can gargle with fresh juice extracted from ripe sloe berries. Furthermore, you may gargle with an infusion prepared from blackthorn leaves to heal inflamed tonsils.

To prepare this infusion boil about four blackthorn leaves in 16 ounces of water for 10 minutes. Strain the solution. Gargle with it two to three times in a day.

You can also make blackthorn blossom syrup by adding 450 g of white sugar and two handfuls of blackthorn blossoms in 4.5 liters of boiling water. When it cools, store the syrup in sterilized bottles. It can be mixed with warm water and used as a gargle to treat tonsillitis and laryngitis. You can add it in yogurt as well.

Treats Breathing Disorders

Preparations containing flowers of prunus spinosa are considered useful for the treatment of ailments of the respiratory tract. Due to their expectorant properties, the flowers can fight common cold and cough. A decoction prepared from the bark of this tree can be taken to lower fever.

Works as an Excellent Beauty Remedy

The pulp of ripened sloe berries is combined with other ingredients to make commercially available astringent face masks to enhance your beauty.

Besides, you can apply blackthorn extract on your skin to maintain skin elasticity for younger looking skin as it is rich in vitamin C and tannins. Application of blackthorn oil can prevent stretch marks.

Relieves Fatigue and General Exhaustion

Drinking water infused with powdered blackthorn bark has a calming effect on the nerves. Thus, it helps relieve fatigue and boosts vitality. In addition, blackthorn extract mixed in tea or water is also useful in this regard.

When dealing with issues like insomnia, shivers, lack of interest, etc. due to menopause, one can steep half a teaspoon of dried blackthorn flowers in a cup of boiling water for about five minutes. Strain and drink this herbal tonic when it cools.


This species can cause photosensitization of the skin.


We currently have no information for Interactions of Prunus Spinosa

Other names



Source: Wikipedia,
















































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