The maqui berry (or Chilean wineberry) is native to the temperate rainforests of Chile and southern Argentina and ranks as one of the world's superfoods, being used both for food and dietary supplements. It has small, purplish black berries like a blackcurrant, and tastes similar to a blackberry. Berries can be eaten raw, dried or processed as juice and jam, or incorporated in beverages and processed foods.
Interest in the berries is mainly in their recorded content of anthocyanin (from the Greek compound word meaning blue flower). Anthocyanin belongs to the class of polyphenol flavonoids which help to protect cells from light damage, and there has been a lot of research into its antioxidant properties.
One study suggests that its rich source of phenolics may contribute to a reduction in the oxidative modification of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), which might therefore help to slow down the development of atherosclerosis.
Other research shows promising results in anthocyanin's evaluation as an antibacterial and antifungal agent in counteracting human pathogens in wound treatment. It is also very effective in wounds as an astringent.
Researchers believe maqui berries can help promote good cardiovascular health, and can also demonstrate an improved glucose tolerance in diabetics.