Healing properties found in blackberry

In 2004, the blackberry became the official state fruit of Kentucky. It's widely known for being rich in anti-oxidants and for its healing properties.

Now a central Kentucky company called Four Tigers is hard at work building what they call a pipeline of blackberry based health products, even hoping to fight cancer.

This 28 acre blackberry farm is in full bloom in Nicholas County.

Call it the product of an educated guess, something Paige Short believes in because of a science lesson many years ago, its now paying off.

"Look at them coming on, I don't think we've had a crop like this in 30 years." said Paige Short.

In fact this year there is a bumper crop of blackberries at Shumate Farm, all of them destined for a purpose.

Some will go to market and be sold as Kentucky proud products, but not the bionic berries as Short calls them.

"This blackberry will be as potent as two cups of blackberries."

These berries, outside of the blackberry patch will instead play a significant role in the world of health.

"Now what we do at Four Tigers is we concentrate this into a powder, we extract all the water, extract everything out of it-its a concentrated powder."

Through grant money, that powder is produced here in a lab at Coldstream Research Park in Lexington, with what Short calls her test tube berries.

"Its just taking it from a raw material all the way into a finished product, but its also breaking out all the health and medical properties that are in the blackberry."

Researchers have been working on developing several products using the blackberry.

So far the powder extracted from these berries has produced a wound healing cream, gum, lip balm and a tea, all products Short hopes will soon be sold over the counter.

It's the progress blackberries are making in cancer research that is the most exciting.

"We've taken our blackberry and diluted, we've applied it to 120, 000 colon cancer cells, within 24 hours it completely stopped the proliferation of the cancer cells."

And that's the ultimate goal, but back on the farm.

"Gosh Amber I can't believe we have so many blackberries!"

Paige Short still can't believe that her father's farm of blackberries could not only be one day the state's next cash crop.

"This little thing is so smart,"

Short hopes the blackberries will also be the key to ending cancer for good.

Four Tigers Short's company and the University of Kentucky have been researching blackberries now since 2004.

For more information visit their website www.four-tigers dot com.

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