Hailed as the ultimate “superfruit,” the maqui berry (Aristotelia Chilensis) is quickly gaining popularity among the specialty food and organic sectors. Native to Chile and southern Argentina, this antioxidant-rich berry is relatively new to the scene, although the indigenous Mapuche people are thought to have been consuming it for years as well as utilizing its healing and astringent properties. The small purplish-black berries grow to several millimeters in diameter in temperate rainforest environments, and are becoming increasingly harvested for commercial use.

The maqui berry is known for its sweet taste in addition to an extremely high level of antioxidants said to rival that of its more mainstream counterpart, the acai berry. Published ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) levels of antioxidants are under debate, with some maqui berry proponents touting levels at three times the antioxidant value of acai. Acai advocates, on the other hand, are challenging this claim and pointing out that the acai berry holds omega-3 properties, whereas the maqui berry does not.

Official numbers aside, it’s clear that the maqui berry holds impressive antioxidant values. High anthocyanin levels, which give the berries their deep purple pigment, are reported to fight cancer and inflammation. Other benefits of this powerful berry are said to include the oxidation prevention of cholesterol in the bloodstream, thus boosting cardiovascular health, as well as antibacterial properties which may help reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

To get the best of super berry fruits, US based Juve Maqui Juice offers a blend of pure maqui and acai berries with blueberries, pomegranate and raspberries, presented in a 750ml dark glass bottle. Advantage Health Matters has introduced freeze dried and cold milled maqui berries, a new addition to its wide selection of superfoods, presented in a convenient and attractive re-sealable pouch.  The maqui berry is gradually conquering new venues through many reliable brands,  and more consumers are discovering the very real benefits of the small but powerful Queen berry of the South.