Basic characteristics, origin, and distribution of Siberian Aronia
ARONIA is the general name for a deciduous indigenous shrub from northeastern North America, which belongs to the family of roses (Rosaceae) and the subfamily Maloideae. The genus Aronia includes three species: black (Aronia Melanocarpa), red (Aronia Arbutifolia), and purple (Aronia Prunifolia). Based on its membership in the apple subfamily, it is evident that botanists had in mind the structure of its fruit. Of all three species, black chokeberry has the greatest significance for humans. It is one of the most medicinal types of fruit, and one of the rare plants in the overall terrestrial flora that tolerates very low temperatures very well. Aronia Melanocarpa is extremely resistant to diseases, UV radiation and insects. In addition to the abundant natural phytoncides, the fruit’s level of resistance and the amount of its beneficial active ingredients are due to climatic conditions and soil type.
The chokeberry trunk reaches a height of up to two meters, although certain varieties can be higher. The flowers are white, arranged in clusters, and typically appear in April. This leads to fruit in the form of dark blue berries grouped in clusters of 5 to 15 pieces. The leaves are green, attaining reddish shades by the autumn. The shape of the leaves is oval and slightly serrated along its edge.
Aronia Melanocarpa originates from North America, but it gained its popularity in Russia, where it has been used in the diet for two centuries. It thrives in colder terrains, with a harsh mountain climate, allowing it to spread rapidly in Siberia and become a practically indigenous species. Today, black chokeberry (Aronia Melanocarpa) is generally called Siberian chokeberry, precisely for the aforementioned reason.
The English name of this plant is Chokeberry, due to its astringent quality causing difficulty in swallowing, much like hawthorne and quince, and even medlar that has not been bletted. The reason for the astringency is a high concentration of tannins and polyphenols. This feature led to many fruit growers referring to it as a "Russian quince", although its fruit looks like a blueberry. The Russian name for chokeberry would translate as "black-fruited mountain ash". In some parts of our country, it is also called "black quince". Of all the plants known to our people, the chokeberry fruits are most reminiscent of black hawthorn.
Aronia was among the most important wild fruits first known to and used by the North American Indians (Abenaki and Potawatomi) as a food source and in traditional medicine, as described in the books by Smith in 1933 and Rousseau in 1947.
The time of year during which aronia ripened was called the “month of black cherries”. The Native Americans utilized the whole bush, using it both as medicine and as food. Also, the dried root was chewed and placed on wounds to stop bleeding.
The bark was cooked and used together with other additives as a remedy against stomach and intestinal problems, diarrhea, and to regulate digestion. The teas, which were made from the bark and roots, were used against coughs, tuberculosis, stomach pains, intestinal worms, and malaria. Such teas have also been used as sedatives and appetite stimulants. A strong, black, astringent tea was even made by boiling twigs and was used against high fever, colds and body chills.
The fruit in the form of berries was dried and ground for use in soups, stews, and hard cakes. In the interior of British Columbia, dried chokeberry is often eaten with salmon or salmon eggs. By making cakes from fat, dried meat and aronia berries, the Indians managed to preserve meat and other foods in the winter.
Chokeberry wood was used to build tents, bows and arrows, skewers, digging sticks, pipes and tongs. Aronia was widely used by the Blackfoot and Plains Cree tribes. The Navajo Indians considered chokeberry a sacred plant and used its wood to make prayer sticks. Shuswap Indians mixed fruit with bear fat to make colors for pictograms.
Aronia was also used by European settlers to North America, where once again various parts of chokeberry formed the basis of their popular home remedy medicine. Teas made from the bark were used as sedatives, and fruit and bark extracts were used as additions to cough and cold preparations. In the prairies, the fruit has long been used for jellies, syrups, sauces, jams, and wine. It is worth noting that it has also been used as a windshield (in multiple rows), as a decoration, for purposes of improving wild animal habitats, for stabilizing slopes, and erosion control. Its spread in North America may be the result of intensive deforestation by European settlers.
The northernmost reach of the aronia habitat is in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, and southernmost in California, New Mexico and Texas. In Canada, chokeberry spreads from British Columbia in the west to Newfoundland in the east. It also grows in the western U.S. as well as in the Midwest in a belt spreading eastward from Nebraska, and all the way south into Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and North Carolina.
Aronia Melanocarpa was introduced to Europe in the middle of the eighteenth century from the eastern part of North America. In Europe, it attracted attention primarily because of its appearance, since its white flowers, blooming in March, are considered among the most beautiful among shrubby plants. Particularly fascinating are the chokeberry leaves in their Fall colors, which seem to glow with a special red color. For this reason, the black chokeberry (Aronia Melanocarpa) received in 1972 the award of the Royal Horticultural Association in England.
Aronia arrived in Russia via Germany in the 19th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, the famous Russian biologist Ivan Michurin experimented crossing chokeberry with quince and medlar. Since 1946, it has been recognized as a fruit species in the Soviet Union, where larger scale planting subsequently began.
Siberian chokeberry is becoming the subject of intensive scientific research and numerous studies. Due to the abundance of active principles and thanks to numerous positive results in research on the preventive and healing effects of ripe fruits, Russian scientists have accorded it the status of a medicinal plant. Following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, chokeberry fruits were used to alleviate human health problems caused by radiation.
ARONIA TREASURE juice are derived from Siberian Aronia, which grows in the north of the Eurasian continent at temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius for most of the year, in an area at least 500 miles from the first industrial zones. Juice production is performed by cold squeezing in a closed system, pasteurization and bottling into dark double glass flasks. The juice does not contain any preservatives, additives, emulsifiers or added sugar, and also does not contain gluten. Measurements have shown that the Aronia Treasure antioxidant level of ORAC6 is over 20,000 units and it is recommended to take a daily dose of 50 ml before breakfast. One bottle of Aronia Treasure contains 750 ml of juice, which is sufficient for two weeks of consumption. An open bottle should be kept in the refrigerator.
These chokeberry juices have recently become also available in the US market. Supermarkets and stores around Chicago, as well as further out, are supplied through AB Company. Aronia can also be purchased online through the importer ArmedinaUSA or on Amazon. More information about the products themselves can be found on the website: aroniatreasure.me.