Aronia. An American Original

The story of Aronia is the story of a homecoming. A fruit native to North America, Aronia virtually disappeared from this continent only to experience a renaissance in Europe. A century later, farmers in the American Midwest are cultivating a comeback for this dark, tart American superfruit. Americans are rediscovering Aronia.

flavonoid-superstarAronia. The Flavonoid Superstar™

Aronia (Aronia melanocarpa) sometimes known as black chokeberry, is a deciduous shrub that, like other superfruits native to America including blueberries, cranberries, and Concord grapes, once grew wild. Aronia berries are similar in size to cultivated blueberries, but there the similarity ends. Aronia is distinguished by its dark, purple-black color and its surprising, tart taste. These unique features are due to high concentrations of anthocyanin (dark pigments) and proanthocyanidins (tart tannins)–two flavonoids (plant compounds) with extraordinary antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Compared with blueberries, Aronia has 3 times the antioxidant potency.

These flavonoids have protective properties that make Aronia a super hardy fruit–and a super healthy one. America’s earliest inhabitants enjoyed wild Aronia in healing teas and medicines. But by the 1800s, Aronia had disappeared as an edible fruit–only to reappear in Europe.

Aronia Berries Abroad

As the story goes, Aronia berry bushes were brought to Poland and other Eastern European countries in the mid-19th century, where they were successfully cultivated and marketed as superfruit ingredients. A thriving market for Aronia juices, teas, syrups, wines, supplements and nutraceuticals developed. Today, Aronia products of all kinds are prized by an ever-growing European market.

Interest from nutrition researchers has exploded, too, as scientists around the world have focused on the potential health benefits of flavonoid-rich fruits. Aronia, which is a leader in both anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin content, has drawn increasing attention for its potential role in combatting chronic diseases, from heart disease and cancer to diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease

Aronia The Beautiful

Meanwhile in its native land, Aronia was cultivated primarily as an ornamental shrub. Aronia bushes with their beautiful, deep-dark berries flourished as decorative landscaping, yet their owners remained unaware of the antioxidant powerhouses in their backyards.

All this changed by the turn of the 21st century. Farmers in North America saw what was happening in Europe and decided to bring Aronia home. Plants were reintroduced at farms throughout the Midwest and Canada–and Aronia started making news.

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Aronia. America’s Super Dark Superfruit.

Today, Aronia is poised to reclaim first place among the pantheon of American superfruit originals. As the #1 flavonoid fruit, with significantly more antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties than blueberries, cranberries or Concord Grapes, Aronia is the American superfruit whose time has come.