Clasification of Aristotelia Chilensis
- Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
- Subkingdom: Tracheobionta -Vascular plants
- Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
- Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
- Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
- Subclass: Dilleniidae
- Order: Malvales
- Family: Elaeocarpaceae – Elaeocarpus family
- Genus: Aristotelia L’Hér.
- Species: Aristotelia chilensis
- The plant can be found at all altitudes.
- It generally grows near streams or in valleys. It thrives in humid environments.
- Full sun exposure if prefered
- Does not respond well to snow (occasional frost is tolerable)
Traditional Uses for Maqui Berries
The seeds (berries) have been used for generations to brew wine and chicha (and alcoholic beverage common in Chile). Chicha is a light fermented drink (similar to a cider). Fermentation occurs in large open vats, similar to how beer is produced. When using Maqui Berries, the Chicha is dark in color (similar to the berries). Production of Chicha is how Maqui Berries received the name “Wine Berries”. Chicha produced with Maqui Berries generally has between 1-3% achohol content.
The berries can also be consumed raw. Many Chilean children grow up picking the berries off of the bushes along rivers and streams. The berries are bitter, but tasty and leave a dark purple coloration to the mouth (and hands). It is not difficult to catch a chilean child “purple handed”.
The plant traditionally has been used to treat sore throats and diarrhea. The plants leaves are infused into a strong tea, which is digested.