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Haskap (Lonicera caerulea) – Japanese high antioxidant berry approved in EU

Haskap /honeyberry (Lonicera caerulea) plant is native to Japan & Kamchatka. Its vegetation starts very early in March-April and oval long berries ripen in the end of May, beginning of June. Well-known for its pro-health properties, the plant was traditionally used and recognized by Japanese Ainu aboriginals as "the elixir of life", a berry of good vision and long life (Thompson, 2006).

Name “haskap” comes from “hasukapu” in Japanese language. Berries have unique flavor, mix of blueberries and blackberries, with red wine-like, tartaric scent. They are rich in bioactive compounds: polyphenols (anthocyanins: C3G; chlorogenic acid, luteolin, quercetin, catechins), vitamin C, and minerals: calcium, magnesium, potassium (Rupasinghe 2018). They also contain iridoids rarely present in fruits (Kucharska 2016). Its potential health benefits have been described in details in Journal of Functional Food in May 2018 by H.P.V. Rupasinghe. Considerable evidence shows significant antioxidant, cardio-protective, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, anticancer, and anti-diabetic properties of anthocyanin-rich haskap preparations and anthocyanin alone both in vitro and in vivo. (

Health properties of the berries have been recognized by the Canadian Health Ministry and haskap entered the list of Natural Health Products as a new berry crop with high antioxidant capacity, neutralizing free radicals that damage cells and lead to ageing.

EC authorization for the placing on the market  Lonicera caerulea L. berries as a traditional food from a third country was well documented and data  demonstrate that haskap berries have a history of safe food use in Japan, where it’s been consumed fresh or in processed foods (e.g. cakes, biscuits, candies, chocolates, jam, jelly, wine, juice, soft drink, gum, noodles).


European leader of haskap production is Poland,  where almost 2000 ha of haskap orchards have been set up, both organic and conventional.


Regarding the high anthocyanin content of the haskap berries and it’s on hand availability in EU, it’s worth to consider this new fruit in every day diet.


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