About Aronia

What Are Aronia Berries?


If you are not already familiar with Aronia berries, we hope this serves as an introduction to this amazing and underutilized superfruit.


Aronia berries are the fruit of a deciduous shrub in the family Rosaceae (rose family) and the most common commercial cultivar is Aronia melanocarpa. The fruit is not a berry in the sense of a raspberry or blueberry, but is actually a pome fruit, similar to a rose hip. Formerly referred to as chokeberry (not to be confused with chokecherry) due to the high levels of tannins and astringency of raw berries, the fruit is similar in size to a blueberry but the skin is nearly black in color, hence the name Aronia melanocarpa  or “black body”.  This is due to the unusually high levels of dark pigments, or anthocyanins. Aronia berries have garnered much attention by researchers and the general public due to their high quantity of polyphenols.


Aronia is in fact native to North America and prior to the industrial revolution was commonly found growing along wet woodlands, marshes and lakeshores. Although the native plant preferred to be near water, modern cultivars are extremely hardy, drought and disease resistant and will grow in almost any soil type.


Aronia was well known to Native Americans who would use dry berries in teas and also mix them with meat and tallow to form pemmican-the original energy bar! They are mentioned as a sustaining food source in the journals of Lewis and Clark. As agricultural practices in the U.S  industrialized, the plant was unfortunately regarded as a weed and nearly eradicated.  The knowledge and appreciation of Aronia was all but forgotten. Luckily, the plant was introduced to Russia in the late 1800s and subsequently cultivated throughout central and eastern Europe.  Multiple cultivars of Aronia were developed, one of the most successful was developed in Sweden and termed Viking. That is the primary cultivar that we grow and utilize at Tyrian Industries. 


At one point, wild-type Aronia was hybridized with the genus sorbus (mountain ash) which gives it very unique properties. Not only is it incredibly high in berry polyphenols, it also contains carotenoids and catechins similar to green tea. Aronia is the best of both worlds! 


Aronia Components

Aronia is an unusually rich source of pharmacologically relevant compounds. Polyphenols, especially anthocyanins and procyanidins, make up the main group of biologically active constituents in aronia berries. These compounds are responsible for the antioxidant properties of the plant. A total of 27 polyphenolic compounds have been identified in aronia including 7 anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are the compounds that give Aronia the intense dark color and among polyphenols have been termed “super-antioxidants."


The aronia berry ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) score is approximately 16,000-20,000. In some conditions, berries have tested up to 40,000. ORAC is a common measure of antioxidant potential. By way of comparison, blueberries, which are considered a good source of healthy polyphenols, have an ORAC score of 4,000-5000.




• Aronia ranks 1st as the richest known source of dietary anthocyanins.

• Aronia ranks 1st as the highest levels of total polyphenols of berries tested, nearly twice as high as the wild elderberry, the next closest competitor.

• Aronia ranks 1st as the highest levels of quercetin among berries.

• Aronia ranks 1st as the highest levels of proanthocyanidins among berries.