Korean black raspberry

Last Updated: September 28 2022

Rubus coreanus (Korean Black Raspberry) is a dark berry sometimes brewed as a wine called bokbunja ju; it has a high levels of anthocyanins of the cyanidin type, and other tannin structures that underlie its antioxidant and proerectile properties.

Korean black raspberry is most often used for


Rubus coreanus (Korean black raspberry) is a berry from the raspberry family yet contains such a large content of anthocyanins that it is seen as nutritionally comparable to blueberry and related berries. When looking at Korean black raspberries though, they seem to carry bioactives from the raspberry family as well as the anthocyanins making them (in all practical terms) some manner of naturally occurring hybrid.

The berries are a commerical product in Korea for the most part (hence the name) and are used to make jams, jellies, food products, and most notably a wine called bokbunja ju. The unripe berries (not so much the ripe, since whatever main bioactive is in there seems to decline during the aging process) are a medicinal product for blood flow and circulation as well as male sexuality (aphrodisia and erectile function).

When looking at the berries, they are for the most part comparable to blueberries or aronia melanocarpa due to being a good source of anthocyanins. There are some unique properties of these berries though, and they seem to be related to calcium metabolism. Specifically, the berries reduce calcium release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum of cells when it would otherwise be stimulated (in a manner that can drop below baseline levels if high enough in concentration) and due to this the contraction seen in vessels including the penis that would normally occur from calcium release is attenuated.

A rat study has noted abnormally high increases in testosterone (700%) but such an increase has failed in the pilot study on healthy men. We cannot fully conclude that a testosterone boost cannot occur in men (since there were difference in the sources of the berry, stage of ripening, and dosage) but at this moment it does not look too promising.

Also tied into the testosterone would be an increase in spermatogenesis and sperm motility seen in male rats fed the unripe berries, which oddly seems to occur without changes in testicular size. This has not yet been tested in humans.

What else is Korean black raspberry known as?
Note that Korean black raspberry is also known as:
  • Korean Black Raspberry
  • Rubus Tokkura
  • Cha Tian Pao
  • Bokbunja
  • Rubi Fructus
  • Rubus Coreanus
Korean black raspberry should not be confused with:
Dosage information

The one human study on the subject matter used 30g of the freeze dried berries and noted antioxidative and liver benefits associated with that dose. For the food product it is probably a good starting point, and there is not enough information to assess if one can use bokbunja ju for health reasons.

Many other studies in rats use the supplemental doses of 100-500 mg/kg of the unripe berry powder. In human terms, this gives us estimates of (the following is dry weight of the berry):

  • 1,100-5,450 mg for a 150lb person
  • 1,450-7,300 mg for a 200lb person
  • 1,800-9,000 mg for a 250lb person

If using unripe berries with a water content, it will need to be recalculated.

Supplements Demystified: Get Our Unbiased, Evidence-Based Guide

Examine Database: Korean black raspberry
What works and what doesn't?

Unlock the full potential of Examine

Get started

Don't miss out on the latest research

1.^Subramanian D, Jang YH, Kim DH, Kang BJ, Heo MSDietary effect of Rubus coreanus ethanolic extract on immune gene expression in white leg shrimp, Penaeus vannameiFish Shellfish Immunol.(2013 Sep)
5.^Lee JH, Chae MR, Sung HH, Ko M, Kang SJ, Lee SWEndothelium-independent relaxant effect of Rubus coreanus extracts in corpus cavernosum smooth muscleJ Sex Med.(2013 Jul)
6.^Zhao C, Kim HK, Kim SZ, Chae HJ, Cui WS, Lee SW, Jeon JH, Park JKWhat is the role of unripe Rubus coreanus extract on penile erectionPhytother Res.(2011 Jul)
7.^Im SE, Nam TG, Lee H, Han MW, Heo HJ, Koo SI, Lee CY, Kim DOAnthocyanins in the ripe fruits of Rubus coreanus Miquel and their protective effect on neuronal PC-12 cellsFood Chem.(2013 Aug 15)
10.^Bhandary B, Lee GH, Marahatta A, Lee HY, Kim SY, So BO, Kwon JW, Song JY, Lee HK, Kim HR, Chae SW, Chae HJWater extracts of immature Rubus coreanus regulate lipid metabolism in liver cellsBiol Pharm Bull.(2012)
11.^Yang HM, Oh SM, Lim SS, Shin HK, Oh YS, Kim JKAntiinflammatory activities of Rubus coreanus depend on the degree of fruit ripeningPhytother Res.(2008 Jan)
12.^Bhandary B, Lee HY, Back HI, Park SH, Kim MG, Kwon JW, Song JY, Lee HK, Kim HR, Chae SW, Chae HJImmature Rubus coreanus Shows a Free Radical-Scavenging Effect and Inhibits Cholesterol Synthesis and Secretion in Liver CellsIndian J Pharm Sci.(2012 May)
17.^Patel AV, Rojas-Vera J, Dacke CGTherapeutic constituents and actions of Rubus speciesCurr Med Chem.(2004 Jun)
18.^Ju HK, Cho EJ, Jang MH, Lee YY, Hong SS, Park JH, Kwon SWCharacterization of increased phenolic compounds from fermented Bokbunja (Rubus coreanus Miq.) and related antioxidant activityJ Pharm Biomed Anal.(2009 Apr 5)
20.^Lee S, You Y, Yoon HG, Kim K, Park J, Kim S, Ho JN, Lee J, Shim S, Jun WFatigue-alleviating effect on mice of an ethanolic extract from Rubus coreanusBiosci Biotechnol Biochem.(2011)
22.^Kim SK, Kim H, Kim SA, Park HK, Kim WAnti-inflammatory and anti-superbacterial activity of polyphenols isolated from black raspberryKorean J Physiol Pharmacol.(2013 Feb)
24.^Sohn DW, Kim HY, Kim SD, Lee EJ, Kim HS, Kim JK, Hwang SY, Cho YH, Kim SWElevation of intracavernous pressure and NO-cGMP activity by a new herbal formula in penile tissues of spontaneous hypertensive male ratsJ Ethnopharmacol.(2008 Nov 20)
25.^Kim S, Kim CK, Lee KS, Kim JH, Hwang H, Jeoung D, Choe J, Won MH, Lee H, Ha KS, Kwon YG, Kim YMAqueous extract of unripe Rubus coreanus fruit attenuates atherosclerosis by improving blood lipid profile and inhibiting NF-κB activation via phase II gene expressionJ Ethnopharmacol.(2013 Mar 27)
27.^Bhandary B, Lee GH, So BO, Kim SY, Kim MG, Kwon JW, Song JY, Lee HK, Kim HR, Chae SW, Chae HJRubus coreanus inhibits oxidized-LDL uptake by macrophages through regulation of JNK activationAm J Chin Med.(2012)
28.^Robison WG Jr, Nagata M, Laver N, Hohman TC, Kinoshita JHDiabetic-like retinopathy in rats prevented with an aldose reductase inhibitorInvest Ophthalmol Vis Sci.(1989 Nov)
30.^Jung KA, Han D, Kwon EK, Lee CH, Kim YEAntifatigue effect of Rubus coreanus Miquel extract in miceJ Med Food.(2007 Dec)
32.^Seo YC, Choi WY, Lee CG, Cha SW, Kim YO, Kim JC, Drummen GP, Lee HYEnhanced immunomodulatory activity of gelatin-encapsulated Rubus coreanus Miquel nanoparticlesInt J Mol Sci.(2011)
33.^Park JH, Oh SM, Lim SS, Lee YS, Shin HK, Oh YS, Choe NH, Park JH, Kim JKInduction of heme oxygenase-1 mediates the anti-inflammatory effects of the ethanol extract of Rubus coreanus in murine macrophagesBiochem Biophys Res Commun.(2006 Dec 8)
35.^Kim HH, Choi PH, Yoo JS, Jeon H, Chae BS, Park JS, Kim SH, Shin TYRipe fruit of Rubus coreanus inhibits mast cell-mediated allergic inflammationInt J Mol Med.(2012 Feb)
36.^Shin TY, Kim SH, Lee ES, Eom DO, Kim HMAction of Rubus coreanus extract on systemic and local anaphylaxisPhytother Res.(2002 Sep)
38.^Oh M, Bae SY, Lee JH, Cho KJ, Kim KH, Chung MSAntiviral effects of black raspberry (Rubus coreanus) juice on foodborne viral surrogatesFoodborne Pathog Dis.(2012 Oct)
39.^Jeon JH, Shin S, Park D, Jang JY, Choi BI, Kang JK, Joo SS, Hwang SY, Kim JC, Kim BY, Kim MR, Kim YBFermentation filtrates of Rubus coreanus relax the corpus cavernosum and increase sperm count and motilityJ Med Food.(2008 Sep)
40.^Lee JE, Park E, Lee JE, Auh JH, Choi HK, Lee J, Cho S, Kim JHEffects of a Rubus coreanus Miquel supplement on plasma antioxidant capacity in healthy Korean menNutr Res Pract.(2011 Oct)
41.^Ko SH, Choi SW, Ye SK, Yoo S, Kim HS, Chung MHComparison of anti-oxidant activities of seventy herbs that have been used in Korean traditional medicineNutr Res Pract.(2008 Fall)
42.^Wahid F, Jung H, Khan T, Hwang KH, Park JS, Chang SC, Khan MA, Kim YYEffects of Rubus coreanus extract on visual processes in bullfrog's eyeJ Ethnopharmacol.(2011 Nov 18)
44.^Kim Y, Kim J, Lee SM, Lee HA, Park S, Kim Y, Kim JHChemopreventive effects of Rubus coreanus Miquel on prostate cancerBiosci Biotechnol Biochem.(2012)
45.^Sohn SI, Rim HK, Kim YH, Choi JH, Park JH, Park HJ, Choi JW, Kim SD, Jeong SY, Lee KTThe ameliorative effect of 23-hydroxytormentic acid isolated from Rubus coreanus on cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity in ratsBiol Pharm Bull.(2011)
48.^Oh MS, Yang WM, Chang MS, Park W, Kim do R, Lee HK, Kim WN, Park SKEffects of Rubus coreanus on sperm parameters and cAMP-responsive element modulator (CREM) expression in rat testesJ Ethnopharmacol.(2007 Dec 3)
49.^Foulkes NS, Mellström B, Benusiglio E, Sassone-Corsi PDevelopmental switch of CREM function during spermatogenesis: from antagonist to activatorNature.(1992 Jan 2)
51.^Kosir R, Juvan P, Perse M, Budefeld T, Majdic G, Fink M, Sassone-Corsi P, Rozman DNovel insights into the downstream pathways and targets controlled by transcription factors CREM in the testisPLoS One.(2012)