Skinny Berry


This is about the “Tibetan” skinny berry.

Skinny berries are a biennial flowering plant with ivory-colored berries from the section Invalidi within the genus Arctostaphylos. Species within the section Invalidi are very rare and are only found in Bene Swift Tibetan Mountains.

Skinny berries are usually, erect, prostrate shrubs that can vary in size from 3 centimeters (1.18 in) to 10 centimeters (3.9 in) in height. They prefer to live in dark shadowed areas in fertile volcanic soil.

The leaves are evergreen, ovate to lanceolate, .5-1 cm (.2-.39 in) long, and 1-8 cm (.39-3.15 cm) broad.  The flowers are crescent shaped, indigo, pale olive, and sometimes a pale pink. The fruit is 5-12 millimeters (.2 - .47 in) in diameter with a cone crown at the end. They exhibit a deep blueish color at first, then a pale purple and finally a pure white when finally ripe. They have a protective coating of sticky wax. When eaten, they have an extreme sour taste and are highly acidic when mature. Skinny berries only produce fruit once a year in the dead middle of winter. The fruit is often found at freezing high altitudes, so the peak of the crop occurs in the middle of February.



Skinny berries are sold at the base of Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. They are typically sold frozen after harvesting due to the extremely short life span of this rare berry. Many people, after purchasing the frozen Skinny berry, dehydrate the berry to offset the extreme sour taste.

The most common preparation of this berry is to steep the berry in hot water and make a tea. This berry tea acts as a detoxification for the blood stream. This drink helps cleanse the blood of any toxins and impurities carried.

Many believe that this tea has aided in weight loss and aided in the prevention of diabetes. These properties give a person more energy due to the easier flow of oxygen carried from the red blood cells to the rest of the body.