Bilberry

(vaccinium myrtillus)

A close relative of American blueberry, bilberry grows in northern Europe, Canada, and the United States. The ripe berries are primarily used in modern herbal extracts.

The dried berries and leaves of bilberry have been recommended for a wide variety of conditions, including scurvy, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and diabetes. Perhaps the most sound historical application is the use of the dried berries to treat diarrhoea. Modern research of bilberry was partly based on its use by British World War II pilots, who noticed that their night vision improved when they ate bilberry jam prior to night bombing raids.

What it does

Bilberries contain Vitamin C and are reich in bioflavanoids, water soluble pigments that are potent antioxidants. The main bioflavanoids are anthocyanosides which are specifically protective and supportive to blood vessels and the eyes. Bilberry also has hypoclycaemic actions helping to lower blood sugar levels, is anti-inflammatory, astringent, anti-diarhoea, anti-emetic, diuretic and anti-bacterial.

Potential Uses

Cataracts E coli Gastroenteritis
Varicose veins Cardiovascular health Atherosclerosis
Arthritis Macular degeneration Diabetes

Other information

The flavanoids in bilberry aid circulation by stabilising collagen, aiding vasodilation and inhibiting damade by free radicals. Anthocyanosides bind to collagen and maintain its integrity thus supporting connective tissue structure in eyes, blood vessels, joints, skin, bone, etc.

Cautions

Generally, there are no side effects or contra-indications from using bilberry.

If you use diabetic medication you should monitor your blood sugar levels regularly.

Bilberry may increase the action of anticoagulant & antiplatelet drugs.

At the time of writing there were no well known negative drug interactions with bilberry.

 

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