Strengthens blood vessels, improves eyesight and aids weight-loss. Has also been used for atherosclerosis, bruising, cataracts, circulation, diabetes, diarrhea, macular degeneration, night blindness, retinopathy, varicose veins.
What is Bilberry and what is it good for?
Botanical name: Vaccinium myrtillus
Other names: European Blueberry, Huckleberry, Whortleberry, Airelle, Dyeberry
Bilberry has a long medicinal history in Europe. It has been used to treat anything from kidney stones to typhoid fever. Bilberry contains anthocyanins, potent antioxidants which strengthen blood vessels and capillary walls, improve red blood cells, stabilize collagen tissues such as tendons, ligaments and cartilage and have cholesterol lowering effects. They also increase retinal pigments that allow the eye to tolerate light. In addition, it helps to maintain the flexibility of red blood cells, allowing them to pass through the capillaries and supply oxygen. The herb has been shown to be a vasodilator that opens blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. Since the eyes have a high concentration of capillaries, bilberry may be particularly helpful in improving eyesight.
The herb has been shown to improve night vision, slow macular degeneration, prevent cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. Scientific studies have shown improvement in the eyesight, circulation, angina, stroke and atherosclerosis. It is also used to improve varicose veins and has anti-aging effects on collagen structures.
Individuals with hardening of the arteries, diabetes, high blood pressure or other conditions that increase the likelihood of damage to the small blood vessels in the eyes are more likely to have serious vision problems as a result of blood vessel damage. Note that bilberry is taken orally to treat eye problems. It is not used as an eye drop.
Oral bilberry preparations are also used to prevent and treat a condition known as chronic venous insufficiency, which occurs when valves in the veins that carry blood back to the heart are weak or damaged, resulting in varicose veins, spider veins, sores or blood clots in the legs. Because bilberry may strengthen the walls of all blood vessels in the body, it may also relieve haemorrhoids.
Bilberry normalises capillary collagen thickness and blood sugar levels in humans and animals.
Bilberry kills or inhibits the growth of fungi, yeasts, and bacteria. It also kills protozoans such as Trichomonas vaginalis.
Bilberries are high in a chemical called anthocyanins. The usual daily dietary intake of anthocyanins is approximately 200 mg (milligrams). The total anthocyanin content of bilberries is typically between 300 and 700 mg per 100 grams (g) of fresh fruit, depending on several factors.
A portion of fresh bilberries weight 100 g also contains small amounts of:
- vitamin C (3 mg)
- quercetin (3 mg)
- catechin (20 mg)
However, research into the following other health benefits of adding bilberries to the diet is ongoing:
- Ulcerative colitis: A 2016 pilot study suggests people experiencing ulcerative colitis (UC) benefited from treatment with an oral anthocyanin-rich bilberry supplement. The researchers looked at a previous older study from 2013 that had shown an improvement in symptoms for those individuals taking bilberry supplements.
- Itching: An older study on mice found that anthocyanins from bilberry might help treat itching due to atopic dermatitis.
- Gum health: One 2015 study found that consuming high amounts of bilberries may reduce markers of gingivitis. However, it is important to note that the improvement was comparable to standard dental treatment. In addition, the sugar content in bilberries may be too high to outweigh any benefits.
- Antimicrobial properties: Bilberries are high in tannins, which reportedly have bacteria-killing properties against certain foodborne pathogenic and spoilage bacteria.
Ideally use the freeze dried fresh juice, however bilberry powder or tincture are good options.
How to take Bilberry:
Bilberry Common Uses:
Blood clots, Blood sugar regulation, Cardiovascular health, Cholesterol, Circulation, Diabetes, Diarrhoea, Dysentery, Eyesight, Haemorrhoids, Heart health, Heart palpitations, High blood pressure, High cholesterol, Kidney health, Kidney infections, Kidney stones, Lower blood pressure, Oedema, Stroke prevention, Sugar metabolism, Urinary tract infections,
There is no known toxicity to bilberry. If you have hemorrhagic disorders or are on blood thinning medication, consult your health care practitioner. Note that bilberry is taken orally to treat eye problems. It is not used as an eye drop.
More Useful Information:
https://www.facebook.com/herbshare, Mark Stengler, N.D., The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies, pp.62-66. Habby Herb, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/bilberry-benefits#dosage, https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-202/bilberry.
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) Extracts Comparative Analysis Regarding Their Phytonutrient Profiles, Antioxidant Capacity along with the In Vivo Rescue Effects Tested on a Drosophila melanogaster High-Sugar Diet Model