Bilberry, also known as European blueberry, is an herb from a shrub that produces dark purple berries toward the end of summer. The bilberry is related to the blueberry, cranberry, and huckleberry. The entire plant is used for herbal medicines.
This herb contains anthocyanosides, compounds that benefit the circulatory system. Bilberry may strengthen blood vessels and connective tissue, build strong capillaries, and improve circulation. It may help to control the formation of blood clots, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids.
Additionally, these compounds (anthocyanosides) may help eyes adapt to light changes and enhances night vision.
Tannin, found in dried bilberry berries, may help to control diarrhea and related intestinal inflammation. Extract of bilberry may protect the stomach against digestive acids because it stimulates the production of stomach mucus.
The leaves of the bilberry are high in chromium – which may help regulate blood sugar levels. This may benefit people who are diabetic or hypoglycemic.
Sources of Bilberry
Bilberry is available in the following forms:
- Berries eaten fresh or dried
- Tea (made from the berries or leaves)
- Extract (usually contains the greatest percentage of anthocyanidins)
- Encapsulated powder
Guidelines and Cautions
Commercial bilberry products usually come with directions for use.
- Although there are no known side effects, bilberry leaves may become toxic if taken over a prolonged period in large amounts.
- If diarrhea continues for more than three days, consult a medical professional.
- Bilberry may interfere with iron absorption.
- Do not use bilberry if you have diabetes, except under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care professional.
Disclaimer: Many people report feeling improvement in their condition and/or general well-being taking dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements. The Editorial Board of SpineUniverse.com, however, cannot endorse such products since most lack peer-reviewed scientific validation of their claims. In most cases an appropriate diet and a "multiple vitamin" will provide the necessary dietary supplements for most individuals. Prior to taking additional dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements it is recommended that patients consult with their personal physician to discuss their specific supplement requirements.