LATIN NAME: Vaccinium myrtillus
COMMON NAMES: bilberry, wimberry, whortleberry, European blueberry
ORIGIN: is native to Europe, northern Asia, Greenland, Iceland, Western Canada, and the Western United States
HABITAT: is wild on heathlands and acidic soils
BOTANICAL INFORMATION: Bilberry is a bush of 10-50 cm high. Leaves are alternate, ovate, almost sessile, spirally located, elliptical; the leaves on the top are acuminate. The plant has a creeping rhizome which gives a large number of shoots. It blooms in May. The flowers are greenish-white. The fruit is bluish-black or simply black. It can contain up to 40 seeds inside, but the average amount is usually about 20 seeds. Birds eat fruits and spread the seeds which are non-digestible in their stomach.
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION: The leaves of bilberry contain organic acids, essential oil, triterpenoids, alkaloids, vitamins C and B, phenol and its derivatives, phenol carboxylic acids, tannins, catechins, flavonoids, anthocyanins, manganese, iron, chromium, nickel, copper salts, etc.
The fruits of bilberry include carbohydrates (glucose, fructose, sucrose), organic acids (citric, lactic, oxalic, malic, succinic), vitamins C, PP, B, essential oil, polyphenols, tannins, flavonoids and anthocyanins.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF BILBERRY
- Bilberry is an excellent natural antiseptic and an antibiotic. It is a good remedy for stomach and colitis.
- The plant has a disinfectant effect, it improves the intestinal microflora and prevents putrefactive processes.
- Anti-inflammatory property is used for the treatment of gallbladder, rheumatism and liver diseases.
- Thanks to glycoside myrtillin it reduces blood sugar and stabilizes the glands and organs.
- Bilberry promotes the improvement of immunity, prevents the development of cardiovascular diseases.
- Preparations made from bilberries help to withstand eye stress. Carotenoids contribute to the renewal of the retina of the eye, improve the eye blood circulation, night vision and overall improvement of visual functions.
- When having conjunctivitis, it is useful to eat one tablespoon of dry or fresh bilberries every day.
- These berries dissolve thrombi and have a bactericidal effect.
- Decoction of bilberry leaves, being used externally as a compress, can treat hemorrhoids and pink lichen.
CONTRAINDICATIONS AND POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS
- Bilberries, collected in ecologically polluted places, can accumulate harmful substances. So, you must be careful when buying it.
- When having oxaluria and pancreatic diseases, the use of bilberries are contraindicated.
- The use of tea from bilberry leaves can cause poisoning with hydroquinone in case of an overdose or prolonged use.
- Dried berries are not recommended when having constipation.
- Do not consume bilberries if you are allergic to this type of plant.
- Do not use bilberries during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as there is not sufficiently proved information about the consumption of bilberries during these periods.
- Before eating bilberries, consult a doctor if you have diabetes, since blueberries lower blood sugar levels.
Moderate Interaction with Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs):
Bilberry has an effect of reducing blood sugar level of the body as well as Antidiabetes drugs. Diabetes medications such as
- glimepiride (Amaryl)
- glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase)
- pioglitazone (Actos)
- rosiglitazone (Avandia)
- chlorpropamide (Diabinese)
- glipizide (Glucotrol)
- tolbutamide (Orinase)
and others have decreasing blood sugar properties. Thereby contemporaneous using of bilberry and listed medications can decrease your blood sugar to the life-threatening rate. Observe the level of blood sugar vigilantly. First, consult a doctor, perhaps the dosage of your diabetes medications need to be altered.
Moderate Interaction with Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs):
Bilberry can decelerate blood clotting. Simultaneous taking of bilberry and antiplatelet medications such as
- clopidogrel (Plavix)
- diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others)
- ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others)
- naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others)
- dalteparin (Fragmin)
- enoxaparin (Lovenox)
- warfarin (Coumadin)
and others can strengthen the risks of extravasation and blood loss. Before using, consult a doctor.
HEALTHY RECIPES FROM BILBERRY
Nephrolithiasis: Pour 400 ml of boiling water over 2 tablespoons of powder from dried bilberry leaves and simmer for 20 minutes. Then strain and cool. Take 50 ml 4 times a day 10 minutes before meals.
Laryngitis: Add 2 tablespoons of dried bilberry fruit to 500 ml of water, boil for 10 minutes, then steep for 20 minutes, strain. Use it for gargling.
Improvement of blood composition: Add 5 gr of ripe bilberries to 200 ml of boiling water, steep for being cooled, then strain. Take 2 tablespoons 3 times a day.
Bilberry tea: Pour 500 ml of cool water over 3 tablespoons of dried bilberries, bring to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes, then strain. This tea will help to cope with diarrhea and can be used as a decoction for gargling.
Bilberry tincture: Put 350 gr of bilberries in the glass jar and pour 500 ml of vodka over the berries. Leave the jar in the cool, dry, dark place and infuse for 14 days shaking it every 2-3 days. After 2 weeks strain the tincture. The tincture must be bottled in small glass vessels. This tincture has the following properties:
It also stabilizes the functions of all internal organs, significantly improves the digestive and urinary systems, strengthens the immune system, favorably affects the normalization of blood sugar, normalizes the female menstrual cycle, slows down the aging process.
“Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet berries in a cup.”
*This article is for informational purposes only. We suggest consulting with a physician before using these or any other herbal supplements.