Scientific Name: Vaccinum myrtillus
Bilberry is a dark blueberry that looks and tastes like the American blueberry. Bilberry is a 16-inch tall shrub with pointed, oval leaves and small white and pink flowers which bloom between April and June. Its dark purple berries ripen in late summer. Bilberry is a relative of the cranberry, blueberry, and huckleberry.
Edible Parts: Fruits; leaves when infused (medicine).
Bilberry Nutrient Content: Bilberry is high in vitamin C, beta-carotene, flavonoids (plant pigment that contains outstanding antioxidant properties), tannins (substance that acts as both an astringent and an anti-inflammatory).
Bilberry Health Benefits:
- Rich in antioxidant that support the eyes, this is why eye problems such as cataracts, macular degeneration, eyestrain and poor night vision can be prevented and treated with this berry.
- Bilberry leaves and fruits astringent effect is beneficial for acute diarrhea and urinary tract infections.
- Strengthen the capillary walls, thus preventing easy bruising, bleeding, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids.
- Improve blood flow in the legs and alleviate symptoms like pain and swelling in the calves and ankles.
- Has a natural anti-inflammatory effect, making it potentially useful for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
- Help strengthen collagen structures, making skin firmer.
- Kills or inhibits the growth of fungus, yeast, and bacteria. It also kills protozoans such as Trichomonas vaginalis.
Available Form: Bilberry may be eaten fresh or dried. Bilberry tea may also be made from fresh or dried berries, or from the leaves. It is also available in capsule form, and as a tincture. The extract contains the highest percentage of anthocyanidins, making it the most effective form of bilberry.
Bilberry Supplement Dosage:
- Take 1 60 mg. capsule up to 4 times daily.
- Mix 15 to 40 drops of extract in water or juice, and drink 3 times daily.
Note: For maximum bilberry benefits, make sure that you are taking a supplement that has standardized herbal extract of pure bilberry.
Bilberry Side Effects:
- The fruit is generally considered safe. However, high doses of bilberry leaf or bilberry leaf extract and long-term consumption of the leaves have been known to produce symptoms of poisoning and are considered unsafe.
- Bilberry has blood-thinning effect; therefore, if you are on blood-thinning medication, let your doctor know that you are taking bilberry. This may require your doctor to prescribe a lower dosage of the pharmaceutical blood thinner you are taking.