Bilberry (vaccinium myrtillus) is a wild shrub that grows in Europe, Asia and North America. In the United States they are known as huckleberries, and there are over 100 species with similar names and fruit. Bilberry has been used as a medicinal herb since the 16th century.
Bilberry’s healing effects probably stem from the flavonoids and anthocyanin which serve to prevent capillary fragility, thin the blood, and stimulate the release of vasodilators.
Anthocyanin, a natural antioxidant, also lowers blood pressure, reduces clotting and improves blood supply to the nervous system. Bilberry also contains glucoquinine that has the ability to lower blood sugar.
Claims and Common Uses:
- Beneficial for poor vision and “night blindness” and can help those with eye diseases such as pigmentosa, retinitis, glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration (a common cause of blindness in adults)and myopia
- Effective for treating varicose veins, thrombosis, and angina
- Acts as a diuretic and urinary tract antiseptic
- May have anti-cancer and anti-ulcer properties
- Bilberry tea is administered to relieve diarrhea and sooth the digestive tract
- Used in the treatment of diabetes, helps to control insulin levels
- Dried bilberry fruit and bilberry tea have been used as a treatment for dysentery, stomach cramps, constipation, and as a relief for nausea, vomiting and indigestion
- Used as a treatment for mild inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat
- Applied externally for spider veins, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, burns, and skin problems
- Used in making jams, preserves, liqueurs, and wines
Part Used: Entire plant
Preparations: Bilberry is available as tinctures, fluid extract, dried leaves, and berries
- Eat fresh or dried berries alone or mixed with apple powder to treat diarrhea
- As a tea-boil 2 to 3 tsp. leaves in 1-cup water. Drink 1 cup per day for vomiting and stomach cramps
- Use 1-cup water with 1 tsp. dried berries, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink 1 to 2 cups a day, cold
Side Effects and Warnings of Bilberry:
- Interferes with iron absorption when taken internally.
- The use of fresh bilberries can cause diarrhea in some individuals.
- If the leaves are consumed over a long period of time, they can be poisonous. Do not exceed the recommended dose.