Bilberry is a low growing shrub that is native to Europe. The ripe fruit which is similar to a blueberry is used to make jams, juices and delicious pie fillings. Another use of the bilberry fruit is medicine, in the medicine world it’s known as Vaccinium myrtillus L. Bilberries were first initially used to treat diarrhoea and scurvy. The bilberry leaf can also used to treat conditions such as diabetes.
Nowadays it is still being used to treat diarrhoea along with helping with varicose veins, decreased blood flow to veins, chronic fatigue, and it is most commonly known for improving eyesight and eye conditions.
Bilberries are one of the richest sources of naturally occurring anthocyanosides. Anthocyanosides are chemicals found in some plants that provide the plant with their dark purple/blue pigment and gives it it’s high antioxidant status. Bilberries also contain numerous other phytochemical providing it with a powerhouse of all the antioxidants needed to fight off free radicals in the body. It also contains iron chelators which can help remove heavy metals from the body.
Benefits of bilberry
- Improves vision - Helps improve night vision along with helping to treat damage to the retina. It has also been shown to protect against macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts.
- Improves circulation (CVI chronic venous insufficiency) supplementing with bilberry might help improve damaged valves in the veins that carry blood to the heart.
- Treats diarrhoea - Bilberries contain tannins which act as anti-inflammatories helping reduce inflammation in the intestines caused by diarrhoea.
- Cancer preventive/fighting - The anthocyanins in the bilberry fruit have cancer preventive qualities
- Improves bad cholesterol by strengthening blood vessels and preventing the bad LDL cholesterol from oxidating. Reducing the total LDL levels
- Bilberries may help improve blood sugar levels in diabetics by reducing the glucose response after meals. Bilberry tea leaves have been used to control blood sugar levels for many years.
*Always speak to your Doctor first before adding a new supplement to your existing medication. Bilberry can effect you if you are on blood thinners as it can thin your blood too. It can also interfere with diabetic medication as it lowers blood sugar levels.