Bilberries are known for being high in antioxidants and ingestion of bilberry benefits many parts of the body, including the eyes and the GI tract, and has been used to treat ailments for hundreds of years.
Much like the sound of its name a bilberry is actually a low lying leafy bush that produces small berries and is closely related to the blueberry bush. The bushes grow mainly in Europe but have been known to grow in other areas of the world as well.
Bilberry Benefits for the Vascular System
Bilberry extracts have been proven to be extremely helpful in reducing issues relating to the vascular system. It is often recommended for people who suffer from varicose veins, hemorrhoids. It has also been thought to aid in the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is when the fatty substance that collects in your arteries hardens forming calcium deposits and can lead to artery blockage. Bilberry has the ability to aid these types of conditions because it contains anthocyanins which act as an anti-inflammatory and are vasoprotective , antiedematous , and vasodialative , as well as other bioflavonoids and antioxidants anthocyanosides, ellagitannins, and proanthocyanidins.
Bilberry’s ability to strengthen blood capillaries might also come in handy for people who find that they bruise easily.
Bilberry Benefits for the Eyes
The fruit of this plant has the ability to neutralize free radicals in the brain and eyes.
The same anthocyanins that help correct issues relating to the blood vessels are at work to improve vision maladies such as poor night vision, cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
According to The Complete Idiots Guide to Herbal Remedies, British pilots in World War II used bilberry to improve their vision for night flying. Positive results were reported in as little as two weeks from the start of use.
Cataract conditions also respond well to the anthosyanosides in bilberry. In an Italian study, 50 people with early-stage cataracts were treated with bilberry extracts, along with other antioxidants and vitamins and the treatment was 97% effective!
Bilberry Benefits and Cancer
According to the PDR for Herbal Medicine, parts of the bilberry plant have been reported to have antineoplastic effects. What this means is that they are said to inhibit the growth and maturation of neoplasms, which are tumors that could at some point prove to be malignant. For instance, extract of bilberry can slow or stop the growth of human leukemia cells and human colon carcinoma cells growth through the induction of programmed cell death, or apoptosis.
Benefits for the Digestion System
One of the major bilberry benefits is that of the digestive system. It is well documented that this magical extract has been used to treat acute diarrhea, especially in children. According to the Everything Guide to Herbal Remedies, vaccinium myrtillus (the scientific name for bilberry) slows the transit of fluids through your digestive system, thus resuming digestion to its normal state.
As you can see, many bilberry benefits have been thoroughly documented throughout the years. Due to the many antioxidants at work in this miracle berry, it has proven to be a safe and effective treatment method when used under the care of a physician. Various studies are underway with the theory that bilberry can provide even more positive effects on our health such as skin improvements and peptic ulcer treatment. We are only just beginning to uncover bilberry benefits and should see more to come in the future.