Bilberry (also called European blueberry) is one of the more popular medicinal herbs in Europe and North America. Millions of Europeans grew up eating the staple bilberry jam, and many eat the fresh berries. Thousands rely on it for its medicinal benefits for the eyes and as a tonic to the circulatory system. Due to very few bilberry side effects, this herb is very safe and easy to use.
Bilberry Side Effects and Common Uses
The bilberry plant is also commonly called whortleberry, huckleberry and wine berry, and is a close cousin of the American blueberry bush. Both the fruit and leaves are used for medicinal purposes. Bilberry is traditionally used today to treat digestive complaints and disorders of the eye. Bilberry has a long history as a therapeutic herb and bilberry side effects are well known by ancient Greek physicians. Both Europeans and Native Americans chewed the dried berries for intestinal infections, and used bilberry wine for digestive complaints. During the second world war, England’s Royal Air Force ate bilberry jam before night flying missions and reported dramatically improved vision in the dark skies. Russian healers used bilberry as an astringent for gastric colitis. European herbalists used it to treat scurvy, urinary infections and stones, diarrhea, dysentery, diabetes and as a local application for ulcers and blisters.
Nutritional Make-up of Bilberries
Bilberry is loaded with vitamin C, bioflavonoids, magnesium, and rich in iron and zinc. The berry has up to 13% protein, which is very high for a fruit. Bilberries contain essential medicinal compounds called anthocyanosides, which are biolfavinoids that provide a huge array of benefits, including reducing cellular damage and breakdown. Anthocyanosides improve circulation through the smallest areas of circulation, the capillaries. Bilberry actually works to strengthen the capillary walls, thus preventing easy bruising, bleeding, varicose veins, and poor circulation. Additionally, improving circulation lets needed nutrients move more efficiently to special areas such as the retina of the eye.
Herbal Medicinal Uses
Bilberry is also known to be an antiseptic, astringent, diuretic, blood tonic, and antibacterial. Bilberry has the similar effect of insulin on sugar diabetes, but it should never be considered a substitute for prescribed insulin, a good diet and adequate exercise for treating diabetes. There are very few known bilberry side effects when used to treat diabetes symptoms.
Bilberry extract is well documented for lessening and even repairing damage caused by blood vessel deterioration or inflammation. It gives support to the collagen molecules in the blood, inhibits the manifestation of bacteria, and offers anti-carcinogenic properties. It clears and helps remove toxins from the body and helps to prevent infection. Its anthocyanodins work to remove free radicals to boost the body’s immunity. These anthocyanodins also have protective cardiac properties, anti-ageing properties, and unmatched positive effects on the circulatory system. Medicinal use of bilberry decreases hardening of the arteries by preventing build up and damage, and helping to limit calcium plaque buildup, and preserving flexible blood vessels to improve overall circulation. Research shows extensive positive effects on overall circulation, restoring normal blood flow in patients of all ages and health. Due to very few bilberry side effects, it is one of the safest herbs used today.
Cleansing and Detox Uses
Bilberry helps promote kidney cleansing and more effective urination, which makes it especially useful for fasting cleanses and treating and preventing urinary tract infections. Bilberries can often help reduce swelling of the intestinal mucosa that is present in chronic constipation. Flavonoids cause the body to produce more mucous secretion that heals the stomach lining and prevents erosion. Bilberry is also used to treat intestinal parasites, and diarrhea.
Safety Precautions and Bilberry Side Effects
Bilberry leaf has trace amounts of hydroquinone which, if used to treat diabetes or urinary infection, is not to be taken for long periods of time continuously. Recommended use is for about three weeks, and then a break of two weeks before beginning treatment again, to lessen any Bilberry side effects.