Not only are bilberry health benefits awaiting mountaineers, but the many delights of this tasty plant also await. It is tasteful, sweet, and the berries are slightly acid. Have you ever tasted them? Their pleasant taste remains for some time, as well as the purple color they bestow to the teeth and the tongue of those who have eaten them.
Bilberries, or the extracts made from them, are efficient remedies to treat varicose veins, the loss of vision caused by degeneration of the retina, and intestinal parasites. The juice of bilberries, or their extracts, are also useful for treating lower urinary infections. It has been proven that when taken regularly during a period from one to three months, unpleasant recurrent cystitis is avoided in those women who tend to suffer from it.
Bilberries are part of several pharmaceutical preparations since their excellent medicinal properties have not been substituted by chemically synthesized products.
Bilberry Scientific Facts
Synonyms: Whortleberry, European blueberry
French: Airelle myrtille
Habitat: Mountainous and siliceous soils all over Europe. It can be found in mountainous and cold regions of both hemispheres in America.
Description: Small, deciduous shrub of the Ericaceae family, growing from 25 to 50 cm high, with oval-shaped, finely toothed leaves and berries first red, but dark blue when ripe.
Parts used: The leaves and the fruits.
Bilberry Health Benefits: Preparation and Dosage
- Fresh juice: Mashing ripe fruits and then straining them. Drink from five to ten spoonfuls with each meal.
- Decoction: With 50-70 g of fruits per liter of water, boiling for 15 minutes and then straining. Drink the entire decoction during the day.
- Cure with bilberries: From half to one kilogram a day, whether fresh or cooked in a puree. These fruits are taken as sole food during a period which lasts from three to five days. Children and adult persons feeling weak during this cure can drink up to three or four milk glasses a day.
- Infusion of 30-40 g of leaves per liter of water. In the case of diabetes, drink three to four cups a day, unsweetened. In the case of diarrhea, drink one cup after every evacuation until feces are normalized.
- Lotion: Maybe applied with the fresh juice or with the decoction of the fruits.
Bilberry Health Benefits: Medicinal Properties and Indications
The fruits of bilberry contain different organic acids with stimulating action on the digestive system. It also includes sugars, tannins, pectin, myrtillin, anthocyanins, vitamins A and C, and in a lesser amount, B.
1. Circulatory conditions of the venous system: swollen legs, varicose veins, phlebitis, varicose ulceration, and hemorrhoids. The many bilberry health benefits result from the anthocyanins that it contains, which protect and reinforce the wall of the capillary and venous vessels; hence they prevent the flow of proteins and liquid to the tissues, thus reducing edema and congestion. Taking a bilberry supplement also works on the heart, increasing the resistance of the heart muscle.
2. The weakening of the retina and loss of vision: The main medicinal property responsible for bilberry leaf benefits is anthocyanins, which act on the retina capillaries, improving the irrigation of the light-sensitive cells. They are useful to recover night vision acuteness and to improve visual adaptation to darkness.
Bilberry dosage is also recommended for diabetic retinopathy, short-sightedness, and degeneration of the retina caused by high blood pressure or arteriosclerosis, or other reasons like retinitis pigmentosa.
3. The bilberry plant is also beneficial for those suffering from diarrhea, especially if the diarrhea is caused by a disturbance to the intestinal flora. Also, bilberries can stop flatulence caused by intestinal fermentation thanks to the plant’s antiseptic effect. Bilberry also helps to reduce inflammation and normalize the intestine functions, especially those of the colon.
According to experiments, both the leaves and the bilberry plant’s fruits prevent excessive Coli bacteria growth, which produces intestinal flora issues and urinary infections.
4. Intestinal parasitosis, especially the one caused by oxyuridae, which are small parasite worms that usually live in the intestine of small children. Therefore, health experts recommend a remedy with fresh or cooked bilberries in puree over three days.
The patient should only drink milk and bilberries. According to Dr. Schneider, this treatment’s success has been proven in the Children’s Hospital of the University of Helsinki (Finland).
5. Urinary infections: The juice of fresh bilberries, or their extract, exert an antiseptic action on urinary organs, such as the urinary bladder or the urethra. In the case of recurrent cystitis, which is frequent in some women, bilberries’ continuous intake is recommended to avoid this ailment for one to three months.
6. Bilberry benefits for skin afflictions, such as eczema, folliculitis, and varicose ulceration. In such cases, bilberries’ juice is locally applied in lotion, either fresh or concentrated, utilizing a decoction.
Bilberry leaf benefits deserve mention. They contain tannin, flavonoid glycosides, and gluco-quinine, a substance that reduces the amount of glucose in the blood. So, they have the same astringent and antidiarrheic effects as the fruits, and they are also hypoglycemic. Thus, they are useful for diabetic people since bilberry leaves reduce their insulin or oral medicines dosage.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 260, 261. Print. [bilberry health benefits]