Bilberry – Health Benefits, Uses, Research, Preparation, Precautions
Bilberry hails from Europe. American blueberries possess similar properties to bilberries. Bilberries are among the most safe and versatile herbs available.
This article on bilberry was written for Insights-on-Health.com by Patricia Bratianu RN PhD RH-AHG. Find out more about her at the end of this article.
European blueberry, whortleberry, (vaccinium myrtillus)
Traditional and Modern Health Uses
Bilberry contains diverse healing compounds which make the herb valuable for treating a wide array of ills. The berries are one of natures’ most outstanding sources of deeply colored plant pigments. Dark colored berries, such as bilberries, protect the body from aging and supply important nutrients. The herb used to be employed for the prevention of deficiency diseases, such as scurvy.
Bilberries are a great source of antioxidants, vitamin C, quercetin, pectin, and rutin. Quercetin and rutin strengthen blood vessels. These compounds make bilberry useful for the prevention and treatment of many blood vessel conditions, including varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
Bilberry is one of my favorite herbs to employ when I make preparations designed to ensure the health of elders. Many elders suffer from fragile veins, which cause bruising. Bilberry can help to prevent bruise formation. Bilberry is also used to maintain and improve vision. The antioxidants contained within bilberries help to restore and improve cognitive function.
The herb is probably best known for its ability to improve nearsightedness. Bilberry prevents deterioration of the eyes due to diabetic retinopathy. I recommend that all diabetics consume bilberries or blueberries. The herb was used by the military during World War II to enhance night vision of pilots. It can do the same for you. Bilberry slows the progress of macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness.
In addition to bilberries’ blood vessel strengthening abilities, the herb offers other benefits for cardiovascular health. Bilberry prevents excess fluid buildup. This can prevent tissue stagnation and allay swelling in the legs and other parts of the body. It is a safe herb to use during pregnancy as an aid to soothe varicose vein discomfort and as a preventive of spider vein formation. Bilberry helps to prevent platelets from becoming sticky, thereby being a useful aid for the prevention of blood clots.
Bilberry provides benefits to people who suffer from asthma and allergies. Quercetin and other compounds contained within bilberries reduce the inflammatory response which cause symptoms associated with asthma and allergies. Levels of histamine and other inflammatory compounds produced by the body are reduced.
Some practitioners use the herb for clients who suffer from cancer. The broad-scale benefits of bilberry may help to reduce or limit the development of cancer by several mechanisms.
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