Bilberry

Botanical name

Vaccinium myrtillus

Common Names

Bilberry, blaeberry, whortleberry, European blueberry

FAMILY

Ericaceae

Description

A shrub that produces a juicy navy blue coloured berry.

Part supplied

The dried herb or the berry.

Food Use

Recipes

Use 1 teaspoon of dried herb to one cup of boiling water to make a tasty tea. Infuse for 5-10 minutes. Sweeten with honey or lemon to taste.

Alternatively add half a teaspoon (2.5 ml) of either bilberry herb or bilberry fruit tincture to a cup of warm water for a quick alternative to tea.

The herb and the berry can be added as a flavouring to gin, vodka and other infusions.

Taken as a food supplement to support vision and eye health, and mental fatigue.

Medicinal Use

Key actions: Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antioedema, vasoprotective. 

Taken as a food supplement to support vision and eye health, and mental fatigue.

Bilberry fruits are nutritious and a good source of vitamin C, pro-vitamin A, minerals, fruit acids and pectin. They are astringent and traditionally used to reduce inflammation of lips, mouth, throat and bladder.

In clinic: Herbalists use this herb to treat urinary issues, diarrhoea and scurvy. The leaves are mildly hypoglycaemic and have been used to support health in late-onset diabetes.

If you are interested in the medicinal use of this herb please consult a herbalist. Herbs are generally used at medicinal strength, in blends, prescribed for each unique patient's condition.

Directions

Infusion: 1 teaspoon of herb to a cup of cold water. Pour boiling water over the herb and leave to infuse for 5 to 10 minutes. Flavour with lemon, ginger or honey if desired. Drink 3 times a day unless otherwise told by a medical herbalist.

Tincture: Take 5 ml (1:3 in 25% tincture), 3 times a day or as directed by a practitioner.

Fluid extract: 1:1 Take 1 to 2 ml, 3 times a day or as directed by a practitioner.

Other Uses

Cosmetic Use

Added to traditional mouth washes. Also used as an astringent in creams for oily and combination skin such as Napiers Tea Tree and Goldenseal Cream.

Other Uses

None known.

Cautions

Contraindications

None known.

This herb is considered safe in food amounts. Do not take if you are allergic to this plant or other members of this plant's family (Ericaceae). Not all herbs are suitable in pregnancy, breastfeeding or for young children. If in doubt, please ask us or your medical herbalist.

Side effects

Mild gastrointestinal, nervous or cutaneous complaints may result, such as nausea, stomach ache, heartburn, if taking large amounts. Plant extracts cause few side effects when taken correctly but if a side effect is experienced please contact us.

Interactions with drugs

Do not take high doses if you are taking warfarin or antiplatelet medication. 

Herbal remedies and supplements can interact with medicines. If you are taking medication please check with your medical practitioner, or call us, before taking herbs, supplements and medication together.

More Information

Articles

There are currently no articles related to this herb.

Recipes

Look in our recipes section for more uses of this herb.

Research

Read the latest PubMed research on this herb.

Ozawa Y, Kawashima M, Inoue S, Inagaki E, Suzuki A, Ooe E, Kobayashi S, Tsubota K. Bilberry extract supplementation for preventing eye fatigue in video display terminal workers. J Nutr Health Aging. 2015 May;19(5):548-54. doi: 10.1007/s12603-014-0573-6.

Kawabata F, Tsuji T. Effects of dietary supplementation with a combination of fish oil, bilberry extract, and lutein on subjective symptoms of asthenopia in humans. Biomed Res. 2011 Dec;32(6):387-93. PDF

Kim J, Kim CS, Lee YM, Sohn E, Jo K, Kim JS. Vaccinium myrtillus extract prevents or delays the onset of diabetes--induced blood-retinal barrier breakdown. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2015 Mar;66(2):236-42. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2014.979319.

Ogawa K, Kuse Y, Tsuruma K, Kobayashi S, Shimazawa M, Hara H. Protective effects of bilberry and lingonberry extracts against blue light-emitting diode light-induced retinal photoreceptor cell damage in vitro. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Apr 2;14:120. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-120. PDF

Mykkänen OT, Kalesnykas G, Adriaens M, Evelo CT, Törrönen R, Kaarniranta K. Bilberries potentially alleviate stress-related retinal gene expression induced by a high-fat diet in mice. Mol Vis. 2012;18:2338-51. PDF

Song J, Li Y, Ge J, Duan Y, Sze SC, Tong Y, Shaw PC, Ng TB, Tsui KC, Zhuo Y, Zhang KY. Protective effect of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) extracts on cultured human corneal limbal epithelial cells (HCLEC). Phytother Res. 2010 Apr;24(4):520-4. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2974.

Matsunaga N, Imai S, Inokuchi Y, Shimazawa M, Yokota S, Araki Y, Hara H. Bilberry and its main constituents have neuroprotective effects against retinal neuronal damage in vitro and in vivo. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2009 Jul;53(7):869-77. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200800394.

Koupý D, Kotolová H, Kučerová J. [Effectiveness of phytotherapy in supportive treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus Billberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)]. Ceska Slov Farm. 2015 Spring;64(1-2):3-6. Czech.

Asgary S, RafieianKopaei M, Sahebkar A, Shamsi F, Goli-malekabadi N. Anti-hyperglycemic and anti-hyperlipidemic effects of Vaccinium myrtillus fruit in experimentally induced diabetes (antidiabetic effect of Vaccinium myrtillus fruit). J Sci Food Agric. 2016 Feb;96(3):764-8. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.7144.

Kianbakht S, Abasi B, Dabaghian FH. Anti-hyperglycemic effect of Vaccinium arctostaphylos in type 2 diabetic patients: a randomized controlled trial. Forsch Komplementmed. 2013;20(1):17-22. doi: 10.1159/000346607. PDF

Vepsäläinen S, Koivisto H, Pekkarinen E, Mäkinen P, Dobson G, McDougall GJ, Stewart D, Haapasalo A, Karjalainen RO, Tanila H, Hiltunen M. Anthocyanin-enriched bilberry and blackcurrant extracts modulate amyloid precursor protein processing and alleviate behavioral abnormalities in the APP/PS1 mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. J Nutr Biochem. 2013 Jan;24(1):360-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2012.07.006.

Bornsek SM, Ziberna L, Polak T, Vanzo A, Ulrih NP, Abram V, Tramer F, Passamonti S. Bilberry and blueberry anthocyanins act as powerful intracellular antioxidants in mammalian cells. Food Chem. 2012 Oct 15;134(4):1878-84. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.03.092.
 

Add to BagVaccinium myrtillus - Bilberry berry tincture 100ml £12.00
Add to BagVaccinium myrtillus - Bilberry berry tincture 500ml £37.75
Add to BagVaccinium myrtillus - Bilberry berry tincture 1L £62.75

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