Billberry Extract Benefits and Information

Plant Description

Bilberry is a perennial shrub that grows to about 16 inches in height. It has oval, pointed leaves and small pink and white flowers, which bloom from April through June. In the late summer, its dark purple berries are ripe to pick. Bilberry is a relative of blueberry, cranberry, and huckleberry, and its fruit looks and tastes much like the American blueberry.

Available Forms

Bilberries may be eaten fresh or in dried forms. Fresh or dried berries may be used to make bilberry tea. Bilberry extract should be standardized to contain 25% anthocyanidin. The extract contains the highest percentage of anthocyanosides, making it the strongest form of bilberry.

Anthocyanidin (a flavonoid) is the primary compound in bilberry fruit, building strong capillaries and improving circulation throughout the entire body. Anthocyanidins may prevent blood platelets from clumping together, which minimizes the risk of blood clots (associated with heart attack and stroke). Bilberry fruit also contains tannins, a substance that acts as an astringent, stopping bleeding. The tannins and anthocyanidins may equalize each other when the whole bilberry fruit extracts is used for medicinal purposes. Anthocyanidins increase rhodopsin production, a pigment that assists the eye's ability to adapt to light changes and enhances night vision. The tannins possess anti-inflammatory properties and as mentioned previously may relieve diarrhea.

Therapeutic Applications:

Commonly used to assist in the relief of eyes from fatigue particularly among those performing fine detailed work, to assist in the reduction of eye irritation and to support night vision particularly in cases of night blindness. Also reported in the treatment of vascular retinal disturbances, cataract and diabetic induced Glaucoma and Myopia.

Bilberry is considered as a phyto-pharmaceutical in Europe where it is credited with antioxidant, free radical scavenger capacity and blood vessel reinforcing properties, the ability to Inhibit platelet aggregation and as having a relaxing effect on the vascular smooth muscle. Some data suggest Bilberry Extract may also act to improve blood circulation by increasing the ability of fluids and nourishment to pass through veins to capillaries. Bilberry Extract is also cited in treatments to help prevent and treat bruising, purpura (bleeding under the skin) and may relieve inflammations such as those which occur in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gum disease.

Bilberry Extract has also been indicated in the treatment of Varicosities (Hemorrhoids) and mild intestinal infections (colibacillosis), atherosclerosis, arterioscerosis and coldness of hands and feet. Bilberry is also known for its vasoprotective and antidematose activities. Some research suggests the Anthocyanins may inhibit platelets aggregation and cyclic-AMP phophodiesterase.