Bilberry leaf & fruit contain a variety of antioxidant compounds that may prevent the development of cardiovascular disease.
In addition to vitamin C, the berries contain plant chemicals known as anthocyanosides, among them quercetrin & hyperoside.
Collectively, these agents exert several positive health effects. First, they prevent free radicals from causing oxidative damage in cells, which might otherwise trigger the generation of rogue cancer cells.
Anthocyanosides also help to strengthen the walls of blood vessels & because they promote the relaxation of vein & capillary smooth tissue, they increase the circulation of blood.
In fact, bilberry is traditionally used to counter venous insufficiency, a condition characterized by a reduced volume of blood returning to the heart from the legs.
Bilberry anthocyanosides also prevent blood platelet aggregation, which can cause blood clots that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Vitamin A is required for sharp vision, while Vitamin C helps form collagen & is needed for growth & repair of tissue cells & blood vessels. Anthocyanosides support & protect collagen structures in the blood vessels of the eyes, assuring strong, healthy capillaries that carry vital nutrients to eye muscles & nerves.
Bilberries, like blueberries, are often consumed as a health food in order to help manage high blood pressure, improve heart health, boost the immune system & treat various diseases such as angina pectoris, indigestion & malnutrition.
The berries, when extruded into a juice, is even employed for the treatment of urinary tract infections, kidney & liver disorders, pancreatitis, gastrointestinal problems, diabetes, osteoarthritis & chronic fatigue syndrome.
Bilberry contains anthocyanosides which are potent antioxidants which strengthen blood vessels & capillary walls, improve red blood cells, stabilize collagen tissues such as tendons, ligaments & cartilage & has cholesterol lowering effects.
In addition, it helps to maintain the flexibility of red blood cells, allowing them to pass through the capillaries & supply oxygen.
The herb has been shown to be a vasodilator that opens blood vessels & lowers blood pressure.
They also increase retinal pigments that allow the eye to tolerate light.
Since the eyes have a high concentration of capillaries, bilberry may be particularly helpful in improving eyesight.
The herb has been shown to improve night vision, slow macular degeneration, prevent cataracts & diabetic retinopathy.
Taken long-term, bilberry improves eye health, protecting against damage to the eye resulting from diabetes & high blood pressure.
It can sometimes help in short-sightedness.
Regular consumption of Bilberry tea can improve vision by strengthening the retina & blood vessels of the walls in the eyes.
Contains nutrients needed to protect eyes from eyestrain or fatigue & can improve circulation to the eyes.
It is also used to improve varicose veins & has anti-aging effects on collagen structures.
Like a majority of other berries, bilberry possesses very significant amounts of antioxidants & can be employed as a supplement to address diseases such as cancer, reverse the hardening of the arteries & the ravages of stress, as well as to bolster flagging health.
Foodstuffs containing fresh or dried berries have along been given as a cure to diseases such as colds, flu, fever, cough & general malaise.
Taken in small amounts the dried berries can be use as an herbal remedy for diarrhea while intake of large quantities of the fresh berries can cause loose stools.
Bilberry is also recommended for nausea & indigestion.
Sometimes it will be used as a treatment for mild inflammation of the mucous membranes in the mouth & throat.
Other uses Bilberry helps to improve poor peripheral circulation & prevents fluid leakage from blood vessels.
Many circulatory problems can benefit from taking bilberry, including hemorrhoids & varicose veins, chilblains, Raynaud’s disease, intermittent claudication & Bilberry’s potent antioxidant activity makes it a useful supplement in many chronic health problems, especially where circulation is poor.
Reducing bruises from black eyes.
Often used with Hawthorn.
Bilberry is used traditionally as a natural remedy for kidney stones, scurvy & urinary infections.
Bilberries can be used as a supportive treatment for diabetes, both because the berries reduce blood sugar & because they can prevent eye diseases & blood vessel disorders that can accompany diabetes.
Bilberries, along with black cherries, blueberries & strawberries have proven their ability to reduce levels of uric acid.
Those suffering from gout should be getting at least two servings a day of these berry gout fighters. During the winter when fresh berries are not available, used dried bilberries in tea & frozen blueberries as desserts.
Bilberry leaf extract appears to provide some protection against the development of atherosclerosis by lowering levels of LDL cholesterol, which is largely responsible for the formation of arterial plaque.
The leaves of the plant have also been employed since ancient time as a medicine in its own right; it being decocted & given as a remedy for coughs & cold.
Stronger decoctions of the leaf are even prescribed to help lower blood pressure & treat dizzy spells. A tisane made from bilberry leaf is even reputedly helpful for lowering blood pressure & stabilising erratic blood sugar levels.
Very mild decoctions of the leaf is employed for curing stomach pains, while moderately strong decoctions are used to treat chest pains, circulatory problems & aches & pains brought about by arthritis.
When employed as a supplementary medicine, it is believed to help treat diabetes.
Like the fruits, a topical application of a very strong decoction of the leaves may help to cure various skin diseases & hasten the healing of wounds & if employed as a mouth rinse, can even be used to treat cold sores, canker sores & halitosis.
Bilberry leaves are a useful urinary antiseptic for conditions such as cystitis.
The plant can also help Crohn's disease.
Bilberry side effects can be serious. Bilberry possesses anti-platelet activity, it may interact with NSAIDs, particularly aspirin.
Excessive drinking bilberry juice may cause diarrhea.
Bilberry side effects may include mild digestive distress, skin rashes & drowsiness.
High doses of bilberry leaf can be poisonous & should only be consumed as a supplement or medicine in minute doses, as it may compromise the ability of the body to properly synthesise sugar.
The leaves & berries are used in the homeopathic treatment of diabetes & are used in making jams, preserves, liqueurs & wines.
When dried, it may be stored & consumed in much the same way as raisins.
Bilberries can also be juiced, with the extruding liquid being stored for future use.
Use 1 tsp crushed, dried berries to each teaspoon of water.
Bilberry is a great tasting tea & blends well with spices like cinnamon, or with other berries.
Infusion: boil 2 - 3 tsp of dried leaves in 1 cup of water.
Take 1 cup per day.
For dried berries, simmer 1 cup of water & 1 tsp dried berries for 15 minutes.
Drink 1-2 cups per day, cold.
Fresh berries: 1 cup per day of fresh fruit.
Blueberries can be used if bilberries are not available.
Tea for diarrhea: Simmer 1 tbsp dried berries in 2 cups water for 20 minutes.
Drink ½ cup every 3-4 hours .
4 cups blueberries
2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
4 tbsp cornflour
Place blueberries, sugar & water into a saucepan & bring to a boil.
Mix cornflour with ca 100 ml of cold water & stir into blueberry mixture.
Continue stirring over low heat until soup thickens.
Pour into a serving dish & serve immediately.
Alternatively, you can sprinkle soup with a bit of sugar, cool it in the fridge & serve chilled.
To fully benefit from the antioxidant powers of blueberries, it is best to eat blueberry dishes without dairy.
When crushed & applied topically, the berries help to treat excessive oiliness, dryness, or flaking & cure fungal & bacterial skin disorders (i. e. shingles, eczema, etc.).
Carrying a sachet in which bilberry leaves are placed will increase your luck, keep away evil & break hexes or curses.
Eating the berries provide protection from within.
Burn the leaves like incense in the bedroom directly before going to sleep. Do this for 7 days to make all your dreams come true.
Placing some bilberry fruit or the leaves of the plant around the entrances to your home can prevent malign influences from entering.
Bilberry can also be used in spells or rituals to attract love or success.
Bilberries have long been considered as protective herbs.
When employed esoterically, the dried leaves may be powdered & sprinkled around the perimeters of a household or otherwise burnt as an incense to protect the inhabitants within from malign forces & to drive away negativity.
An incense of bilberry leaves is also said to generate luck & facilitate in the acquisition of material desires or wealth.
The leaves may be encased in a medicine pouch & carried upon one's person during traveling to protect one from harm.
When worn next to one's skin, it is said to effectively nullify nearly all forms of psychical attacks. The protective properties of the leaf are also possessed by the berries & it is said in folklore that eating foodstuffs containing the berry effective de-hexes a person of any spell or enchantment.
Bilberry is deeply linked to the Celtic Harvest Festival, which today is commonly known as Lammas or Lughnasadh.
The people of Cheshire are said to eat the berries picked on Lammas with cream & milk for good luck.
In Ireland, there are still numerous county festivals centred around the picking of the bilberries on Lughnasadh.