Common Names: bilberry, European blueberry, whortleberry, huckleberry
The bilberry bush is a relative of the blueberry and is native to many areas, including the Rocky Mountains and regions of Europe and Asia.
Its berries and leaves have been used for medicinal purposes since the Middle Ages for a variety of conditions, including diarrhea, scurvy, infections, burns, and diabetes. During World War II, British pilots ate bilberry jam, thinking it would improve their night vision.
Difference between bilberry and blueberry:
bilberries have dark red, strongly fragrant flesh and red juice that turns blue in basic environments; blueberries have white or translucent, mildly fragrant flesh
bilberries grow on low bushes with solitary fruits, and are found wild in heathland in the Northern Hemisphere; blueberries grow on large bushes with the fruit in bunche
Today, bilberry is used as a dietary supplement for cardiovascular conditions, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, eye problems, diabetes, and other conditions.
Bilberry is an herbal product. A substance in bilberry fruit strengthens capillary resistance and helps protect capillaries from damage by free radicals.
Bilberry contains a variety of compounds thought to influence health. The fruit appears to be rich in anthocyanins (a class of substances with antioxidant properties), vitamin C, flavonoids, tannins, and caffeic and chlorogenic acids.
Eye conditions, including night blindness, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts; to decrease blood clotting; and for hemorrhoids. It is also promoted to improve circulation conditions in patients with varicose veins and atherosclerosis. Bilberry has been used for diarrhea, especially mild cases. It may have other uses as well. Check with your pharmacist for more details regarding the particular brand you use.
Do not take bilberry without first talking to your doctor if you have a bleeding or blood clotting disorder; if you are taking a medicine to prevent blood clots; or if you are taking other medications, herbs, antioxidants, or health supplements (these may also affect blood clotting). Bilberry may affect the time it takes for the blood to clot.
Bilberry fruit is considered safe when consumed in amounts typically found in foods, or as an extract in recommended doses for brief periods of time.
Bilberry leaves may be unsafe when taken orally (by mouth) in high doses or for long periods of time.