Health benefits of Bilberry
Bilberries are low growing shrubs found mainly in the continent of Eurasia including places like Britain, Siberia and Barbary. These plants bear globular wax-like flowers which turn into fruits that are usually dark-blue in colour. It has leathery leaves. The name ‘Bilberry’ has a Danish root; the root being ‘bollebar’ which in Danish means ‘dark berry. Bilberries belong to the genus Vaccinia and species myrtillus. They rarely grow above a foot high. Bilberries are acidic when raw, but once cooked they taste sweet. Various types of bilberries are used to make jams and pies. Let’s see what other added advantages bilberries have.
Primary Use of this Herb
Both fruit and leaves of bilberry are used to treat a wide range of disorders. Bilberries are rich in anti-oxidant pigments called anthocynosides which are primarily responsible for their health benefits. Bilberries are used to treat digestive disorders like diarrhoea and dysentery.
Chemical And Nutrient Content in Bilberry
The herb contains
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin C
Health Benefits of Bilberry
Keeps a check on Diabetes
Bilberry has been since a very long time for preventing and curing diabetes. It helps regulate the blood sugar level in the body owing to its high concentration of anthocyanin. The dietary bilberry extract helps improve the conditions of hyperglycemia and insulin sensitivity in diabetes type-2; this is suggested by recent studies.
Effects in protecting cardio activity
Bilberry is highly effective in maintaining healthy cardiovascular-activity. The anthocyanins present in bilberry help in improving and regulating the LDL and HDL cholesterol levels in the body. Research studies have shown the positive effects of the bilberry fruit on the blood pressure and vascular health lead to the inhibition of platelet aggregation and smooth muscle contraction. Also, anti-ischemic and anti-arrhythmic activity of bilberry on the heart which helps in stimulating the coronary flow is extremely important in preventing cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis.
Bilberry extract is very beneficial in preventing eye age-related disorders such as night-blindness and cataract. The bilberry extract helps in formation of the pigment ‘rhodopsin’ which helps the eyes to adapt to changes in light.
Prevention of cancer
Bilberry inhibits the growth of cancer cells. This is because of the phenolic compounds such as glycosides and delphinidin that initiate the process of programmed cell death known as ‘apoptosis’ that inhibit the growth of malignant cancer inducing cells.
The phenolic compounds in bilberry are also known to possess anti-microbial activities. It is effective against species of Staphylococcus, Clostridium, Salmonella and Bacillus.
Protection against liver and kidney damage
Bilberry extract contains elements that enhance the levels of glutathione and vitamin C reducing the nitric oxide levels in the tissues of the liver preventing liver damage. As for the kidneys, the extract regulates the creatinine, serum urea nitrogen and nitric oxide.
How to Use
- Bilberry extracts are most commonly used. However, both, its fruit and leaves are used to make extracts.
- Bilberry can be used in both, fresh and dried form.
Bilberry can affect anti-coagulant and anti-platelet medications unfavourably. Pregnant women should be extra cautious about the dosage and consumption of bilberry. Excessive doses may cause fatal effects in individuals.