Bilberry is the fruit of a plant similar to the blueberry. It has been a part of traditional European medicine for almost 1,000 years. People also eat bilberries by making pies, jams and other desserts. The other names of bilberry are the whortleberry, European blueberry, and the huckleberry.
There are several medicinal benefits of bilberry which are known since decades. A few of them includes:
Anthocyanins found in bilberry are antioxidants. Bilberry anthocyanins protect from free radicals causing cell damage. Bilberry anthocyanins are considered to be effective on both the blood vessels and on the blood cells.
Researchers found that bilberry is effective on venous insufficiency of the lower limbs. Bilberry restores normal blood flow. Another study manifested bilberry extract can treat varicose veins in the legs. It is also useful in cramps, swelling and heaviness of the ankle and calf.
Bilberry anthocyanins reduce the adverse impact of pyridinium bisretinoid A2E. It can also help in treating cataract and glaucoma patients.
Bilberry juice may have inhibitory impact on H. pylori growth in vitro studies.
Bilberry juice contains anthocyanins and these chemicals make bilberry to combat cancer. In vitro study, bilberry juice was effective to diminish the development of HL60 human leukemia cells and HCT116 colon carcinoma cells.
Some other researches also manifested the anti-cancer activity of bilberry. Bilberry extracts have been found to inhibit the development of colon-cancer-derived HT-29 cells. Bilberry has been witnessed to eliminate both H2O2 as well as TNF alpha induced VEGF expression by the human keratinocytes.
Bilberry also may in diminishing complications of diabetes mellitus.
Based on majority of commercial bilberry products composition, the recommended bilberry extract contains 36% bilberry anthocyanosides. The recommended dosage is generally from 160 to 320 mg of bilberry extract.
It has been studied that the side effects of bilberry could be serious. Bilberry possesses anti-platelet activity and it can interact with NSAIDs, specifically with aspirin. More than recommended consumption of bilberry juice may lead to diarrhea. One study of 2295 individual fed with bilberry extract found 4% events of side effects. The side effects may encompass mild digestive disorder, skin rashes and drowsiness. Chronic facilitation of the bilberry leaf may result in serious side effects. High doses of bilberry leaf can be even poisonous.