Bilberry

General Information

Common Name:

Bilberry

Latin Name:

Vacinium myritillus L

Family:

Ericaceae

Other Names:

  • Huckleberry
  • Whortleberry

Indications & Historical Uses

Historical Use:
More than 40 years ago, British pilots reported that eating the fruit of the bilberry bush helped to improve their night vision. Since this time, the bilberry fruit has been shown to have multiple beneficial effects which result from the ability of the plant to help maintain healthy microcirculation in all parts of the body. In Europe, the bilberry has been used to improve circulatory health, relieve diarrhea and improve eyesight, particularly at night.

Indications:

Diarrhea.

May help with visual acuity and provide protection against macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts. Those are based on studies carried out on small animals and small number of human subjects. More extensive clinical studies on human beings are required to verify these claims.

More recently used to control cellulite.

Historically used in two major areas: ophthalmology and vascular disorders.

Contraindictions & Precautions

Contraindictions:
none knonw (see Caution).

Ophthamology:

  • Diabetic and hypertensive retinopathy
  • Myopia.
  • Dark adaptation.
  • Pigmentary retinitis.
  • Diabetes-induced cataracts.

Vascular disorders:

  • Varicose veins.
  • Anti-coagulation problems.
  • Phlebitis ยท Hypertension.
  • Advanced diabetic complications.
  • Arteriosclerosis.
  • Hemorrhages.
  • Bleeding gums.

Dosage Information

How Supplied:

80 mg. Capsules.

Dosage:

80 mg capsules – 1 capsule taken 2 times per day.

Pharmacology

Anthocyanosides help to maintain the integrity of capillaries and also help to stabilize collagen. They are also potent anti-oxidants.Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that bilberry is effective in the treatment of disorders of circulation, varicose veins and other venous and arterial disorders. Anthocyanosides stabilize phospholipids of the endothelial cells and enhance synthesis of collagen and mucopolysaccharides and therefore help maintain the structural integrity of the arterial walls. Anthocyanosides also prevent the aggregation and adherence of platelets to the endothelial surfaces. Some studies have shown that anthocyanosides promote production of Rhodopsin and therefore improve night vision.

Active Ingredients:

  • Anthocyanosides
  • Flavonoids
  • Anthocyanoside – over 15 different anthocyanosides have been found in bilberry.

Origin

Originated in Europe. It is a flowering perennial found in heaths and woods and forest meadows across Europe and parts of North America. This thickly branched ,deciduous shrub belongs to the same plant family as cranberries and American blueberries .Its juicy, black ,coarsely wrinkled berries ( fruit ) contain a purple meat and brownish-red seeds.

Processing

Part of the plant used medicinally is the fresh fruit.
Active ingredients are extracted with hydromethanolic solution.
Standard amount of active ingredient is 25% of anthocyanosides calculated as anthocyanidin .

Scientific References

Jonadet, M. et al (1983) Anthocyanosides extracted from Vitis vinifera, Vaccinium myrtillus, and Pinus maritimus. I. Elasstase-inhibiting activities in vitro. ll. Compared angioprotective activities in vitro. J.Pharm. Belg. 38:41-46.

Detre, A. et al. (1986) Studies on vascular permeability in hypertension: actions of anthocyanosides. Clin. Physiol. Biochem. 4:143-9

Frohne. D. Zeltschrift filr Phytotherapie 11:209-213 (1990)

Ronziere, M.D. et al. (1981) Influence of some flavonoids on reticulation of collagen fibrils in vitro. Biochem Pharmacol. 30:1771-6.

Main E. et al. (1977) Anthocyanosides and the walls of the microvessels: further aspects of the mechanism of action of their protective effect in syndromes due to abnormal capillary fragility. Minerva Med. 58:3565-81.

Lietti, A. and Forni, G. (1976) Studies on Vaccinium mytrillus anthocyanosides. L. Vasoprotective and anti-inflammatory activity. Arzneim Forsch. 26:829-32.

Bottecchia, D. et al. (1987) Preliminary report on the inhibitory effect of Vaccinium myrtillun anthocyanosides on platelet aggregation and clot retraction. Fitoterapia 48:3-8.

Bettini, V. et al. (1984) Effects of Vaccinium myrtillus anthocyanosides on vascular smooth muscle. Fitoterapia 55:265.72.

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