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The Many Benefits Of Bilberry
Bilberry Fruit is at the forefront of herbal research due to its many therapeutic properties, especially its ability to help a wide range of eye problems. Knowledge of this herb's medicinal benefits dates back hundreds of years.
Hildegarde de Bingen, a 12th century mystic, abbess and herbalist, recommended bilberry to treat lung complains. In Elizabethan times, a syrup was made of the sumptuous berries and combined with honey to make a syrup remedy.
Later, during World War II, pilots of the British Royal Air Force were given rations of bilberry jam just before night flying missions to improve their visual acuity.
BILBERRIES ARE RICH SOURCE OF ANTIOXIDANTS, NUTRIENTS:
Bilberries contain carbohydrates and are a rich source of potassium. One cup of berries contains 140 IU of vitamin A, 20 mg vitamin C and 1.4 mg iron. Magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc are present in appreciable amounts.
Bilberries are a rich source of antioxidants that can be used as a urinary antiseptic to treat bladder infection; can help to prevent plaque buildup in the blood vessels, improve capillary fragility and used to treat varicose veins. Bilberries improve circulation to the body's extremities and improve blood flow to the brain like Ginkgo biloba. As an anti-emetic, bilberry has been used to prevent and treat vomiting.
In the treatment of ulcers, bilberries can help as both a preventive and curative by increasing gastric mucosa.
In cell cultures, bilberry exhibits activity against herpes simplex II, influenza, protozoa, yeast, fungi and dysentery. Bilberry has been used to lower fevers and treat scurvy and gout. In the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, bilberries are anti-inflammatory and beneficial to connective tissues. Bilberry helps to reduce blood platelet aggregation due to the presence of prostacyclin, which dilates blood vessels.
Bilberry's ability to help a wide range of problems that effect the eyes has generated increasing interest in herbal research. Some of the uses include retinal and macular degeneration, night blindness, day blindness, nearsightedness and retinitis pigmentosa.
By enhancing collagen and lowering pressure in the eyeball, bilberry has been helpful in glaucoma. In one study, with the help of Vitamin E, 97% of 50 patients were able to stop the progression of senile cortical cataracts.
Another study included 31 patients, 20 with diabetic retinopathy, five with retinitis pigmentosa, four with macular degeneration and two with hemorrhagic retinopathy. When they were treated with an extract of bilberry, all showed lessened permeability and hemorrhagic tendencies, especially those with diabetic retinopathy. Bilberry helps increase circulation to the eyes and improve the ability to focus. Bilberries help to accelerate retinol purple regeneration, which is necessary for good vision. Italian research has shown that bilberry can improve circulation to the eyes by 80%. Europe processes hundreds of tons of bilberries annually to be used in treating eye disorders.
ANTHOCYANIN MAY BE KEY TO HERB'S HEALING PROPERTIES
One of the most noted constituents found in bilberry is anthocyanin, a flavonoid of a blue-red pigment that aids vascular stability and improves microcirculation. They favorable affect the enzymes in retinal cellular metabolism. Anthocyanosides are being used therapeutically in Europe to strengthen capillaries, enhance collagen, improve brain function and act as an antioxidant. They seem to have a special affinity for the kidneys and help those with fragile capillaries in the filtering mechanism. One anthocyanoside found is myrtillin, a blue pigment that has an anti-bacterial effect. The effects of anthocyanosides have been compared to bioflavonoids, which help to strengthen capillaries.
PRECAUTIONS, DOSAGE RECOMMENDATIONS
Bilberry leaves, as well as the fruit have been used therapeutically. The leaves are leathery, alternating with deeply indented lines. They are astringent, due to the presence of tannin and have been used to treat diarrhea and as a mouthwash and gargle. They have been found to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics; however, people should consult a health professional before doing this as it may alter insulin and there is some concern that long-term use may have mild toxicity. The leaves contain hydroquinone and their suggested use is as a tea three weeks on and off. Bilberry's quinic acid content helps to inhibit uric acid formation. Optimal results with bilberry are usually seen four hours after ingestion.
Energetically, bilberry is classified as being cool, sour, astringent and drying. It helps to clear hot, inflamed conditions. Generally, bilberry is not used when cold stomach conditions exist, such as diarrhea. Through the juice will benefit the runs, excess amounts of the fruit may have a laxative effect.
Bilberry is considered to be safe even for pregnant women. Most of the research with bilberry has been with a 25% anthocyanin content, with 80 mg to 160 mg taken three times daily. Dosages as high as 400 mg per kilogram of body weight have been given without adverse side effects. Excess levels are apparently excreted through the urine.
Bilberry has a wide range of benefits, people who depend on their eyes a lot may find this substance, which is available in tablets. Eating blueberries will provide some of the same results. Those who work with computers, artists, pilots and air traffic controllers or anyone else who depends on visual ability may find bilberries helpful.
Bilberry Fruit (Concentrated) (60 tablets)