Health Benefits of Bilberry
Bilberry is one of the highest sources of anthocyanins. They are potent, bright-colored antioxidants. This European relative of blueberries is incredibly vital for your eyes. Bilberry may also offer protection to your gut and blood vessels, maintain weight loss, and reduce cholesterol.
Here, I will tell you more about Bilberry's potential benefits and the ways you can use it to maintain your health.
What is Bilberry?
Bilberry is a low growing shrub, also known as European bilberries. Bilberries belong to family ericaceae and genus vaccinum. It is edible and safe for human consumption. They are dark blue and like berries in shape. Name bilberry belongs to the Scandinavian origin that shows that these barriers are older than 1577. Bilberry is known as blaeberry in Scotland and whortleberry in England.
Bilberries are primarily present in European areas, especially of north regions of the Americas. These berries are called as North American blueberries. They are non-climatic fruits, smooth and circular in shape.
Occurrence of Bilberry
Bilberry is found in areas that are acidic in nature, and their soils contain inferior nutrients. They can be seen in temperate regions and subarctic regions of the world. As compared to other fruits, they are not easy to grow because their fruits are small in size. That is why bilberries are packed with the help of berry picking racks the same like lingonberries, but in this way, their fruits can be damaged.
These berries are softer and rich in juice as compared to blueberries. This property of bilberries makes it more difficult to transport. Fresh bilberries are only available in markets and stores. However, frozen bilberries can be found anywhere in any part of Europe throughout the year.
Health Benefits of Bilberry
Still, there’s some scientific proves that it offers promise in the treatment of specific conditions. Here’ are the proven health benefits of bilberries.
As a nutritious supplement
Bilberry is high in nutrients. Its nutrients are found similar to blueberries. Scientific studies say that bilberry contains 15 grams of sugar and almost and 4-gram fiber and nearly 85 calories. That is the reason it is considered to be the most valuable fruit of its taxonomic family. Fiber available in bilberry is almost 148 grams.
Not only that, but It also contains 85% water in it. Also, it is considered as a good source of vitamin C, and K. Magnesium ion is also found abundant in this fruit. We can say that it is a good source of Vitamin C and K, along with magnesium ion and minute calories.
As an antioxidant
It is one of the best fruit considered that boost our immune system and protects it from various disease. It is rich in antioxidants that aid antibodies in their work. Research explains that bilberry contains the same antioxidant property as other members of its family-like blueberry, bilberries, etc.
It is a good source of vitamin C and phenols. Both of these are considered a valuable source of anthocyanins. Anthocyanin is a powerful antioxidant that gives a red, green, and blue color to fruits and vegetables. Anthocyanin is regarded as the best thing in bilberries for the delivery of health benefits.
For improvement of vision
Research is performed with a glaucoma patient. Glaucoma is a condition in which a continuous decrease in vision occurs at a gradual speed—scientists have given them with anthocyanin extracted from bilberry for two years.
After two years, their vision improved by 30% as compared to other groups, which were only given simple treatment. However, the average amount of anthocyanin in this era is almost 120mg per day. We can say that bilberry can improve vision.
Another study revealed that taking bilberry extract in a powdered form, almost 160-480 mg per day, decreases dryness of eyes to a great extent. It is also suitable for seeking relief from fatigue that happens through the continuous working of video display terminals.
Some researcher also says that it helps a lot to the patient of night vision, but it is not supported by any typical study or hard and fast rule. Collectively we can say that bilberry extract is much efficient for the treatment of eyes, but further research in this area is needed.
As an immunity booster
One of the significant functions of bilberry is, it fights against inflammation and root out many diseases helping our immune system. It might be possible that this characteristic is due to its antioxidant anthocyanin, but no proper evidence is available to support this theory.
Study effect of bilberry on the immune system, a study has been performed on people who are taking bilberry extract y of 300mg per day. A clear declined of 38-60% is noticed in the people as compared to other people who only got a 6% decrease in inflammation at the end of the study. The duration of this study was three weeks, so you can imagine how quick it is to provide relief in inflammation.
Another study of 4 weeks was performed with the people suffering from inflammation. As a result, the scientist states that drinking 11 ounces of bilberry juice daily that is almost 325mL, reduces inflammation marker from the body.
For the treatment of diabetic patients
People who use bilberry and diabetic too reported that their glucose level decreases right after taking bilberry. To find the fact behind that, scientists researched animals. After their research, they said that anthocyanin naturally triggers insulin production in the body of animals. Also, anthocyanin helps insulin to move blood sugar from the blood to cells.
After that, another study was performed, but this time it was with patients of diabetic type 2. Two groups were made of diabetic type 2 patients. One was given with bilberry, and others left with simple treatment. After the end of the research, scientists illustrated that taking 50grams of fresh bilberry extract reduced blood sugar levels to a great extent as compared to other groups.
After all these studies, scientists reviewed a group of adults. They were given the fresh bilberry for eight weeks. They concluded that it boost up insulin production and protect us from metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome condition is said to be a group of diseases with brain stroke, type II diabetes, and cardiac arrest. More studies are still going on human beings to reach a final statement about this fact.
Improving cardiac health
Bilberry is enriched with vitamin K. Vitamin K is too beneficial for human health. Its primary function is to prevent blood clotting within the human body. If blood clots anywhere, it can cause a heart attack or cardiac failure. Eventually, it may lead to death. But bilberry saves us from all those risks providing us a maximum of vitamin K. Some studies say that bilberry reduces the blood pressure of cardiac patients.
For research, scientists took a group of 35 people who take different fruits of berries family, including bilberries and noticed their platelet activities, HDL cholesterol, and blood pressure regularly for eight weeks. They noticed that all things are going well in favor of human health, and their cardiac health is improving day by day.
Another study of 12 weeks with the people taking 320 mg of anthocyanin daily basis suffered a rise of 12% HDL cholesterol in their body that is good for health. Not only this, but they also reported that their LDL drop 14% during this duration.
For the treatment of Gingivitis
Gingivitis is the inflammation of gums. To find out the reality, Researchers researched three groups of people suffering from gingivitis. They gave 500mg of bilberry extract to the first group, 250mg to the second group, and the third group left for medication only.
They noticed that people of the group who consumed 500mg of bilberry extract recovered a lot as compared to the other two groups. To support this theory, they passed a statement that anthocyanin is responsible for this activity. It acts as a marker at the site of inflammation due to which recovering agent with phagocytes immediately reaches the place of infection leading to a quick recovery.
Some worthy benefits
Bilberry is enriched in nutrients. It provides the necessary nutrients to our brain. Specifically, it gives aid to memory charger in our mind and helps in improving our memory. Not only may this be subjected to older adults to prevent memory loss in the end days of life. In youngsters, it is necessary due to its enriched nutrients property. It prevents males from baldness and headache to persons with high mental activities.
It also helps phagocytes in our bodies to kill bacteria. People who consume bilberry do not affect microbial organisms, especially salmonella and staphylococcus aureus. Also, bilberry helps T-cells and immunity boosters in our bodies. Few people say that daily intake of bilberry extract may reduce the effect of ulcerative colitis and prevent chronic inflammation in colon and rectum.
Some people use powder of bilberry extract orally for improvement of blood circulation in their body because legs can swell due to improper flow of blood in the bottom areas of the body.
Also, it is recommended in the herbal treatment of menstrual cramps that is called dysmenorrhea in medical terminology. Herbalists recommend their intake daily three days before the start of menstruation. It should be continued for at least three menstruations for painless periods.
The juice is bilberry is also recommended to people engaged in hard physical activities. This juice reduces muscle soreness and pain, if any. In short, we can say that it is the best dose of sportsmen.
Ayurvedic Benefits of Bilberry
- Varicose veins may be decreased by using bilberry herb by reducing swelling as well as promoting circulation. Bilberry's benefits include increasing healthy blood circulation and avoiding blood clots that are several clinical test support.
- It has always been a folk treatment for problems in the eyes maintained by plenty of scientific tests. A bilberry herb maintains the blood vessels within the eyes and keeps the eye muscles robust and working correctly. This may aid in getting rid of cataracts as well as diminishing vision.
- World War II pilots used to eat their jam to increase their night vision.
- Bilberry may decrease pain and irritation as well as help to cure ulcers.
- Reynaud's disease symptoms may be minimized utilizing Bilberry, a supplement that boosts blood circulation. Reynaud's condition causes the limbs to feel incredibly cold, as well as maintained circulation may aid to curb this.
- Diabetes may be aided by Bilberry that may decrease blood glucose levels.
- Menstruation cramps may reduce along with bilberry herb, as it can certainly boost the flow of blood.
- Digestive problems, for example, diarrhea, may also be decreased by the astringent features of the bilberry fruit.
- Bilberry helps to eliminate toxins from your system, safeguarding cells, and conditioning your body versus illness. The antioxidants in Bilberry are thought to treat blood cells specifically.
- Its tea is an infusion of the leaves and also fruit in warm water. Herbal tea is a simple way of administering a natural supplement. A cooled bilberry tea may be utilized like a mouthwash to benefit the herb's antibacterial qualities.
- Dried leaves of bilberries are utilized for treating a variety of health problems like fatigue, depression, and restlessness.
- A tea prepared from the dried leaves is powerfully astringent, tonic, and an antiseptic for your urinary tract.
- It is also a remedy for diabetes if consumed for a prolonged period.
- Leaves comprise of glucoquinones that may decrease the levels of sugar in the blood.
- A decoction of the leaves or bark is used locally to treat ulcers and ulceration of the mouth and throat.
- A distilled water prepared from the leaves is a remarkable eyewash for soothing inflamed or sore eyes.
Cultivation of Bilberry
In different areas of Iceland, bilberries are found growing predominantly only in Westford and its surrounding areas. If we deeply observe its habitat, we can easily see that it is found in those areas or countries where blabber is found. There is a vast similarity in the habitat of both of them. Both these species are growing with dwarf birch and crowberries.
However, their wild growth is broad as compared to the Iceland population. There wild harvesting is legal in Iceland, and they are prominent fruit in august when the season of berries reach to its top.
As well as Ireland is concerned, this fruit is named as fraughan in this country. It is collected on last Sunday of July. This Sunday is specially related to this fruit and called as “Fraughan Sunday”. Bilberries are also collected in August.
A famous festival is organized in this month that is called Celtic. It is a festival of Lughnasadh. This is a very first traditional harvest of the year in this area. Native people of these areas believe that production of berries until this fare indicates production until later festivals.
Usage of Bilberries
Bilberries are taken in the past as medicine and food purpose; Ancient Greeks use this fruit for the making of a lot of drugs. It was considered as best medicine against diarrhoea and dysentery. In the 16th century, it was used for drying of breast milk and treatment of haemorrhoids. However, it was found helpful against uncontrolled vaginal discharge, scurvy, cough, lungs tuberculosis and urinary diseases such as stones or infection.
Bilberry leaves were also used to lower blood sugar. This was the most consumed leaf to treat a diabetic patient at that time. It was also considered useful in the treatment of ulcers of mouth and throat. Current researches are also going on to find the logic behind this usage, but none of the evidence supports this statement.
However, anthocyanoside is considered best for the treatment of diabetes, vascular and ocular disorders.
These fruits can be taken directly. Also, there are many other ways to intake this fruit. Juices, pies, jams can be made from them. In France and Italy, people use bb for making alcoholic drinks. Also, it is widely consumed for dessert making as a flavouring item of sorbets. People in Brittany use it for making of thin pancakes.
However, Tarte aux mytilles is considered as a traditional dessert in these areas. In Nordic countries, people consume their fruits directly without any processing. Some people of these areas make jams and dishes from bilberry fruit also. Bilberry soup is also typical in regions of Iceland. People belonging from Poland place sweet berries in sweet buns as a filling material. These buns are served with soured cream in these areas.
Nutrition Profile of Bilberries
Bilberry is rich in nutrients. Essential components of bilberries are proteins, Water, Ash and calories. These are the nutrient that our body needs for our daily life. Proteins present in Bilberry are almost 0.7 grams. A minute amount of water is also available in bilberries that are equivalent to nearly 0.23 grams. Quantity of Ash is higher than all other components that are 87 grams. However, It can deliver 44 calories to the human body.
If we study a profile of carbohydrates available in bilberries, total carbohydrates available in bilberries are almost 11.9 grams from which dietary fibres are 2.8 grams, and starch is found in trace amount. However, No sugar trace is found in bilberries that indicates that it can be consumed by diabetic patients also.
As well as fatty acids are concerned a total of 0.5 grams are present in bilberries. However, not even a single trace is found in bilberries of saturated fats, monosaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
If we discuss its profile of vitamins, a single statement is enough to prove its significance in human health because it is rich in vitamins. We can call it wide range multi-vitamin without any hesitation. Vitamins present in bilberries are
- Vitamin C in the quantity of 44mg
- Vitamin A in the quantity of 1.08 RE
- Riboflavin in a quantity of 0.03 mg
- Thiamin in a quantity of 0.03 mg
- Vitamin B6 in the quantity of 0.06 mg
- Pantothenic acid in a quantity of 0.16 mg
- Folate in the quantity of 6mcg
- β-carotene in a quantity of 13 mcg
Minerals are also available in a wide range. These minerals develop systems of the body. However, they perform duties of collaboration in systems of our body. Have a look at the mineral profile of Bilberry
- Calcium 15 mg
- Magnesium 7mg
- Iron 0.8 mg
- Phosphorus 9mg
- Sodium 3mg
- Potassium 103mg
- Zinc 0.1 mg
- Manganese 3.3 mg
- Copper 0.11 mg
- Chromium 1mcg
- Selenium in trace amounts
Tips for storing Bilberry
- Best way to store Bilberry is to freeze. For the freezing process, first of all, wash them very carefully with an excess of water. Be careful while washing; you have to use delicate hands. Use cold water to wash bilberries and then pat them for drying. Place bilberries in a cookie tray and move to the freezer. Once you froze them place them into an airtight container. Observe carefully to the container that it should be free from any type of moist, dust or bacteria. Without any delay, pass the container to a freezer. Thus you can store bilberries easily.
- However, the other case is if you do not want to store them for a long time, wash them as above described procedure and place them directly in a jar. Cover the pot with a plastic wrap but be careful while putting in a jar because if you place them immediately after washing, then moisture can cause quick rotting of bilberries.
Side effects of taking bilberries
Common side effects of taking observed in different studies are
- Waste of syndrome
- Weight loss
- Muscle loss
- Loss of appetite
- Blood sugar level
- Yellowing of skin and eyes
Toxicology & Biliberry
Toxicologic investigation revealed that anthocyanoside extract of Bilberry is devoid of toxic effects. However, its dosage to rats and rabbits in the quantity of almost 600 mg per day not shown any teratogenic effect. No side effect has been observed in rats as they were given with the dose of 400mg/kg. Dose excess than this level was excreted through bile and urine.
LD50 of bilberry extract is standardized for containing 36 of anthocyanins, and this amount was more significant than 720mg/kg anthocyanins given to rats and mice. However oral administration of dose up to 180mg/kg anthocyanins a day for six months consecutively not produced any toxic, mutagenic or tetra genic effect.
High in antioxidants called anthocyanins and polyphenols; are utilized for medicinal purposes for conditions ranging from eye conditions to diabetes. Bilberry is a famous remedy for eye conditions like glaucoma, dry eyes, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and retinitis pigmentosa.
As sources of powerful antioxidants, they are also considered to fight inflammation and offer protection against diseases linked to oxidative stress, like inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disorder, diabetes, gingivitis, and age-related cognitive decline.
The anthocyanins in bilberry are incredibly crucial for inflammation and stabilize tissues comprising collagen such as cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. Bilberry is also known for strengthening the walls of blood vessels and is sometimes consumed orally for varicose veins and hemorrhoids. So far, minimal studies have tested the health influences of bilberry.