Health Benefits of Bilberry

Health Benefits of Bilberry

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  1. Origins

    Bilberry is indigenous to the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada, as well as most parts of Europe and Asia. Since the 1500’s it has been used in Europe to relieve the symptoms of several stomach and digestive disorders. In Germany, it has been approved by many herbal professionals as a remedy for diarrhea.

    Active Components

    Bilberry has many of the same active components as blueberry and cranberry which are closely related. It contains anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, glycosides and antioxidants. Antioxidants destroy free radicals and prevent damage to cells and other tissue.

    Health Benefits

    Along with the benefits provided by its antioxidants, bilberry offers support for vision-related disorders as well. Its high levels of anthocyanins strengthen blood vessels both in the eye and leading to it. People with hypertensive retinopathy and diabetes have used bilberry to improve their eyesight and reduce loss of vision, according to the University of Michigan Health Center. Bilberry also contains flavonoids that have been known to reduce the complications of cataracts and macular degeneration.

    In Europe, bilberry has been used for centuries to treat diarrhea and other digestive complaints. Fresh berries may aggravate certain conditions but dried berries and the juice have been used with great benefit. Tea made from the bilberry plant’s leaves is often used to treat an upset stomach.

    Side Effects

    Bilberry’s side effects include headaches, dizziness and stomach upset. Reports of side effects are rare and usually occur when too much is taken at once. Medications that are used to treat blood clotting disorders, high blood pressure or to regulate blood sugar may be less effective if taken along with bilberry supplements. Consult your physician before taking any herbal supplement to avoid adverse reactions.

    Dosage

    Bilberry capsules come in various strengths and combinations. Always read the label carefully and follow the directions concerning proper dosage. Consulting an herbalist or other healthcare professional will help you determine what dosage meets your individual needs.

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