Other Proposed Uses
Often called European blueberry, bilberry is closely related to American blueberry, cranberry, and huckleberry. Its meat is creamy white instead of purple, but it is traditionally used, like blueberries, in the preparation of jams, pies, cobblers, and cakes.
Bilberry fruit also has a long medicinal history. In the twelfth century, Abbess Hildegard of Bingen wrote of bilberry's usefulness for inducing menstruation. Over subsequent centuries, the list of uses for bilberry grew to include a bewildering variety of possibilities, from bladder stones to typhoid fever.
What Is Bilberry Used for Today?
However, neither anecdote nor basic scientific evidence of this type can prove a treatment effective. Only double-blind, placebo-controlled studies can do that. (For more information, see the article Why Does This Database Rely on Double-blind Studies? ) Regarding night vision, the balance of the evidence suggests that bilberry is not helpful. Slight evidence hints that bilberry might be helpful for diabetic retinopathy . One double-blind study suggests that bilberry might be helpful for hemorrhoids .
Finally, because the anthocyanosides in bilberry resemble the oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes ( OPCs ) found in grape seed and pine bark, bilberry has been recommended for all the same uses as those substances, including easy bruising , varicose veins , minor injuries , and surgery support .
What Is the Scientific Evidence for Bilberry?
The standard dosage of bilberry is 120 to 240 mg twice daily of an extract standardized to contain 25% anthocyanosides.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking:
- Medications to reduce blood sugar : bilberry leaf (not fruit) might amplify the effect, and you may need to reduce your dose of medication.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 08/2013 -
- Update Date: 08/22/2013 -