Key Bilberry Extract Information You Need to Know
Bilberry extract (Vaccimium myrtillus) is a short, perennial plant that grows in the forest of the Rocky Mountains, Europe, western Asia, and even into Canada.
It tends to like damp, woody environments and shady areas.
As you can see from the graphic accompanying this web page, it is a bluish and blackish berry that is creamy white on the inside.
It’s been used as a food for literally as long as man has walked the earth, dating back even to prehistoric times.
This edible fruit bilberry, which is related to the American blueberry, huckleberry, and cranberry, is still today called the European blueberry and is used in pies, jam speads, cobblers, and other pastry confections.
Its main benefits, though, reside not in cooking, but for its significant medicinal qualities.
Bilberry is one of the most underrated yet useful herbs (and fruits) in the world and has been used by herbalists since at least the 16th century.
It comes in many varied forms including as a liquid, capsule form, and of course as a dried herb for use as a tea.
It’s also been used as an ingredient as an eye wash though as well (we’ve used it in this manner actually). It is rich in compounds called anthocyanosides that clinical studies confirm is where its therapeutic benefits lie.
These compounds or substances strengthen blood vessel walls, improve blood flow to the tiny blood vessels in the eyes, as well as the larger ones as well, and help to strengthen as well as synthesis collagen — the protein responsible for supporting connective tissue in ligaments, the skin, and in tendons.
In actuality, this herb/fruit is an antioxidant for the eyes and helps to minimize and even reverse oxidizing damage done to the blood vessels in the eyes.
It is popular for improving eye health including helping with or improving conditions of poor night vision, cataracts, macular degeneration, and other vision disorders.
Another benefit of this versatile fruit and herb is its helpful way with diarrhea, mouth and gum inflammation and sore throats.
This herb is actually prescribed in some European countries for these very issues. This herb can also help with diabetics who have been diagnosed with retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness of blindness with diabetics.
It is also believed to help with preventing heart disease by reducing artery plaque and lowering blood pressure. Bilberry-herb is optimally used with the fruit and a little leaf at most.
Side Effects of Bilberry
Herbalist Recommandations & Precautions
What are the side effects of Bilberry? There are almost no known documented side effects of bilberry and is a very safe fruit and herb.
However, not much scientific data exists on the dried leaves themselves so it’s best to avoid the leaves using only a very little of the leaf.
The fruit, however, is very healthy — even when used on a long-term basis. It has been used for treating eye problems of various kinds but also for its other varied health benefits as discussed in the previous section.
How much should you take, though? Herbalists recommend dosages that range from 80 mg to 160. For cataracts, macular degeneration as well as other eye problems, recommend the 80 to 160 mg range, recommending 1/2 a teaspoon of it two to three times a day.
For varicose veins, herbalists and doctors alike also recommend 80 to 160 mg of a standardized extract three times a day. If eating the bilberry-fruit, as with all fruits, eat it in moderation. Anything to excess is detrimental.
How To Choose a Bilberry Extract Supplement
As with all herbal medicines, you only want to choose supplements that are made from standardized extracts. Most supplement makers don’t use standardized extracts as it is expensive to do so.
Standardized extracts preserve and extract the active compounds of the particular herb which is where the therapeutic benefits reside — in this case the anthocyanosides. Look for standardized extracts that contain 23% to 37% of anthocyanosides.
Make sure the bilberry-supplement is produced at pharmaceutical standard GMP registered facilities.
Facilities that are GMP registered comply with the most rigid standards so as to minimize the possibility of product contaminants. (These are the same standards pharmaceutical companies in the United States are required to operate under as mandated by the FDA.)
Vitamin supplements at large are not regulated by the U.S. F.D.A. and as such fraud is sadly commonplace. If interested, this link gives more information on that subject.
It is also recommended that your bilberry extract supplement be used with other powerful vitamins and herbs as many nutrients are co-factors or co-dependent in their biochemistry and are more effective when combined with other compounds.
I recommend your bilberry extract also have lutein and zeaxanthin especially and as broad a range of vitamins, minerals, and other herbal extracts as possible to optimize biochemical effiency.
I’ve found a company that offers GMP compliant products, and meets all the above criteria.
Their multivitamin supplement product not only has Bilberry extract but also Lutein and zeaxanthin, which are also good for eye health.
This is a scientifically formulated multivitamin containing a full spectrum of vitamins, minerals, herbal extracts, trace and specialty minerals, and nutrient-rich enzymes.
Yours in health,