Bilberries Herbal

Bilberries

Vaccinium myrtillus

PART USED: Berry

PROPERTIES: Tonic, Diaphoretic, Sudorific, Febrifuge, Antiseptic, Anti-inflammatory

SYSTEMS AFFECTED: Endocrine/Glandular (adrenals, pancreas), Eyes, Digestive

POSSIBLE USES: vision problems, pancreatic health, blood sugar problems, cellular integrity throughout the body, vein health

Bilberries are rich in flavonoids that strengthen intra-cellular membranes and collagen. Bilberry is particularly known all over the world for the treatment of eye ailments such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and general eye fatigue and light sensitivity. Bilberries increase retinal pigments that allow the eye to tolerate light. Researchers have found that plant-based anthocyanosides such as are found in Bilberries increase the production of rhodopsin, a pigment in the retina that is involved in the formation of photoreceptor cells. Bilberries strengthen vein structure and are used effectively in the treatment of varicose veins and hemorrhoids. Perhaps it is the strengthening of the tiny blood vessels that feed the eyes that account, at least partially, for Bilberry’s effectiveness in eye health. Bilberries were used by pilots during World War II to improve their night vision.

Bilberries are high in chromium, which is a mineral that is essential to pancreatic health and the stabilization of blood sugar levels. I can find no studies on humans, only animals, that confirm this stabilization of blood sugar levels, but the presence of chromium certainly indicates that it would be excellent for people, too. Studies are running but have not been running long enough for “medical” verification purposes. Bilberries are helpful in rebuilding the liver after cleansing.

Bilberries are an excellent source of antioxidants, including some that are reputed and known to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and macular degeneration.

Bilberry Leaf

Vaccinium myrtillus

PART USED: Leaf

PROPERTIES: Tonic, Diaphoretic, Sudorific, Febrifuge, Antiseptic, Anti-inflammatory

SYSTEMS AFFECTED: Integumentary (skin), Endocrine/Glandular (adrenals, pancreas), Eyes, Digestive

POSSIBLE USES: skin problems, wound healing, vision problems, pancreatic health, blood sugar problems, cellular integrity throughout the body, vein health

INGREDIENT IN: HGL, LC, LIC, PF

There is very little information (that I can find) about Bilberry Leaf that can be shown to be speaking of the leaf and not the fruit. However, in the herbal world, we know that the best time to pick the leaf of a plant is before it flowers or produces fruit as that is the season in which the energy is highest in the leaf. We also know, however, that in the essential oil world at least, the properties of the leaf, flower, and fruit are very different but related. Bilberry, leaf and berries, in any dosage are completely without toxic side effects!

Why have we used Bilberry Leaf instead of fruit in these formulas? Part of the reason, I suppose, is because that is the traditional use established in the last century by truly amazing herbal practitioners such as Dr. Christopher, and because the leaves are water soluble and make such nice teas or tinctures. Bilberry is related to Hawthorn and the leaves of Hawthorn have many similar characteristics to the berries while having some distinctive features of their own. The formulas in which Bilberry Leaf is used here are mostly for pancreatic function. As always, I would consider adding berries to my diet at the same time, perhaps in jams and juices and as dried fruits.