Bilberry Benefits | Eye Health, Antiinflammatory & Antioxidant

Bilberry Health Benefits

For centuries, whole bilberries have been consumed as food and valued for their flavour and high nutritional value. Due to their potent astringent & antioxidant properties, the Bilberry is used to treat mucous membrane inflammation, haemorrhoids, and diarrhoea and improve eye and cardiovascular health. It is believed that British Royal Air Force pilots in World War II noticed an improvement in their night vision after consuming bilberries or bilberry jam, which promoted interest in the therapeutic actions of Bilberry.

Bilberry Pharmacology

Botanical Name

Vaccinium myrtillus

Other Common Names

Bilberry Fruit, Bilberry Leaf, Black Whortles, Bleaberry, Dwarf Bilberry, Dyeberry, European Bilberry, Huckleberry, Swedish Bilberry, Trackleberry, Whortleberry and Wineberry.

Part Used

Fresh Fruit / Berries, occasionally the leaves.

Main Therapeutic Compounds

Anthocyanoside flavonoids (anthocyanins), vitamins,  pectins, and quercetin, catechins, tannins & iridoids.

Herbal Actions







Inducing apoptosis (cancer prevention)

Bilberry Herbal Benefits

Circulation ||  Eye Health || Glaucoma || Macular Degeneration || Cancer Prevention || Inflammation || Antioxidant Status || Diarrhoea

Cardiovascular Health

The antioxidant anthocyanin, which is found in high concentrations in bilberry, helps to reduce inflammation, protects blood vessels, and scavenges free radicals. It has also been demonstrated that bilberry can increase microcirculation. It does this by lowering vascular permeability while simultaneously increasing vascular tone and blood flow.

It is widely held that reactive oxygen species (ROS), a type of free radical that is capable of causing damage to cells, play a main role in the deterioration of vascular health and may be a contributing factor in the development of a variety of cardiovascular disorders. New research suggests that the vasoprotective effects of bilberry may shield coronary arteries from ROS, decrease platelet aggregation, and improve microcirculation.

Eye Disorders

Recent studies have shown that bilberry extract may help treat a variety of eye conditions, including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration. Despite the fact that the positive effects of bilberry on the eye are not entirely understood, the researches hypothesised on the processes behind these effects. The researchers came to the conclusion that bilberry increased the transport of oxygen and blood to the eye, as well as scavenged free radicals, which have the potential to alter collagen structures and contribute to macular degeneration and cataracts.

In a recent study conducted on animals, it was discovered that a bilberry extract that had been standardised to contain 25 percent anthocyanosides was effective in preventing macular degeneration, cataracts, and damage to the retina.

Anti-Inflammatory & Antioxidant

Numerous randomised controlled experiments have shown that bilberry extract has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (RCT). According to the findings of these investigations, the antioxidant anthocyanin found in Bilberry reduced vascular permeability and increased the health of the capillary wall. This impact was principally brought about by the enhancement of the endothelium barrier, the stabilisation of membrane phospholipids, and the restoration of blood vessel connective tissue.

A small randomised controlled trial (RCT) with 27 individuals with metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease explored the effects of a diet enriched with bilberries on inflammatory markers. The participants were given 400 grammes of bilberries per day in their diet. A number of inflammatory indicators, including C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6, and lipopolysaccharide, were shown to have decreased levels during the course of the trial, in addition to an overall reduction in inflammatory symptoms.

Bilberry Typical Use

Fresh Fruit

Fresh whole Bilberries can be eaten straight, made into jam and added to most beverages such as juice or smoothies.

Dried Herb & Powder

Typical adult use of powdered or dried crushed Bilberry is 5mg - 10 grams daily in capsule, tablet or powder form.

Tincture & Liquid Extract

Typical adult use of bilberry tincture or liquid extract is approximately 5-10mls daily, or as directed by your practitioner.

Herbal Combinations

Bilberry combines well with Ginkgo, Gotu Kola, Butchers Broom, Turmeric & Hawthorn Berries.

Cautions & Safety

Due to a lack of research in this area, Bilberries are not recommended during pregnancy and lactation.

In theory, Bilberry may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with thinning blood medication due to the antiplatelet activity of Bilberries.
If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical medications, please consult your primary healthcare practitioner prior to use.


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