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BilberryBilberry a perennial shrub is a close relative of blueberry and is used since ages for its medical and culinary advantages. Number of biologically active compound is present in bilberry and its extracts along with a class of compounds called anthocyanisides.
Bilberry is used in jams preparations, pies, syrups, and alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages. Bilberry fruit extracts are used as coloring agent in various wines. Bilberry can be eaten fresh or its dried fruit can be consumed for health benefits.
Bilberry extract have been studies for various health benefits and its efficacy is evaluated as a hypoglycemic, antioxidant, mucostimulant, anti-inflammatory and as lipid lowering agent.
But more scientific evidence is requires in all the fields to prescribe it in these conditions.
Bilberry and health
- Bilberry has excellent antioxidant properties and is helpful in various health conditions. Benefits listed below are based on the unclear scientific studies.
- Anthocyanisides in bilberry may help strengthen blood vessels, prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol and improve circulation. This it is beneficial in the treatment of heart disease and atherosclerosis.
- Bilberry can also be beneficial for eye disorder cure. It may be used as a treatment in preventing cataracts and retinopathy (damage to retina).
- Bilberry leaf extract can help to lower the blood glucose levels and is used traditionally in diabetes treatment.
- Bilberry may also be helpful in relieving menstrual pain, diarrhea and healing stomach ulcers.
- Patients with diarrhea should use dried bilberry preparations, as fresh ones might worsen the condition.
Side effects of bilberry
Bilberries contain resveratrol which is an antioxidant and may have additive effects when taken with grapefruit supplements.
- Bilberry when taken in recommended doses is generally believed to be safe for short period of time with no major reports on side effects and toxicity. However if taken in large doses bilberry can upset stomach, increase risk of bleeding, or hydroquinone poisoning.
- Fresh bilberry fruit can have a laxative effect and can cause diarrhea.
- Patients with hypoglycemia and using medications for the same should take bilberry with caution as it may further decrease the blood sugar levels. Serum glucose should be monitored well when a person with hypoglycemia is on bilberry supplementation along with other medications or herbs.
- Bilberry supplement may decrease the blood pressure so medical doses can be adjusted when a person is on bilberry supplementation.
- Patients with bleeding disorders or on medications or herbs that increase the risk of bleeding should use bilberry with caution as bilberry leaf extract may increase bleeding risk.
|Submitted on January 16, 2014