herbals bilberry

RECND247

Bilberry

Scientific:Vaccinium myrtillus
Other:Bilberry (Europe), huckleberry & blueberry (North America)
Synonym:Vaccinium angustifolium

Indications

The fresh fruit can be used to prevent degenerative diseases; the dried berries can be used specifically for diarrhea.

Gastrointestinal
diarrhea, particularly with children (dried fruit)†
constipation, sluggish bowels (fresh berries)

Urinary
• prevents lower urinary tract infections

Cardiovascular
• may prevent stroke and cardiovascular disease (berries)
• reduced vascular tone (berries)
• atherosclerosis (berries)
• capillary fragility
hemorrhoids (also post-hemorrhoidectomy)
varicose veins
• venous insufficiency

Ophthalmic
• retinopathy (berries)
• macular degeneration
• impaired night vision
• cataracts
glaucoma

Cancer
colorectal cancer
breast cancer

† Note: bilberries as several times more astringent than north american blueberries and thus is better suited for diarrhea.

Actions

antioxidant
astringent
• nutritive
antiadherence
• laxative
hypoglycemic
antiseptic (urinary)

Constituents

Berry:
• anthocyanins - act as condensed tannins that stabilize vascular tissue; may have antimicrobial effects

Leaf:
• has greater antimicrobial effects than its berries

Posology

Berries:
• Dried: 20-60 g/day (~1/4 cup)
• Fresh: 15 g of berry

Note: the dried berries are indicated for diarrhea, not the fresh berries.

Safety

Long-term use: Berries are safe. Leaves are generally safe but long-term use safety has not yet been established.

Interactions

Monitor patients on anti-coagulant therapy.

References

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Barnes J, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines, 3rd ed. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 2007.

Bone K. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2000.

Bone K. A Clinical Guide to Blending Liquid Herbs: Herbal Formulations for the Individual Patient. St Louis, MO: Churchill Livingstone, 2003.

Brinker F. The Toxicology of Botanical Medicines, 3rd ed. Sandy, Oregon: Eclectic Medical Publications, 2000.

Felter HW, Lloyd JU. King's American Dispensatory. 1898. http://www.ibiblio.org/herbmed/eclectic/kings/main.html. Accessed: August 19, 2006.

Hoffman D. Medical Herbalism. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press, 2003.

Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield, England: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1988.

Williamson EM, ed. Major Herbs of Ayurveda. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2002

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