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BILBERRY

Other Names:

Airelle, Arándano, Bilberry Fruit, Bilberry Leaf, Black Whortles, Bleaberry, Brimbelle, Burren Myrtle, Dwarf Bilberry, Dyeberry, European Bilberry, Feuille de Myrtille, Fruit de Myrtille, Gueule Noire, Huckleberry, Hurtleberry, Mauret, Myrtille,...
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BILBERRY Overview
BILBERRY Uses
BILBERRY Side Effects
BILBERRY Interactions
BILBERRY Dosing
BILBERRY Overview Information

Bilberry is a plant. The dried, ripe fruit and leaves are used to make medicine.

Bilberry is used for improving eyesight, including night vision. In fact, during World War II, British pilots in the Royal Air Force ate bilberry jam to improve their night vision, but later research showed it probably didn’t help. Bilberry is also used for treating eye conditions such as cataracts and disorders of the retina. There is some evidence that bilberry may help retinal disorders.

Some people use bilberry for conditions of the heart and blood vessels including hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), varicose veins, decreased blood flow in the veins, and chest pain.

Bilberry is also used for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), hemorrhoids, diabetes, osteoarthritis, gout, skin infections, gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, kidney disease, and urinary tract infections (UTIs).

It is sometimes applied directly to the inside of the mouth for mild mouth and throat soreness.

How does it work?

Bilberry contains chemicals called tannins that can help improve diarrhea, as well as mouth and throat irritation, by reducing swelling (inflammation). There is some evidence that the chemicals found in bilberry leaves can help lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Some researchers think that chemicals called flavonoids in bilberry leaf might also improve circulation in people with diabetes. Circulation problems can harm the retina of the eye.

BILBERRY Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

Possibly Effective for:

  • Problems with the retina of the eye in people with diabetes or high blood pressure. Research studies used a product that had a high concentration of the chemicals in bilberry that seem to improve blood circulation.

Possibly Ineffective for:

  • Improving night vision. There is contradictory evidence about the effectiveness of bilberry for improving night vision. However, the weight of evidence suggests bilberry is not effective for night vision.

Insufficient Evidence for:

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of bilberry for these uses.


BILBERRY Side Effects & Safety

The dried, ripe fruit of bilberry is LIKELY SAFE for most people when eaten in typical food amounts. Bilberry fruit products, such as powders or extracts, also seem to be safe for most people.

Bilberry leaf is POSSIBLY UNSAFE for most people when taken in high doses or for a long time. If you have diabetes, keep in mind that bilberry leaf might lower blood sugar. Monitor your blood sugar closely.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy or breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of bilberry during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Surgery: Bilberry might affect blood glucose levels. This could interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking bilberry at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.

BILBERRY Interactions What is this?

Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination

  • Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with BILBERRY

    Bilberry leaves might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking bilberry leaves along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

    Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

  • Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with BILBERRY

    There is some concern that bilberry might slow blood clotting. Taking bilberry along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. However, there is not enough information to know if this is a serious concern.

    Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.


BILBERRY Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • The typical dose of the dried, ripe berries: 20-60 grams daily. People also drink a type of tea made from 5-10 grams (1-2 teaspoons) of the mashed berries.
  • A dose of 160 mg of bilberry extract taken twice daily has been used in people with diseased retinas.
  • Bilberry leaf is commonly used as a tea. The tea is prepared by steeping 1 gram, 1-2 teaspoons, finely chopped dried leaf in 150 mL boiling water for 5-10 minutes, and then straining. Don’t use bilberry leaf long-term.

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Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

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