Overview

Blueberry is a plant. The fruit is commonly eaten as a food. Some people also use the fruit and leaves to make medicine.

Be careful not to confuse blueberry with bilberry. Outside of the United States, the name "blueberry" may be used for a plant called "bilberry" in the U.S.

Blueberry is used for aging, memory and thinking skills (cognitive function), and many other conditions, but there is limited scientific evidence to support any of these uses.

How does it work ?

Blueberry, like its relative the cranberry, might help prevent bladder infections by stopping bacteria from attaching to the walls of the bladder. Blueberry fruit is high in fiber which could help normal digestive function. It also contains vitamin C and other antioxidants. Blueberry also contains chemicals that might reduce swelling and destroy cancer cells.

Uses & Effectiveness ?

Possibly Ineffective for

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Decline in memory and thinking skills that occurs normally with age. Some research shows that taking blueberry daily for 3-6 months might help improve some thinking and memory tests in adults over 60 years of age. However, most tests for thinking and memory do not change. If there is a benefit, it is probably small.
  • Aging. Some research shows that eating frozen blueberries can improve foot placement and balance in elderly people. However, other research shows that eating blueberries does not help with these things. Also, eating blueberries doesn't seem to improve strength or walking speed in elderly people.
  • Athletic performance. Early research shows that taking dried blueberries doesn't help people run faster or make running feel easier. But it might help maintain strength 30 minutes after the run.
  • Memory and thinking skills (cognitive function). Early research shows that taking a single dose of blueberry may improve some types of learning in children ages 7-10 years. But it doesn't help with most types of learning and it doesn't help children read better.
  • Depression. Some people that have a clot in one of the vessels in the brain may experience depression. In those people with depression, they may be more likely to have infections in the GI tract. Some research suggests that taking blueberry extract daily for 90 days can reduce symptoms of depression and also reduce infections in this group of people.
  • High levels of fats called triglycerides in the blood (hypertriglyceridemia). Early research shows that taking a single dose of blueberry leaf extract might help to reduce levels of fats in the blood after a meal in people with this condition.
  • Arthritis in children (juvenile idiopathic arthritis). Early research shows that drinking blueberry juice daily while using the medicationetanercept reduces symptoms of arthritis in children better than the medication alone. Drinking blueberry juice might also reduce side effects caused by etanercept.
  • A grouping of symptoms that increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke (metabolic syndrome). Taking dried blueberries does not help improve most symptoms of metabolic syndrome. But it might help to improve blood flow in some people.
  • Bad circulation.
  • Cancer.
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fever.
  • Hemorrhoids.
  • Labor pains.
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS).
  • Peyronie disease (build-up of scar tissue in the penis).
  • Preventing cataracts and glaucoma.
  • Sore throat.
  • Ulcers.
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs).
  • Varicose veins.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of blueberry for these uses.

Side Effects

When taken by mouth: Blueberry fruit is LIKELY SAFE for most people when consumed in the amounts found in food. There isn't enough reliable information to know if taking blueberry leaf is safe or what the side effects might be.

When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if blueberry is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions and Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Blueberry fruit is LIKELY SAFE when used in amounts commonly found in foods. But not enough is known about the safety of the larger amounts used for medicine. Stick to normal food amounts if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Diabetes: Blueberry might lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use blueberry products. The dose of your diabetes medications may need to be adjusted by your healthcare provider.

Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency: G6PD is a genetic disorder. People with this disorder have problems breaking down some chemicals in food and drugs. One or more of these chemicals are found in blueberries. If you have G6PD, only eat blueberries if you get approval from your healthcare provider.

Surgery: Blueberry might affect blood glucose levels and could interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using blueberry at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Interactions ?

    Minor Interaction

    Be watchful with this combination

  • Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with BLUEBERRY

    Blueberry leaves might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking blueberry 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.

Dosing

The appropriate dose of blueberry depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for blueberry. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References

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 2018.