Overview

Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) is a plant that produces berries similar to the American blueberry. The dried fruit and leaves are used as medicine.

Bilberry contains chemicals called tannins. They might help reduce swelling. The chemicals in bilberry leaves might also help to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and improve circulation in people with diabetes.

People use bilberry for night vision, poor circulation that can cause the legs to swell, high blood pressure, and many other conditions. But there is no good scientific evidence to support any of these uses.

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.

Uses & Effectiveness ?

Possibly Ineffective for

  • Ability to see in low-light conditions. Taking bilberry by mouth doesn't improve night vision in healthy people. It isn't clear if bilberry is helpful in people with night blindness.
There is interest in using bilberry for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.

Side Effects

When taken by mouth: Eating dried, ripe bilberry fruit in typical food amounts is likely safe for most people. Bilberry fruit extracts are possibly safe when taken in doses up to 160 mg daily for up to 6 months. But bilberry leaf is possibly unsafe to take in high doses or for a long time.

Special Precautions and Warnings

When taken by mouth: Eating dried, ripe bilberry fruit in typical food amounts is likely safe for most people. Bilberry fruit extracts are possibly safe when taken in doses up to 160 mg daily for up to 6 months. But bilberry leaf is possibly unsafe to take in high doses or for a long time. Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Bilberry fruit is likely safe when consumed in small amounts as a food. There isn't enough reliable information to know if it is safe to use bilberry in the higher doses found in medicine when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and stick with food amounts.

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

Interactions ?

    Moderate Interaction

    Be cautious with this combination

  • Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with BILBERRY

    Bilberry might lower blood sugar levels. Taking bilberry along with diabetes medications might cause blood sugar to drop too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely.

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

    Bilberry might slow blood clotting. Taking bilberry along with medications that also slow blood clotting might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

  • Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1) substrates) interacts with BILBERRY

    Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Bilberry might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.

Dosing

Bilberry fruit has most often been used by adults in doses of 160-240 mg by mouth daily for up to 6 months. Bilberry extracts are usually standardized to contain a certain amount of chemicals called anthocyanins. Products providing 120-160 mg of these chemicals daily have been used for up to 6 months. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what type of product and dose might be best for a specific condition.
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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 2020.