Bilberry is known as the European blueberry and is related to the cranberry. It also goes under the names of blaeberry, whortleberry and huckleberry.
The berries are used to make a standardised extract for capsules, but the berries are also dried and used as a tea.
Bilberry is used to help prevent and treat eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and poor night vision.
It may help wound healing, prevent and treat bruising, haemorrhoids and varicose veins, and treat diarrhoea and urinary tract infections.
Bilberry contains potent antioxidants that may strengthen blood vessels and reduce inflammation. It also contains tannins that may help diarrhoea, mouth ulcers and sore throats.
It is sometimes combined with other antioxidants such as vitamin E to help improve eye conditions.
A twice-daily dose of 1000 mg is normal (in capsule form).
There is a theoretical possibility that bilberry could affect blood sugar levels or blood clotting times. Diabetics and people taking anti-coagulant drugs must be aware of this and take care.
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