Parts Used & Where Grown
A close relative of American blueberry , bilberry grows in northern Europe, Canada, and the United States. The ripe berries are primarily used in modern herbal extracts.
What Are Star Ratings?
Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.
For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.
3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:
Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)
The dried berries and leaves of bilberry have been recommended for a wide variety of conditions, including scurvy, urinary tract infections , kidney stones , and diabetes . Perhaps the most sound historical application is the use of the dried berries to treat diarrhea . Modern research of bilberry was partly based on its use by British World War II pilots, who noticed that their night vision improved when they ate bilberry jam prior to night bombing raids.1
How It Works
How It Works
Anthocyanosides, the flavonoid complex in bilberries, speed the regeneration of rhodopsin, the purple pigment that is used by the rods in the eye for night vision.22 While earlier trials suggested that taking bilberry could benefit people with night blindness ,23 , 24 more recent trials with healthy volunteers have found no effect of bilberry on night vision.25 , 26 Preliminary human trials conducted in Europe show that bilberry may prevent cataracts ,27 and may even help to treat people with mild retinopathies (such as macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy ).28 , 29 Anthocyanosides are potent antioxidants .30 They support normal formation of connective tissue and strengthen capillaries in the body. Anthocyanosides may also improve capillary and venous blood flow. Bilberry may also prevent blood vessel thickening due to diabetes .31
Bilberry protects cholesterol from oxidizing in test tubes.32 While this action is thought to help prevent atherosclerosis , no human trials have studied whether bilberry may be useful in the regard.
How to Use It
Bilberry herbal extract in capsules or tablets standardized to provide 25% anthocyanosides are typically recommended at 240–600 mg per day.33 Herbalists have traditionally recommended taking 1–2 ml two times per day in tincture form, or 20–60 grams of the fruit daily.
Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds
At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.
Interactions with Medicines
As of the last update, no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
At the time of writing, there were no well-known side effects caused by this supplement.
1. Brown DJ. Herbal Prescriptions for Health and Healing. Roseville, CA: Prima Health, 2000, 47–54.
2. Scharrer A, Ober M. Anthocyanosides in the treatment of retinopathies. Klin Monatsblatt Augenheilk 1981;178:386–9.
3. Perossini M, Guidi G, Chiellini S, Siravo D. Diabetic and hypertensive retinopathy therapy with Vaccinium myrtillus anthocyanosides (Tegens®): Double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Ann Ottalmol Clin Ocul 1987;113:1173–7 [in Italian].
4. Scharrer A, Ober M. Anthocyanoside in der Behandlung von Retinopathien. Klin Monatsblatt Augenheilk 1981;178:386–9.
5. Srivastava R, Dikshit M, Srimal RC, Dhawan BN. Anti-thrombotic action of curcumin. Throm Res 1985;404:413–7.
6. Srivastava KC, Bordia A, Verma SK. Curcumin, a major component of food spice turmeric (Curcuma longa) inhibits aggregation and alters eicosanoid metabolism in human blood platelets. Prost Leuk Essen Fat Acids. 1995;52:223–7.
7. Pulliero G, Montin S, et al. Ex vivo study of the inhibitory effects of Vaccinium myrtillus (bilberry) anthocyanosides on human platelet aggregation. Fitoterapia 1989;60:69–75.
8. Liu J. Effect of Paeonia obovata 801 on metabolism of thromboxane B2 and arachidonic acid and on platelet aggregation in patients with coronary heart disease and cerebral thrombosis. Chin Med J 1983;63:477–81 [in Chinese].
9. Van Acker SA, van den Berg DJ, Tromp MN, et al. Structural aspects of antioxidant activity of flavonoids. Free Rad Biol Med1996; 20:331–42.
10. Salvayre R, Braquet P, et al. Comparison of the scavenger effect of bilberry anthocyanosides with various flavonoids. Proceed Intl Bioflavonoids Symposium, Munich, 1981, 437–42.
11. Bravetti G. Preventive medical treatment of senile cataract with vitamin E and anthocyanosides: clinical evaluation. Ann Ottamol Clin Ocul 1989;115:109.
12. Tyler VE. Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals. New York: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 1994, 51–4.
13. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenburg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum and Beaconsfield, UK: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1988, 101–2.
14. Duke JA. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Plants. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1985, 209.
15. Scharrer A, Ober M. Anthocyanosides in the treatment of retinopathies. Klin Monatsbl Augenheikld Beih 1981;178:386–9.
16. Mian E, Curri SB, Lietti A, Bombardelli E. Anthocyanosides and the walls of microvessels: Further aspects of the mechanism of action of their protective in syndromes due to abnormal capillary fragility. Minerva Med 1977;68:3565–81.
17. Alfieri R, Sole P. Influencedes anthocyanosides admintres parvoie parenterale su l’adaptoelectroretinogramme du lapin. CR Soc Biol 1964;15:2338 [in French].
18. Jayle GE, Aubry M, Gavini H, et al. Study concerning the action of anthocyanoside extracts of Vaccinium myrtillus on night vision. Ann Ocul 1965;198:556–62 [in French].
19. Belleoud L, Leluan D, Boyer YS. Study on the effects of anthocyanin glycosides on the nocturnal vision of air controllers. Rev Med Aeronaut Spatiale 1966;18:3–7.
20. Zadok D, Levy Y, Glovinsky Y. The effect of anthocyanosides in a multiple oral dose on night vision. Eye 1999;13:734–6.
21. Muth ER, Laurent JM, Jasper P. The effect of bilberry nutritional supplementation on night visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. Altern Med Rev 2000;5:164–73.
22. Sala D, Rolando M, Rossi PL, et al. Effect of anthocyanosides on visual performance at low illumination. Minerva Oftalmol 1979;21:283–5.
23. Jayle GE, Aubry M, Gavini H, et al. Study concerning the action of anthocyanoside extracts of Vaccinium myrtillus on night vision. Ann Ocul 1965;198:556–62 [in French].
24. Belleoud L, Leluan D, Boyer YS. Study on the effects of anthocyanin glycosides on the nocturnal vision of air controllers. Rev Med Aeronaut Spatiale 1966;18:3–7.
25. Zadok D, Levy Y, Glovinsky Y. The effect of anthocyanosides in a multiple oral dose on night vision. Eye 1999;13:734–6.
26. Muth ER, Laurent JM, Jasper P. The effect of bilberry nutritional supplementation on night visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. Altern Med Rev 2000;5:164–73.
27. Bravetti G. Preventive medical treatment of senile cataract with vitamin E and anthocyanosides: Clinical evaluation. Ann Ottalmol Clin Ocul 1989;115:109 [in Italian].
28. Perossini M, Guidi G, Chiellini S, Siravo D. Diabetic and hypertensive retinopathy therapy with Vaccinium myrtillus anthocyanosides (Tegens®): Double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Ann Ottalmol Clin Ocul 1987;12:1173–90 [in Italian].
29. Scharrer A, Ober M. Anthocyanosides in the treatment of retinopathies. Klin Monatsbl Augenheikld Beih 1981;178:386–9.
30. Salvayre R, Braquet P, Perruchot T, DousteBlazy L. Comparison of the scavenger effect of bilberry anthocyanosides with various flavonoids. Proceed Intl Bioflavonoids Symposium, Munich, 1981, 437–42.
31. Boniface R, Miskulin M, Robert AM. Pharmacological properties of myrtillus anthocyanosides: Correlation with results of treatment of diabetic microangiopathy. In Flavonoids and Bioflavonoids, L Farkas, M Gabors, FL Kallay, eds. Ireland: Elsevier, 1985, 293–301.
32. Francesca Rasetti M, Caruso D, Galli G, et al. Extracts of Ginkgo biloba L. leaves and Vaccinium myrtillus L. fruits prevent photo induced oxidation of low density lipoprotein cholesterol. Phytomedicine 1997;3:335–8.
33. Brown DJ. Herbal Prescriptions for Health and Healing. Roseville, CA: Prima Health, 2000, 47–54.
Last Review: 11-07-2012
Copyright © 2012 Aisle7. All rights reserved. Aisle7.com
The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2013.
Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
465 Congress Street Suite 600 | Portland, Maine 04101-3537 | (207) 775-7001