Vaccinium myrtillus

Vaccinium myrtillus                              Common name:  Blueberry, Bilberry

Family: Ericaceae

Part used:  Berry/fruit, leaf

Constituents: Flavonoids: anthocyanosides, tannin (7%), polyphenols (catechin, epicatechin), nutrients (Vitamin B1, C, beta carotene), pectin

Medical actions:  Anti-inflammatory, astringent, diuretic, antioxidant, anti-microbial, anti-edematous, venous tonic, vaso-protector, anti-platelet, anti-emetic, anti-diarrheal

Medical uses: Is indicated in visual disturbances/poor vision, retinopathy, cataracts and macular degeneration, as well as retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy, and night-blindness. Used in the prevention and treatment of glaucoma.The antioxidant effects make Vaccinium useful in gout and rheumatoid arthritis. It is useful for venous insufficiency (especially in the legs), hemorrhoids, varicose veins and capillary fragility as a whole.

Bilberries have been used as food and for their high nutritive value. Medicinally, they have been utilized in the treatment of scurvy and urinary complaints (including infection and stones). The dried berries have been used primarily for their astringent qualities. in the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery. Decoctions of the leaves have been used in the treatment of diabetes.


  • Anthocyanins are antioxidant and blood vessel tonics which help to stabilize collagen and protect it during inflammation.
  • Over 15 different anthocyanosides originate from the five different anthocyanidins found in bilberry.

Pharmacy: Standardized extract (25% anthocyanosides): 80-160 mg TID. Fresh berries: 2-4 oz. TID. Decoction, as a mouthwash or tea:  simmer 3 tbsp in ½ Liter of water for 10 min, drink throughout the day. Tincture: (1:1, 25%), 3-6ml QD.

Contraindications:  Caution in hemorrhagic disorders.

Toxicity: None reported.

Interactions: Anti-coagulant medication (theoretical).

Michael T. Murray, N.D. Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus). American Journal of Natural Medicine. January/February 1997 * Vol. 4, No. 1


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