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Bilberry

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Billbery Fruits
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  • AdrenoBoost™ - For Adrenal Gland Functioning
    • Promotes healthy adrenal gland functioning and hormone balance
    • Maintains cortisol levels already within healthy limits
    • Promotes energy levels, alertness and stamina
    • Helps the body adapt to everyday stressors and adrenal fatigue
  • Maintains blood sugar levels already within healthy limits
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How to get the best out of the Malunggay
Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
Nutrient Moringa Leaves Other Foods
Vitamin A 6780 mcg Carrots: 1890 mcg
Vitamin C 220 mg Oranges: 30 mg
Calcium 440 mg Cow's milk: 120 mg
Potassium 259 mg Bananas: 88 mg
Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm

Bilberry

The medicinal herb Bilberry as an alternative herbal remedy for scurvy, diarrhea, menstrual cramps - Bilberry is a relative of the blueberry, and its fruit is commonly used to make pies and jams. Bilberry grows in North America, Europe, and northern Asia.Common Names--European blueberry, whortleberry, huckleberry Latin Names--Vaccinium myrtillus

  • Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) has several active constituents which have been isolated from the berries and leaves of the bilberry plant, including anthocyanoside flavonoids (anthocyanins), vitamins and pectins, which are found in the berries, and quercetin, catechins, tannins, iridoids, and acids, which are found in the leaves. It is traditionally recommended to promote healthy blood sugar levels as well as healthy insulin production. Bilberry also has excellent anti-oxidant properties due to high levels of anthocyanosides, further increasing the supportive health benefits of this remarkable herb. Regular use of Bilberry helps to support healthy vision as well as the health of the tiny blood capillaries which carry oxygen to the eyes (Bone K. "Bilberry-The vision herb". MediHerb Prof Rev . 1997;59:1-4).

Bilberries are distinct from blueberries but closely related to them.

Bilberries are found in very acidic, nutrient-poor soils throughout the temperate and subarctic regions of the world. They are closely related to North American wild and cultivated blueberries and huckleberries in the genus Vaccinium. One characteristic of bilberries is that they produce single or paired berries on the bush instead of clusters, as the blueberry does. Blueberries have more evergreen leaves.

The fruit is smaller than that of the blueberry but with a fuller taste. Bilberries are darker in colour, and usually appear near black with a slight shade of purple. While the blueberry's fruit pulp is light green, the bilberry's are red or purple, heavily staining the fingers, lips, and tongue of consumers eating the raw fruit.

What Bilberry Is Used For

Herbal remedy for scurvy. Bilberry has been used for nearly 1,000 years in traditional European medicine.

Historically, bilberry fruit was used to treat diarrhea, scurvy, and other conditions. Today, the fruit is used to treat diarrhea, menstrual cramps, eye problems, varicose veins, venous insufficiency (poor blood flow to the heart), and other circulatory problems. Bilberry leaf is used for entirely different conditions, including diabetes. How Bilberry Is Used The fruit of the bilberry plant can be eaten or made into extracts. Similarly, the leaves of the bilberry plant can be made into extracts or used to make teas.

Herbal Remedy Products with Bilberry as part of the ingredients

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  • Insulate Plus™ - Natural remedy to balance blood sugar levels and improve pancreatic health
    • Balances blood sugar levels to reduce the need for hypoglycemic medication
    • Enlarges the Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas
    • Improves circulation & blood flow to the extremeties, thereby improving wound healing
    • Improves oxygen-rich blood flow to optical fibers
    • Reduces the craving for sweet foods
    • Fuels the breakdown of fats and balances cholesterol levels
    • Helps reduce the risk of heart disease

What the Science Says about Bilberry

Some claim that bilberry fruit improves night vision, but clinical studies have not shown this to be true. There is not enough scientific evidence to support the use of bilberry fruit or leaf for any other health conditions. NCCAM has not yet funded any research on bilberry.

Side Effects and Cautions about Bilberry

Bilberry fruit is considered safe. However, high doses of bilberry leaf or leaf extract are considered unsafe; animal studies have shown high doses to be toxic. Tell your health care providers about any herb or dietary supplement you are using, including bilberry. This helps to ensure safe and coordinated care.

Bilberry, a close relative of blueberry, has a long history of medicinal use. The dried fruit has been popular for the symptomatic treatment of diarrhea, for topical relief of minor mucus membrane inflammation, and for a variety of eye disorders, including poor night vision, eyestrain, and myopia.

Bilberry fruit and its extracts contain a number of biologically active components, including a class of compounds called anthocyanosides. These have been the focus of recent research in Europe.

Bilberry extract has been evaluated for efficacy as an antioxidant, mucostimulant, hypoglycemic, anti-inflammatory, "vasoprotectant," and lipid-lowering agent. Although pre-clinical studies have been promising, human data are limited and largely of poor quality. At this time, there is not sufficient evidence in support of (or against) the use of bilberry for most indications. Notably, the evidence suggests a lack of benefit of bilberry for the improvement of night vision.

Bilberry is commonly used to make jams, pies, cobblers, syrups, and alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages. Fruit extracts are used as a coloring agent in wines.

News About Bilberry

Natural health: Lumpy breasts and cataracts

By Megan Sheppard

Megan Sheppard gives advice on what to do if you have a problem with lumpiness in my breasts.


• Q. I have a problem with lumpiness in my breasts starting the week before menstruation.

The doctor has told me that this is normal and nothing to be worried about.

Is there something that I can do to reduce the lumps? They go away once my period ends, but they are quite tender.

• A. These breast changes are often referred to as Cyclic Breast Disorder, since the lumps and tenderness become more pronounced in relation to premenstrual changes.

Fibrocystic changes are linked in with the levels of hormones, particularly in women who have high oestrogen, then drop to low progesterone after ovulation.

Caffeine is thought to be linked to cysts and lumps in the breast tissue, with many women showing improvement on eliminating caffeine.

Vitamin E can help with the tenderness issue — 500IU twice daily with food (don’t take this if you are on anti-coagulant medication).

Agnus castus helps to restore balance between progesterone and oestrogen, and can help many hormone-related issues that women experience around menstruation.

Low levels of iodine have been linked to fibrocystic changes, and nascent iodine is often recommend by natural health practitioners for breast health.

Essential fatty acids — particularly evening primrose oil and borage oil — help to reduce inflammation in the tissues and will also support the absorption of iodine.

You should always check with your doctor or specialist if a new or unusual lump develops, if you experience any nipple discharge, if the pain becomes severe, if a lump hardens, or if they persist after your period ends.


• Q. My mother has just started to develop cataracts.

She is only 66 years old. Is there is anything to help slow the growth of the cataracts at this early stage?

• A. Cataracts are formed by the proteins in the lens of the eye breaking down, clumping together, and forming an opaque spot.

This leads to blurred or cloudy vision since light cannot be transmitted effectively to the retina.

Of course, the position and severity of the cataract determines how impaired the vision becomes.

You are wise to start early with support for your mother’s eye health, since supplementation can help to delay cataract growth, and in some cases it can prevent further development.

Surgery is the only scientifically proven method for complete removal of a cataract at the present time.

Antioxidant nutrients are key when it comes to targeting cataracts, and supporting eye health in general.

Vitamins C, and E help to prevent damage to the lens of the eye, particularly from cigarette smoke and UV light.

Smoking and prolonged exposure to UV light are considered to be the two main causes of cataracts.

Selenium helps by neutralizing free radicals. Your mother will need to take at least 1,000mg of vitamin C, twice daily; 500IU of vitamin E daily (not recommended alongside anticoagulant medication); and 400mcg of selenium daily.

Bilberry is well known amongst natural health practitioners for its role in eye health and macular degeneration, since this flavonoid-rich berry assists in the elimination of toxins from the lens and retina.

A US based study found that people aged over 55 years who took vitamin E supplementation (400-500IU daily) were only half as likely to develop cataracts as those who took no vitamin E.

A further study indicated that taking vitamin E in conjunction with bilberry supplementation (standardised to contain 2.5% anthocyanosides) stopped the progression of cataracts in an impressive 48 out of 50 participants.

The dosage of bilberry was 80mg, taken three times a day.

The final nutrient worth considering is flaxseed oil, since the essential fatty acids help to nourish the eye and reduce inflammation.

The recommended dosage is 1 tablespoon (15ml) taken in the morning together with food. It can be whizzed into a smoothie or stirred into juice or cereal.


Are you looking after your eyes?

(Pakistan Observer)

YOUR sight is one of the most dominant senses you possess, requiring the largest amount of sensory receptors. As we age, our eyes can start to deteriorate due to a combination of negative external and internal conditions, including harsh sunlight, UV reflection, nutritional deficiencies and even chronic diseases such as diabetes and atherosclerosis. Some degenerative eye conditions such as macular eye degeneration and cataracts are directly associated with ageing, and nutrient deficiencies play a large part in the process. A lack of some nutrients may contribute to glare sensitivity, poor day and night vision, near sightedness, irritation and redness, and a susceptibility to mild infections like conjunctivitis.

The most common degenerative eye conditions are… Cataracts: Imagine looking through glasses smeared with oil. White cloudy spots, called cataracts, sit on the normally transparent lens of the eye and cause a range of disruptive symptoms. Blurred vision, light sensitivity, faded or yellowed irises, poor night vision and seeing halos around lights are all symptoms of cataracts, the leading cause of blindness around the world.

Macular degeneration: Macular degeneration is like having a blurry dot right in the centre of your vision while peripherals remain unaffected. The macula is the area of the retina where images are focused. Macular degeneration is split into two categories, dry and wet. Dry macular degeneration is the most common type and occurs when retinal cellular debris is gradually accumulated, leading to a gradual loss of vision from the centre outward. Wet macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels leak fluid that damages the macula.

The good news is there are a number of herbs, vitamins and minerals that can help protect and nurture your eyes. Bilberry is a key herb for the eyes and has long been recognised as a visual tonic. Bilberry jam was used by WW2 fighter pilots to enhance their night vision, a notion that has since been confirmed in clinical studies. Important components of Bilberry, known as anthocyanidins, help to protect against the collagen destruction that occurs in conjunction with cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Antioxidants are important for protecting the eye structures from free radical damage and collagen destruction. Helpful antioxidants include zeaxanthin, lutein, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, and bilberry.


5 Healthy Tea Infusions That Aid Weight loss

By Adele Elves

Bilebrry is a small shrub with dark blue fruit, with a sweet taste and popularly used to make pies and jams. Bilberry extract has various medicinal purpose, and it is useful to cure diarrhoea, diabetes, eyesight, varicose veins, etc.

Bilberry extract contains a high amount of plant pigment known as anthocyanosis des an antioxidant that is considered to be healthy for overall well-being.

Chronic tiredness, osteoarthritis, skin infections, urinary tract infections, haemorrhoids and kidney diseases are cured using bilberry extract as a natural remedy.

It has antioxidant that inhibits bruising by increasing vitamin C content, stabilising collagen and strengthens the capillaries. There are various health advantages associated with it.

Herein are the 10 Amazing Uses of Bilberry Extract:

1. Diarrhea

Bilberry extract contains tannins which have anti-inflammatory and astringent properties which tighten and constricts the tissues. It is helpful to lessen the swelling of the intestine and is sufficient to treat diarrhoea. Method to use bilberry extract to treat diarrhoea

Take a cooking pan filled with a half cup of water, add 5 to 10 grammes of dried bilberry crushed and boil for 8 minutes. Strain and bring to room temperature and drink.

2. As cosmetic natural ingredient

Bilberry is widely used in cosmetic industries in body lotions, makeup items, facial creams and directly applied on the face to condition the skin and to make skin tone even and blemish free.

Method to use bilberry extract for healthy and flawless skin

Take half teaspoon of the fruit extract mix with one teaspoon of water. Apply on face and neck; wash off your face after 15 minutes.

3. A sore throat

Bilberry contains tannins that are useful to calm and cure a sore throat. Method to use bilberry extract to treat a sore throat:

Take half cup of water adds half teaspoon of the fruit extract. Mix properly and gargle with this mixture o get relief in a sore throat.

Eating bilberry fruit in moderation by itself will also help.

4. Improved eyesight

The fruit has rhodopsin a pigment that is useful and helps eyes to adjust light at night and also prevents the onset of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Method to use bilberry extract for improved eyesight:

Take 25 to 50 mg of the fruit extract. It has a temporary effect, it is highly effective till 24 hours but and the effect subsides after 24 hours.

5. Improved digestive system

The most shared and significant use of the fruit is to fight against all digestive issues. It is beneficial and treats indigestion, dysentery and diarrhoea and stomach infections.

6. Stronger immunity system

Bilberry extract contains an antioxidant property which fights against free radicals and makes your immunity system strong. And when your defense mechanism is active you are immune from common cold, fever, cough, flu and infections. It eliminates toxins from your body and conditions the body.

7. Diabetes and blood sugar

Bilberry extract is very effective to treat diabetes and blood sugar by regulating the blood sugar level. It enhances the insulin response and sugar metabolism, and it increases the insulin sensitivity by improving the activity of protein. Studies and research suggest that it improve the use of sugar in muscle cells and reduce the blood sugar. It also improves the blood flow towards the nerves and prevents diabetes.

8. Enhance women’s health

Bilberry extract can be helpful to lower and stop the menstrual pain and cramp in females. It can cure stomach ulcers and inhibit fibrocystic breast disease. 9. Protects against chronic venous insufficiency

Bilberry extract is known to cure the blood circulation problem, especially when vein from the legs which carries the blood to the heart is broken. In European countries, it is widely used for the same purpose.

10. Anti-microbial

Bilberry extract has a phenolic substance that has an anti-microbial effect and inhibits the growth of many kinds of pathogens like, bacillus, staphylococcus aureus, clostridium and salmonella. Because of its properties, it protects the bodies from all kind of infections and fights all antibiotic resistant bacteria’s.

Buying tip:

Always buy bilberry extract that is standardised and have flavonoid content. And capsules should contain 25 percent of anthocyanins.

How to use:
• For eyes use 25 mg to 50 mg capsule of bilberry extract.
• For circulatory issues use 80 to 480 mg capsule of bilberry extract.
• For children always use under medical advice.
Word of caution:

Long term use is not yet established, but it is safe for short term use and In moderate quantity or recommended dose.

It is better to avoid during pregnancy and lactating period.

Avoid before two weeks and after two weeks if undergoing surgery.

Always follow the dosage if consuming as a capsule. Overuse can be fat to health.


5 Healthy Tea Infusions That Aid Weight loss

By Brian Syuki

Losing weight isn’t easy. Luckily, there are teas and herbal drinks that can aid you, if your goal is to lose weight. These herbal infusions are derived from plants that help boost metabolism, control appetite and reduce consumption of high-calorie beverages.

Note that adding sugar to tea can hinder weight loss and cause health issues. You’re better off sweetening your teas with a teaspoon of raw organic honey. Here are 5 healthy tea drinks that will help you lose weight.

1. Rooibos Tea Infusion

This herbal tea is made from leaves of a plant native to South Africa. It has been proven to strengthen the immune system and enhance weight loss. For one thing, rooibos tea infusions contain aspalathin, a flavonoid which reduces stress.

This tea also contains antioxidants and minerals that help maintain optimal health. If you don’t like caffeine, this is the perfect tea for you since it’s naturally caffeine-free.

2. Bilberry Tea Infusion

Drinking bilberry herbal tea before meals can help suppress appetite. This herbal drink also helps regulate blood sugar levels and fights inflammation.

You won’t need to add sweeteners to this tea since it is naturally sweet. In fact, you can drink it to curb nighttime sugar cravings. It’s worth noting that bilberry and rooibos are herbal drinks not from the tea plant, but they’re marketed similarly to tea.

3. Green Tea

Green tea comes from the same plant as white, black and oolong tea. But these teas offer different benefits due to the unique ways they are processed. Various studies have suggested that green tea boosts metabolism and promotes fat loss. Most of green tea benefits are attributed to caffeine and potent antioxidants called catechins.

According to this study, participants who took 690mg of catechins a day (equivalent to 4-5 cups of green tea) for 12 weeks, lost an average of 2 more pounds than those who didn’t take catechins. Plus, research shows caffeine can promote weight loss.

4. Oolong Tea

Oolong tea can help you lose weight and keep it off. It boosts metabolism and blocks excess calories from being stored as fat. In one study, participants who drank oolong tea lost 6 pounds in 6 weeks.

Replacing sodas and fruit juice with oolong tea will make it easier for you to reach your weight goal.

5. White Tea

White tea has been proven to boost metabolism and block formation of new fat cells. This study found that white tea helps break down the fat cells in your body.

In another study, participants reduced their waistlines by 10 percent after drinking white tea every day for 12 weeks. Aim to drink 2 cups of white tea a day.

Which tea has helped you lose weight?




How to Grow Vaccinium Myrtillus

By Teo Spengler

A blueberry by any other name is just as sweet, especially if it is Vaccinium myrtillus, commonly called bilberry or European blueberry. Unlike American blueberries that come from hybrid cultivars, bilberries most often grow in the original, wild form which has one fruit per twig rather than clusters. You can plant bilberries in your back yard in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8, as a fruit crop or a ground cover. The bilberry prefers a cooler climate; in warmer zones, take care to keep the plant from getting too hot.

1. Purchase container-raised bilberries rather than bare-root stock as these perennials do not like to have their roots disturbed. Obtain at least two bushes to allow for cross-pollination. Keep the containers outdoors in a cool, moist location until planting time in early spring.

2. Select a planting location for your bilberries that offers full sun in cooler zones and partial sun with afternoon shade in warmer zones. Ensure that soil is well-draining and acidic. If you do not know your soil's pH, buy a tester kit from a garden store. If the pH is greater than 6, consider planting in raised beds so you can bring in acidic soil. Avoid selecting a sheltered location, as the shrub is very tolerant of wind and fruits better with full exposure.

3. Work the soil to a depth of 8 inches and dig planting holes as deep as the bilberry container and twice as wide. Gently remove the container and place the bilberry root ball in the planting hole. Tuck soil around the edges and water well. Add a 2-inch layer of organic mulch to keep the ground cool and moist.

4. Water the bilberries whenever the soil dries out. They require no fertilization and little additional care. Berries ripen in autumn and taste better if allowed to ripen on the shrub.

Things You Will Need
• Container-raised bilberry shrubs
• Soil testing kit
• Shovel
• Organic mulch
Tips
• Bilberries are sweet and make excellent jam and can also be dried like raisins.
• The dried leaves of the bilberry have been used as folk medicine for years in Europe.
• Bilberry juice stains hands, teeth and tongue a deep purple.
Warning
Although bilberries are devoured by loyal fans throughout England, Plants for a Future website suggests that the large amounts of tannin in the berries can cause digestive orders if you eat too many or too regularly. The website also recommends that pregnant woman and people on anticoagulant therapy avoid eating this fruit.




What vitamins, nutrients will help prevent glaucoma from worsening?

(Glaucoma Research Foundation)

In general, I recommend that my patients include nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet. A healthy lifestyle, consisting of balanced nutrition, moderate exercise, and appropriate rest is an important part of your overall health and well-being and can help prevent illness too.

The best way to ensure that you're getting all of your essential vitamins and minerals is to eat a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables -- they are a primary source of carotenoids, which can have overall benefits for vision health. Certain fruits and vegetables with higher vitamin A and C content have been shown to reduce glaucoma risk as well. Some of the most helpful fruits and vegetables for healthy vision are: collard greens, cabbage, kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, celery, carrots, peaches, radishes, green beans, and beets.

Because oxidative stress is associated with damage to the optic nerve in glaucoma, antioxidants may help to prevent further injury. Dietary sources of antioxidants include pomegranate, acai berries, cranberries, dark chocolate, black and green tea, bilberry, lycopene (from tomato products), dark green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach, and flax seeds.

Any specific nutritional deficiencies in your diet can be addressed with supplements that include Vitamins A, B-complex, C, and E as well as the minerals Magnesium, Calcium and Zinc. However, there is no convincing data that vitamin supplements help to prevent glaucoma. I recommend that patients take a general multivitamin if they are uncertain whether their daily nutritional needs are met.

While good nutrition plays a role in disease prevention and overall health, it is not a treatment for glaucoma. Certain herbs such as ginkgo and bilberry may even increase the risk of bleeding with glaucoma surgery. Given the breadth of nutritional supplements available over-the-counter, it is important to discuss with your eye doctor all prescription, herbal, vitamin, mineral, and over-the-counter remedies you currently take. Talk to your doctor about any other questions related to glaucoma and your diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices.


10 Amazing Health Benefits Of Bilberry

By Renold Rajan (STYLECRAZE)

Do you think blueberries and bilberry are one and the same? Well, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Bilberry is a fruit related to the American blueberries. It is commonly called the European blueberry because the fruit is native to Europe’s mountainous regions. The fruit differs from regular blueberries, with its smaller size and wrinkled black skin. The fruit is used in a variety of ways in the kitchen, for pies, cakes, and other sweets.

Above all, bilberry comes with a host of health benefits. Would you like to know what they are? Keep reading!

1. Fix Gastrointestinal Problems:

Bilberries are packed with tannins that reduce the swelling of the intestines, and their astringent content tightens tissues. The fruit helps subdue the problem of diarrhea and has been used for this purpose for centuries (1). Studies also state that the fruit can cure stomach ulcers.

2. Beneficial In Treating Diabetes And High Blood Pressure:

The damage caused to the retina in the eye by high levels of blood sugar and blood pressure is usually irreversible. However, it can be improved to a certain degree with bilberries. The berries control blood sugar levels in people, who have high blood pressure, and they also maintain normal sugar levels in diabetics (2).

3. Battle Infections:

Eating bilberries can fight certain types of infections in the body. The fruit has antimicrobial properties that aid in this process. Bilberries have properties that can even defend the body against illnesses, like salmonella and staph infections.

4. Circulatory Improvements:

Chronic venous insufficiency develops when the valves of the veins in the legs or lower extremities of the body get damaged and cannot deliver blood to the heart as efficiently as before. Ingesting bilberries aids those with this condition and promotes flexibility and viability of capillaries. Varicose veins can be treated the same way; bilberries reduce the swelling, cramps and heaviness of the veins.

5. Prevent Clots:

The anthocyanosides in bilberries may have the power to prevent clotting of blood in the vessels (3). The clustering of platelets and the build-up of plaque from bad cholesterol is reduced by the healthy chemicals in this fruit. This, in turn, prevents life-threatening diseases like strokes and heart attacks.

6. Sharpen Memory:

Lab research on mice has shown that bilberries can improve short-term memory significantly. Also, those who maintain a vegetarian diet are less likely to develop degenerative disorders. This has given hope that bilberry could be used to prevent degenerative diseases like the Alzheimer’s.

7. Cancer Prevention:

Cancer is a rampant disease that claims the lives of many. Bilberry studies have derived remarkable outcomes in this field. Anthocyanosides possess the strength to stall cancer cell activity. The fruit extracts have the ability to prevent the growth of leukemia and colon cancer cells in humans.

8. Antioxidative Properties:

Bilberries carry out tremendous anti-oxidative activities (4). They prevent cell damage and make capillaries more resilient. They also help to increase blood flow, and red blood cells can reshape to pass through the narrow capillaries. Bilberry can destroy free radicals that cause oxidative stress in the body.

9. Improve Eye Sight:

The existence of Rhodopsin in bilberries makes it an eye-friendly fruit. It is believed bilberry may be useful in boosting eyesight and preventing common eye problems like cataract, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.

10. Treats UTIs:

Bilberries are related to cranberries, which are often touted as fruits that can help with kidney and urinary problems. Hence, it is believed bilberry too may have the same effect on the body, especially when it comes to urinary tract infections. Also, bilberries have many anti-microbial properties that many believe can combat infections.

Side Effects Of Bilberry:

While bilberry has many benefits, you also should be aware of a few of its side effects.

• The effect of prescription medicines or any other drug may be countered by the fruit’s chemicals if taken as a continuous supplement on a long-term basis.
• An upset stomach may also result from frequent ingestion of bilberries.
• Headaches, dizziness or drowsiness are some of the other side effects.
• Some people could be allergic to bilberry and could experience an adverse allergic reaction.
• Affect the ability to form clots, thereby risking internal bleeding.
• May bring blood sugar to dangerously low levels.

Benefits of Bilberry for the Treatment Arthritis

By Mark Cruz

In today's generation, arthritis is a very common disease suffered mostly by old people. This is due to the weakening of the bone as well as its supporting cartilages. Most arthritis patients prefer natural remedies than taking chemically made medicines. This is to make them avoid possible negative side effects of chemically made medicines.

The Benefits of Bilberry for Arthritis

Bilberry is somewhat not common to most people suffering from bone related diseases particularly arthritis. However, there are lots of benefits of bilberry for the effective treatment of arthritis. The good thing is it is a very natural way of relieving arthritis problems as well as other bone related diseases. If the patient is adventurous enough and is really eager to treat its arthritis problems in a natural way, then bilberry would be the best remedy for him.

Anthocyanidin are compounds actively present in bilberry which greatly helps for the proper and healthy circulation of blood in the body. This is one of the best benefits of bilberry for arthritis. In addition to anthocyanidin, bilberry is also rich in antioxidants which gives provides proper healthy cell generation and repair.

Where to Get Bilberry?

Both fresh and dried bilberry is effective in the treatment of arthritis. Although, there are times that fresh bilberry is not available, that is why it is usually bought in its dried form. This health giving plants are normally best for cold climates, this means that it is widely grown on tropical countries. There are also frozen bilberries available on the market which could be mixed to some other recipes. Whatever the form would be, the most important is the preservation of the beneficial contents of bilberry.

Possible Bilberry Recipes

Bilberries are best consumed together with some other favorite health foods. There are different recipes that could be made from bilberries like pies and jams. Since its taste is very similar to blueberries, this could be also included in cheesecake recipes for the family.

Bilberry Tea

It could also be consumed in the form of tea, just place dried bilberry leaves to the hot water and strain it afterwards. This is perfect for people who wants a warm condition as well as have favorite in drinking teas. This is also a best substitute for coffee because coffee has caffeine which is sometimes addictive.

Drinking Lots of Water

Water is still one of the best and powerful aids in the treatment of various diseases of the body. While using bilberry in any form for the treatment of arthritis, the patient should accompany the bilberry with drinking lots of water to improve the blood circulation of the body thus makes the treatment faster and more effective.

Do Not Mix Bilberry with Aspirin

If the patient has the plan to consider bilberry as the natural treatment for arthritis, this should not be accompanied with any Aspirin medicine. Taking aspirin could greatly thin the patient's blood which makes it more vulnerable to other kinds of diseases. The patient should also avoid drinking too much alcohol because it could affect the capability of bilberry. Those are the benefits of bilberry for arthritis, always maintain the body healthy for a healthier lifestyle.



5 Ways To Use Bilberry In Skin & Hair Recipes That Are A Total Treat

By Kristin Collins Jackson

As of late, I've noticed bilberry steadily making its way into high-end skin care products. When I saw a toning bilberry serum for $100, I resisted the temptation to splurge and spent some relentless hours experimenting with making toning skin and hair products with bilberry instead. During my beauty playtime, I found that this blueberry relative is no joke: Bilberries have skin and hair benefits like you wouldn't believe.

Bilberry is probably most famous for being a natural supplement some doctors recommend for eye health. The flavonoids in this berry appear to help boost blood circulation and help maintain healthy eyesight, especially when it comes to night vision. These same flavonoids, anthocyanosides, are also why bilberry has become a key ingredient in beauty products aimed at anti-aging.

Bilberry's astringent properties are cleansing, tightening, and nourishing, plus they're packed with plenty of antioxidants to help strengthen our skin and protect it against free radicals. Bilberry is hydrating and antiseptic while having the ability to heal wounds. Since acne is my most common skin issue, I was even more stoked to get my own bilberries to make my own beauty medicine.

You can purchase dried bilberries online from Frontier Co-Op, grow your own, or buy a bilberry tincture. Once you've acquired some bilberries, give these five recipes meant to give you glowing skin and healthy hair a try.

1. Bilberry Oil

There are a few ways to make your own infused oil. I love using solar infusions in my skin recipes because it doesn't require me to heat my ingredients. However, when I'm looking to make a concentration that will be used in much smaller doses, I'll use the Magical Butter machine on low-heat to get my berries cooking. The solar infusion can be used at the same rate of any fixed oil and the extract can be used as a tincture or added to your favorite DIY recipes.

2. Bilberry Toning Cream

For a toning cream you can use all over your body, add bilberry extract to your favorite homemade lotion recipe. You can purchase bilberry extract online or make your own using this recipe. I love using a light fluffy base of butters, oils, and distilled water. For six ounces of lotion, I recommend adding just a teaspoon of bilberry extract so that the lotion doesn't get too sticky and won't have a staining effect. This cream has been an amazing treat at the end of my day after cleansing what feels like all of Brooklyn off my face; a small dime-sized amount nourishes my skin while I catch up on my zzz's.

3. Bilberry Facial

Whipping up this facial came just as my skin was beginning to get seriously stressed and fortunately, my face was relieved of a possible outbreak just in time. For face masks, I like to use dried bilberries, grinding them down into a powder form to make a paste of honey, apple cider vinegar, and oats. Dried bilberries can be used in any DIY mask once ground finely.

4. Bilberry Hair Butter

The combination of flavonoids, vitamins, and anti-inflammatory properties make bilberries excellent for hair growth. According to sources at Naturally Curly, bilberries are especially excellent for irritated scalps. I added bilberry extract to a combination of shea butter and coconut oil for a lovely scalp and hair steam treatment. Now, my tresses are feeling soft and gracious. Finally.

5. Bilberry & Avocado Deep Conditioner

Since bilberry extract is so great for scalps, I had to test it out in my favorite deep conditioning recipe. To make about eight ounces of the stuff, I used one part butter, two parts oil, half an avocado, one teaspoon of bilberry extract, and an ounce of aloe vera. Blend your conditioner until it's nice and creamy and then transfer to a sealable container. Apply your deep conditioner on clean hair for about 20 minutes and rinse well with lukewarm water before applying a hair sealant — might I recommend bilberry butter?


5 Ways To Use Bilberry In Skin & Hair Recipes That Are A Total Treat

By Kristin Collins Jackson

As of late, I've noticed bilberry steadily making its way into high-end skin care products. When I saw a toning bilberry serum for $100, I resisted the temptation to splurge and spent some relentless hours experimenting with making toning skin and hair products with bilberry instead. During my beauty playtime, I found that this blueberry relative is no joke: Bilberries have skin and hair benefits like you wouldn't believe.

Bilberry is probably most famous for being a natural supplement some doctors recommend for eye health. The flavonoids in this berry appear to help boost blood circulation and help maintain healthy eyesight, especially when it comes to night vision. These same flavonoids, anthocyanosides, are also why bilberry has become a key ingredient in beauty products aimed at anti-aging.

Bilberry's astringent properties are cleansing, tightening, and nourishing, plus they're packed with plenty of antioxidants to help strengthen our skin and protect it against free radicals. Bilberry is hydrating and antiseptic while having the ability to heal wounds. Since acne is my most common skin issue, I was even more stoked to get my own bilberries to make my own beauty medicine.

You can purchase dried bilberries online from Frontier Co-Op, grow your own, or buy a bilberry tincture. Once you've acquired some bilberries, give these five recipes meant to give you glowing skin and healthy hair a try.

1. Bilberry Oil

There are a few ways to make your own infused oil. I love using solar infusions in my skin recipes because it doesn't require me to heat my ingredients. However, when I'm looking to make a concentration that will be used in much smaller doses, I'll use the Magical Butter machine on low-heat to get my berries cooking. The solar infusion can be used at the same rate of any fixed oil and the extract can be used as a tincture or added to your favorite DIY recipes.

2. Bilberry Toning Cream

For a toning cream you can use all over your body, add bilberry extract to your favorite homemade lotion recipe. You can purchase bilberry extract online or make your own using this recipe. I love using a light fluffy base of butters, oils, and distilled water. For six ounces of lotion, I recommend adding just a teaspoon of bilberry extract so that the lotion doesn't get too sticky and won't have a staining effect. This cream has been an amazing treat at the end of my day after cleansing what feels like all of Brooklyn off my face; a small dime-sized amount nourishes my skin while I catch up on my zzz's.

3. Bilberry Facial

Whipping up this facial came just as my skin was beginning to get seriously stressed and fortunately, my face was relieved of a possible outbreak just in time. For face masks, I like to use dried bilberries, grinding them down into a powder form to make a paste of honey, apple cider vinegar, and oats. Dried bilberries can be used in any DIY mask once ground finely.

4. Bilberry Hair Butter

The combination of flavonoids, vitamins, and anti-inflammatory properties make bilberries excellent for hair growth. According to sources at Naturally Curly, bilberries are especially excellent for irritated scalps. I added bilberry extract to a combination of shea butter and coconut oil for a lovely scalp and hair steam treatment. Now, my tresses are feeling soft and gracious. Finally.

5. Bilberry & Avocado Deep Conditioner

Since bilberry extract is so great for scalps, I had to test it out in my favorite deep conditioning recipe. To make about eight ounces of the stuff, I used one part butter, two parts oil, half an avocado, one teaspoon of bilberry extract, and an ounce of aloe vera. Blend your conditioner until it's nice and creamy and then transfer to a sealable container. Apply your deep conditioner on clean hair for about 20 minutes and rinse well with lukewarm water before applying a hair sealant — might I recommend bilberry butter?


7 Health Benefits of Bilberry

By Marc Seward
What is Bilberry?

The bilberry is one of a number of a number of low growing shrubs belonging to the genus Vaccinium. These shrubs bear edible, dark blue to black colored berries with a number of beneficial health properties. The bilberry is variously known as whortleberry, European blueberry, blaeberry and huckleberry.

The bilberry, known scientifically as Vaccinium myrtillus L, is native to Europe and in many European languages, the name of the bilberry translates to ‘blueberry’ which may explain some of the confusion between bilberries and blueberries which belong to the same genus. Like its better known cousin, the blueberry which is famed for its health giving properties the bilberry can also boast a variety of health uses.

What is Bilberry used for?

Bilberry is commonly used as an ingredient in jellies, jams and sweet pies. However, it has also been used for many years as a medicinal aid.

Historically, the bilberry fruit has been used to treat gastric upset, diarrhea and scurvy among many other complaints. These days it is still a popular folk remedy for eye conditions, diarrhea, varicose veins and poor circulation.

You can eat the fruit just like you would eat any other edible berry or use it as an ingredient in you jams and pies. As well as the fruit, the bilberry leaves can be used for a variety of health problems including diabetes. The leaves can be used to make tea or medicinal extracts.

Nutrition and Composition

Like its cousin the blueberry which is famed for its high levels of antioxidants, the bilberry is also high in antioxidant content. The fruit contains natural chemicals called anthocyanosides which are pigments found in certain plants with extremely potent antioxidant properties. It is essential that we get plenty of antioxidants in our system as they scavenge our body for harmful free radicals and help protect cells from damage.

As well as its antioxidants, bilberries contain a variety of other vitamins and minerals. They contain Vitamin A and C as well as thiamine (B1) and riboflavin (B2). They also contain smaller amounts of vitamin E and vitamin K. When it comes to minerals, the bilberry can provide you with copper, manganese, zinc, iron and chromium.

The Health Benefits of the Bilberry

While bilberry contains certain healthy minerals, is the powerful antioxidant value of the fruit which gives it most of its health applications. Some of the most significant health benefits of the fruit include the following:

1) Improved Vision

Because of the antioxidant anthocyanosides mentioned earlier, bilberry has a variety of medicinal uses. One of the most significant effects of the powerful antioxidants is on the vision. Bilberry is known to improve a person’s night vision and eyesight in low light conditions. It also improves capillary strength and decreases vascular permeability.

According to reports, allied fighter pilots ate bilberry jam and experienced improved vision during night time flights. Bilberry may also have applications when it comes to treating retinopathy or retinal damage. It has also demonstrated protective properties against various other eye conditions including macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma.

However, despite, its reputation for improving vision, there is precious little in the way of supporting scientific evidence and we are largely relying on anecdotal evidence.

2) Improved Circulation

Bilberry extract is widely used in Europe as a natural remedy for chronic venous insufficiency, a condition caused by poor circulation.

The condition occurs when the valves in the leg veins which transport blood to the heart get damaged. Research suggests that supplementing with bilberry extract may help treat this condition. There has also been research suggesting that anthocyanosides extracted from the fruit can help treat the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency. According to the research, it helps improve the pain, bruising, burning and swelling linked to the condition.

3) Improved Cholesterol

Those anthocyanosides that we have already talked about at length may have a variety of other medicinal uses including protection for your heart. These natural antioxidants might help to strengthen the blood vessels and prevent oxidation of the bad type of cholesterol or LDL.

High cholesterol levels increase the risk of heart disease such as atherosclerosis which can lead to stroke or heart attack. One study published in 2013 found that bilberry supplementation helped to reduce both LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels in the blood. When compared with black currants, the study found that the fruit’s anthocyanoside content was 4 times greater. This makes them an excellent choice for various health conditions including cholesterol management. (1)

4) Diabetes Management

Bilberry leaves have traditionally been used to help control the blood sugar level in people suffering from diabetes. Some good quality research seems to indicate that most types of berry can help reduce the glucose response in the body after eating high sugar meals.

Studies also suggest that bilberry might be effective in regulating blood sugar. According to some proponents and the bilberry is especially effective for diabetics when the fruit is combined with some oatmeal. (2) Neither bilberry not bilberry extract is recognized as a treatment for diabetes but anecdotal reports from diabetics are positive.

5) For Diarrhea

In various parts of Europe, bilberry has traditionally been used to help treat diarrhea. The fruit itself contains tannins which are substances that have both astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. Because of their tanning content, bilberries can help tighten and constrict the intestinal tissues. By reducing inflammation in the intestines, the bilberry fruit may help relieve and clear up bouts of diarrhea.

6) Cancer

The search for a natural treatment for cancer has been in full swing for decades and one of the things that has been put to the test are the anthocyanins found in bilberry.

In vitro studies have demonstrated that these anthocyanins may have cancer-preventive qualities as well as cancer suppressive properties. This is due to the powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the extract.

In one study, a commercial bilberry extract, rich in anthocyanins was demonstrated to inhibit the development and growth of cancerous cells of the colon. Researchers observed that bilberry extract had an anti-inflammatory effect on macrophages. Since inflammation is one of the major risk factors in cancer, bilberry extract may well have future applications in its prevention. (3)

7) Alzheimer’s Disease

There is some evidence that fruit juice and vegetable juices rich in certain phenolic compounds may help to reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease. According to some studies, the risk of Alzheimer’s was greatly reduced when mice were treated with quercetin or myricetin extracts which are found in bilberry. (4) Researchers have also found that behavioral abnormality may be alleviated with the extract.

Bilberry Tea

Bilberry can be eaten like any other edible berry or used as an ingredient to make tasty jams and pies. Another way to enjoy all of the health benefits of the fruit is to make to drink it in the form of a tea.

To make your bilberry tea, you need 2 or 3 teaspoons of bilberry and a cup of water.

• First of all, bring the water to the boil.
• Add your bilberry to the water.
• Allow the tea to steep for at least 10 minutes or longer to get the full value from your fruit.
• Add honey to taste if you prefer it sweet.
• Drink up and enjoy.
Bilberry Extract

Bilberry is also available in supplementary extract form.

When buying your extract, look for an extract that contains at least 25% anthocyanidin. There are many unscrupulous manufacturers that may use misleading marketing tactics. Make sure that you are getting the genuine article. Side Effects

• Both the fruit and the extract are generally regarded as safe with no known serious side effects.
• The anthocyanosides found in bilberry can prevent blood clotting which might increase bleeding risk especially if you are taking a blood-thinning medication.
• If you are concerned, speak with a doctor before taking bilberry extract. This especially applies to pregnant women and nursing mothers or people on blood-thinners.

Bilberry Plant Information: Learn About Bilberry Cultivation And Care

By Teo Spengler

No, bilberry is not a character in Lord of the Rings. So what is a bilberry? It’s a native shrub that produces round blue berries that look like blueberries. However, wild bilberries have far more nutrients than cultivated blueberries. Read on for bilberry plant information as well as data on bilberry benefits.

Bilberry Plant Information

Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) is also called whortleberry, European blueberry and huckleberry. It’s a small shrub. Bilberry grows wild in the arctic and subarctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The bulberry shrub produces round blue berries also known as bilberries.

If you are wondering about the difference between blueberry and bilberry, you aren’t alone. Bilberry plant information tells us that both are berry shrubs in the Vaccinium genus. The fruit of the two species look alike and both taste good. However, blueberries you purchase are usually from cultivated shrubs while bilberry usually grows wild.

Bilberry Cultivation

Although bilberries are wild shrubs, they can be cultivated. Bilberry cultivation works best in cool climates in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 8. If you are going to try bilberry growing in warm climates, protect the shrubs from too much heat.

You’ll do best to buy container raised bilberry seedlings. Generally, once these shrubs get their roots in the ground, they prefer not to be disturbed. Like blueberries, bilberries thrive in acidic soil. Pick a location with full sun in cooler areas, but opt for partial shade in warmer climes. Bilberries are very tolerant of wind, so shelter is not needed.

When you read information on bilberry care, you’ll learn that it is an easy shrub to cultivate. The plants require no fertilizer and little irrigation. Plant them in spring and pick the berries in fall.

Bilberry Benefits

With bilberry cultivation so easy and bilberry benefits so great, there’s no reason not to include these shrubs in your garden. Bilberries have been used for many years as an herbal medicine in Europe. The berries and foliage are used to treat assorted ailments from diarrhea to kidney stones to typhoid fever.

The anthocyanosides in bilberries are potent antioxidants. These build strong blood vessels and capillary walls. They also benefit red blood cells, stabilize tendons, ligaments and cartilage, and lower cholesterol. Bilberries have been used to increase night vision, since they increase retinal pigments.


Bilberries: the true taste of northern England

By Jon Henley

Sir Ken Morrison, doughty 76-year-old former chairman of the eponymous Bradford-based supermarket, pledged last week that whatever else happened, Morrison's would remain true to its northern roots. This, he added rather unexpectedly, meant that it would continue to sell bilberries, a northern speciality that no supercilious southern supermarket apparently deigns to stock. But what exactly is a bilberry? And what, in terms of gustatory delight, have southern tastebuds been denied?

First, bilberries are not blueberries. Unlike the vulgar blueberry, Vaccinium myrtillus - also known as the bilberry, European blueberry, blaeberry, whortleberry, bulberry, whinberry (or winberry), trackleberry, huckleberry or (in Ireland) fraughan - is rarely cultivated, but found mainly in the wild, growing on small, wiry shrubs little more than a foot high. According to the excellent site botanical.com, bilberries grow best on high grounds and heathlands, and are consequently "more abundant in the north and west of England than the south and east".

The fruits, which are black, globular, flat-topped and covered when ripe by a grey bloom, can be consumed fresh, but are generally considered more palatable in jams, fools, preserves or pies. They must, however, be picked by hand, which is bloody hard work, although particularly dedicated bilberry-lovers can invest in a specially designed combed harvesting implement called a bilberry scrabbler, which apparently eases the pain.

The bilberry season is traditionally August and September, during which months, if we can believe the great 16th-century herbalist John Gerard, "the people of Cheshire do eate the black whortles in creame and milke as in these southern parts we do eate strawberries". Up until the 1930s, indeed, bilberries were so popular in pies and tarts that vast quantities were imported from Germany, Holland and Scandinavia.

Since then, however, their use has been in steady decline. "They're a great northern fruit," says Simon Rimmer of the acclaimed Greens vegetarian restaurant in Manchester. "Stewed with ice cream, or in a bread-and-butter pudding: fantastic. The season's a bit short and they can be a bit bitter, which puts some people off. But anything that's truly local like that is always good news. It's great that Morrisons still does them."



Bilberry Vs. Blueberry

By Clay McNight

The bilberry and the blueberry are closely related cousins that are very similar in appearance. In fact, outside the U.S. the bilberry is sometimes referred to as a blueberry. True blueberries, however, are native to the United States, whereas bilberries are native to Northern Europe and certain parts of North America and Asia. Both berries possess health-promoting antioxidant compounds, vitamins and minerals. Health Benefits of Berries

According to a 2010 paper published in "Nutrition Reviews," berries in general are a good source of micronutrients, fiber and anthocyanins -- plant pigments that possess powerful antioxidant properties. The paper notes that clinical studies have shown that berries can improve cardiovascular health and decrease oxidative stress and inflammation, particularly in smokers and people with diabetes and hypertension.

Bilberry Uses

The bilberry has been used for hundreds of years both as a medicine and food. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, bilberry is used to treat diarrhea, menstrual cramps and eye problems, although there is not enough evidence to support its use for any health conditions. University of Maryland Medical Center notes that bilberry is also used to treat diabetes, atherosclerosis and wounds, although more research is needed in these areas.

Bilberry Properties

The key substances in bilberry, anthocyanosides, can help improve circulation, build strong blood vessels and prevent blood platelets from sticking together, according to UMMC. Anthocyanosides also increase the production of a pigment called rhodopsin which can improve night vision. Other substances in the bilberry known as tannins have anti-inflammatory properties and may be useful in controlling diarrhea.

Blueberry Uses

Besides being a common fruit in the American diet, blueberry is also used to make medicine for a number of conditions including glaucoma, ulcers, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, hemorrhoids and hay fever. Blueberry is also used as a laxative and circulation enhancer. According to MedlinePlus, there is not sufficient evidence that blueberries are effective in treating any medical condition. The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council notes that blueberries may play a role in brain health, cardiovascular health, insulin response and cancer reduction.

Blueberry Properties

Blueberries are rich in vitamin C, fiber, manganese and phytonutrients known as polyphenols. Polyphenols possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are associated with improved cardiovascular health and a reduced risk of cancer and certain chronic age-related diseases. According to the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, it's the diverse range of phytochemicals in blueberries that give rise to their antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.



How to make this scrumptious Swedish bilberry ice cream

(The Local)

Since 17 percent of Sweden is said to be covered in bilberries, food writer John Duxbury shares an ice cream recipe to help us eat them all.

If you ask most Swedes what blåbär means in English they will normally tell you it means blueberries. Which it does, literally, but the Swedish word actually refers to bilberries, a smaller and juicier version which grows wild across Sweden.

Summary

Makes: 8 portions

Level: very easy

Preparation: 30 minutes (plus freezing time)

Ingredients:

• 200g (1 cup) fresh or frozen bilberries

• 60g (1/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar

• 1 tbsp lemon juice

• Ice cream base

• 1 large egg

• 90g (8/8 cup) sugar, preferably raw cane sugar

• 1 tsp vanilla sugar, optional

• 240ml (1 cup) whipping cream (35 to 40% fat)

• 120ml (1/2 cup) milk

Method

1. Mix the bilberries, caster sugar and lemon juice together in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for two hours, stirring every 30 minutes.

2. After two hours, prepare the ice cream base by whisking the egg in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about two minutes.

3. Whisk in the sugars, a little at a time, then continue whisking for another minute until well blended.

4. Pour in the cream and milk and whisk to blend.

5. Drain the juice from the bilberries, add to the ice cream base and stir until thoroughly mixed.

6. Mash the bilberries until puréed and stir into the ice cream base.

7. Pour into an ice cream maker with the paddle running and freeze following the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a tub and keep until required.

TipsWithout an ice cream maker

If you don't have an ice cream maker, continue whipping after stage five for another three minutes, then mix the puréed bilberries and transfer to an ice cream container. Cover the surface of the ice cream with cling film (food wrap) and freeze. Remove the mixture from the freezer every half hour. Fork over the mixture thoroughly and return to the freezer. Repeat this step until the mixture is thoroughly frozen, which will normally take about three hours.

Tips

- Don't use cultivated blueberries for this recipe as they don't have enough flavour and the colour will not be as good.

- If you are using frozen bilberries, defrost them for a couple of hours in the fridge first, but don't defrost them completely.

- This ice cream is soft enough to serve straight from the freezer, but for best results move the tub to a fridge about 15 minutes before required.

- Bilberry ice cream goes really well with mandelflarn (almond tuiles), which are easy to make.


Bilberry vs. Astaxanthin

By Clay McNight

Astaxanthin and bilberry are powerful antioxidants that have been used to treat a variety of conditions. Astaxanthin is a pigment that belongs to a class of chemicals known as carotenoids, a group of potent antioxidants. Bilberry is a fruit whose antioxidant properties come from plant pigments known as anthocyanosides. Both substances may have a potential role in improving eye health as well as lowering the risk for certain diseases.

Bilberry Background

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, bilberry may strengthen blood vessels, improve circulation and lower LDL cholesterol, which makes it useful in helping prevent atherosclerosis. These properties may be due to its key substances, known as anthocyanosides, which can help prevent blood platelets from sticking together. In Europe, bilberry has been used for almost a thousand years to treat diarrhea. It is thought to work by reducing inflammation in the intestinal tract through substances known as tannins. According to MedlinePlus, bilberry is possibly effective for treating retinal eye problems in people with diabetes or high blood pressure. Poor circulation may harm the retina, and flavonoids in bilberry leaf may help improve circulation.

Bilberry Research

A 2011 review of bilberry published in "Herbal Medicine" notes that while bilberry is most commonly thought of as a vision enhancement herb, it also possesses anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering properties, which make it useful in the treatment of a variety of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia and other age-related diseases. A study published in 2010 in the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry" found that in an animal model, bilberry was able to prevent ocular inflammation, which demonstrates its beneficial effects on eye health.

Astaxanthin Background

Astaxanthin is the pigment that creates the color of many marine creatures, including salmon, trout, lobster, shrimp and certain types of algae. According to WebMD, astaxanthin has been used for treating Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, high cholesterol and age-related macular degeneration. It can also be applied topically on the skin to protect against sunburn. Although astaxanthin is not an essential nutrient, increased intake of astaxanthin may provide health benefits, according to NYU Langone Medical Center. Salmon and krill oil are both rich sources of astaxanthin.

Astaxanthin Research

Research on astaxanthin suggests that it may be beneficial for improving eye health and slowing the aging process. An article published in "Alternative Medicine Review" in 2011 noted that astaxanthin was able to improve clarity of vision and eye accommodation -- a reflex action of the eye -- in several Japanese randomized controlled trials. The article also noted that astaxanthin is effective in protecting against inflammation and oxidative stress, as well as slowing age-related functional decline. A study published in 2010 in "Nutrition & Metabolism" also found that astaxanthin is able to decrease inflammation and enhance immune function in humans.

Conclusion

Bilberry and astaxanthin are both effective in improving eye health and protecting against degenerative eye diseases. However, these powerful antioxidants also have general health-promoting properties that can help make them useful in slowing the aging process by battling age-related diseases.


What Is Bilberry Extract?

By Michele Kerns

According to Medline Plus, British Royal Air Force pilots during World War II who regularly ate bilberry jam and preserves reported an improvement in their night vision. Since then, bilberry extract has been used to treat ailments ranging from eye problems to digestive disorders, though the efficacy of the extract is still under investigation. As with all supplements, do not begin taking bilberry extract until you've spoken to your doctor about the possible dangers and side effects.

Uses

The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that bilberry extract is used to lower the risk of atherosclerosis, to treat venous insufficiency and diarrhea and to control the blood sugar level of diabetics, though there is no reliable scientific evidence proving that the extract is effective at successfully treating any of these conditions. While there aren't any studies that indicate bilberry extract can improve your night or overall vision, bilberries contain a high concentration of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are naturally occurring plant compounds known as phytochemicals that may decrease your risk of disease by inhibiting the DNA-damaging activity of free radical compounds. A 2012 study published in the journal "Laboratory Investigation" found that the anthocyanins contained in bilberry extract may help prevent retinal inflammation and retinal damage.

Supplementation

People using bilberry extract for general health purposes commonly take two doses of the supplement equaling 80 to 120 milligrams daily, while individuals using bilberry for eye problems may take between 80 and 480 milligrams in three separate doses each day, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center. Talk to your doctor about the dosage that's best for your particular health needs before using bilberry extract, and make sure that the type you use consists of at least 25 percent anthocyanidin compounds.

Possible Side Effects

Bilberry extract supplements may cause an upset stomach, dry eyes and a dry mouth. In high dosages, bilberry extract can cause muscle spasms and extreme weight loss. Supplementation with any bilberry product may interfere with the proper function of drugs like blood thinners and diabetes medications. It may also dramatically lower blood sugar levels if taken at the same time as supplemental herbs like ginseng, fenugreek or ginger. Avoid using bilberry extract if you are pregnant, nursing, are diabetic or have just had or are about to have a surgery.

Considerations

Over-the-counter bilberry extract supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and are not checked for purity or safety. ConsumerReports.org warns that some dietary supplements have been found to be contaminated with heavy metals or other potentially harmful chemicals. If you choose to use bilberry extract supplements, choose a brand that bears a "USP Verified" mark on the container. This indicates that the manufacturer's products have been checked by the nonprofit organization U.S. Pharmacopeia. Never use more than the recommended dosage and never give bilberry extract to children under 18 years old.


What Is Bilberry Good for?

By Maia Appleby

Bilberry is a northern European plant related to the blueberry. It gets its deep blue color from anthocyanins, plant-based pigments with powerful antioxidant properties. The fruit of the bilberry has been used in jams and pies for centuries, but people have also credited it with medicinal benefits, claiming that it treats conditions ranging from chronic fatigue syndrome to hemorrhoids to kidney disease. Little research has confirmed these claims, but aside from being rich in essential vitamins, bilberry contains compounds that may also benefit your heart, your circulation and possibly your vision.

Heart Health

Bilberry fruit contains plant pigments called anthocyanins, which are exceptionally potent antioxidants that help protect your cells from disease. Eating bilberry fruit may help keep your heart healthier, according to a study published in the "Journal of Applied Physiology" in 2006. Researchers tested bilberry anthocyanins on the arteries of pigs' hearts, and they found that the anthocyanins relaxed the heart, suggesting that compounds in bilberries could offer significant benefits in treating and preventing some types of heart conditions.

Vision Benefits

During World War II, fighter pilots in the British Royal Air Force reported that eating bilberry jam improved their night vision. Although subsequent research has failed to confirm this claim, bilberry may benefit your eyes if you have retinal damage due to diabetes or high blood pressure, according to a study published in "Laboratory Investigation" in 2012. When researchers treated mice that suffered from retinal inflammation, they found that bilberry extract reduced this inflammation and protected the vision of the mice.

Vein Function

Bilberry may benefit people with blood vessel problems, including atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, and varicose veins, or insufficient venous flow. According to an article published in the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry" in 2004, bilberries contain resveratrol, a compound that has shown the potential to fight cancer. Resveratrol also works as an anti-inflammatory agent that reduces your risk of atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart disease or stroke.

Low Doses Are Safer

Low concentrations of bilberry anthocyanins may help protect your heart, but high doses could be dangerous, according to a study published in "Cardiovascular Toxicology" in December 2010. In a test on rat hearts, concentrations of less than 1 milligram of bilberry anthocyanins per liter of body weight improved the function of the rat hearts and decreased the incidence of arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. However, high doses of the anthocyanins, at 5 to 50 milligrams per liter of body weight, did not provide the same benefits and even caused toxicity.


4 natural remedies for ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease

By Anuradha Varanasi

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease that causes severe inflammation and ulcers in the colon. It occurs when the lining of the large intestine becomes inflamed and then causes tiny sores on the lining of the colon that can be extremely painful and significantly affect the quality of a patient’s life. It is treated with drugs or in some cases, even surgery. You can try these four herbal remedies along with your conventional treatment for relief from symptoms like stomach aches, diarrhea and rectal pain.

1. Green chiretta: Andrographis or green chiretta is a plant that is native to India and Sri Lanka. The stem and the leaf are commonly used to make medicine in Ayurveda. It is used for a wide range of ailments and one of them is digestive ailments like constipation, gas, diarrhea and even ulcerative colitis. Studies have found that 1800 mg of it per day can help in reducing symptoms. However, consult an Ayurvedic practitioner for the correct dosage and usage.

2. Bilberry fruit: A compound known as anthocyanins, which is found in large quantities in bilberries have antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects that can help in providing some relief from ulcerative colitis.

3. Germinated barley food stuff: This herbal remedy is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine and it is a probiotic that contains dietary fiber and can help in reducing the symptoms of ulcerative colitis [1]. You can have 20g of germinated barley food stuff once a day along with your conventional allopathic treatment.

4. Wheatgrass juice: Studies have found that the reason why wheatgrass juice is commonly used for inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis is because it contains chlorophyll, aminoacids, vitamins and various enzymes that can help in fighting against the symptoms of the disease. Remember to have only 100 ml of wheatgrass juice once a day.


Health Benefits of Bilberries

(Thwee Whistling Tree)
Bilberry Health Benefits

A relative of the blueberry, bilberry is similar in appearance. Bilberries are smaller and darker in color than blueberries. While the inner pulp of a blueberry is light green, the pulp of a bilberry is red or purple. Bilberries are rich in anthocyanins, which has a variety of health benefits, including cancer prevention, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory properties.

According to a Japanese study, antioxidants in bilberry may help balance blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity, resulting in reduced sweet cravings.

Preliminary studies indicate that bilberry consumption may inhibit or reverse eye disorders such as macular degeneration.

Bilberries can be consumed either in tea form or extracts. In tea form, Bilberries pair up nicely with other herbs which can provide a host of benefits while also being flavorful and delicious. A popular tea amongst customers, Chamomile Bilberry Bliss offers more benefits than just drinking Chamomile alone. In fact, this herb blend combines many proven, safe herbs along with Bilberries to provide an all in one evening beverage.

Chamomile: Soothes and Aids Digestion

Chamomile has a long history of use in Europe for digestive ailments. The active constiuents of chamomile have anti-inflammatory properties, and ease spasm and discomfort in the digestive tract. Chamomile is also desired for its calming and antimicrobial effects. Lavender: Relieves Anxiety

Lavender has been used in teas and culinary dishes for its floral and sweet flavor, as well as its relaxing qualities. A recent clinical study found that lavender is effective at treating anxiety.

Ingredients: Wild Bilberry, Organic & Fair Trade Chamomile, Organic Lavender, Organic Roses, Organic Rosehips, Organic Pink Peppercorn

Flu season: What foods, herbs improve my immune system?

By HALIT YEREBAKAN

Autumn, the season of pesky colds, coughs and flu, is officially here and with the lowering temperatures the immune system is likely to be affected adversely. Instead of knocking on your local pharmacy's door for a bunch of drugs and vitamins, you still have time to boost the immune system with an easy list of herbs and foods. There is no fixed way to keep seasonal balance yet natural immune-system boosters help you to ward off getting sick in autumn and obviously make you feel much healthier.

If you are already feeling a little rundown these days, take a look at the following list with items easily accessible in a nearby supermarket or herbalist. You may already have them in the kitchen, but not be aware of their ability to bolster defense.

Thyme essential oil

More or less, every kitchen has a space for herbal oils and thyme is a core source. With its multiple benefits, thyme essential oil is a strong killer of harmful bacteria in the digestive system. Native to the Mediterranean basin, thyme's immune enhancement properties have also been proven by a number of scientific studies. To benefit from it as a booster, it is recommended to consume 200 mg thyme essential oil three times per day. The amount would be enough to clear infections.

Japanese mushrooms

Mushrooms are essential ingredients in Japanese cuisine, which are rich in varieties and have numerous health benefits. Among them, one is called "reishi" or "lingzhi," which is known as the "mushroom of immortality." Certain studies report that the mushroom contains amino acids with antioxidant properties, useful for the immune system. What is more interesting is that heat does not kill the antioxidant potential while cooking. It is advised to consume at least one reishi weekly.

The Green trio

The liver is one of the most powerful metabolic organs in the human body and its function as an immune organ is increasingly being appreciated. In simple words, the liver's healthiness has a direct relationship with hormones and cells responsible for immune system strength. The green trio - broccoli, lettuce and cabbage - all contribute to a healthy liver with regular consumption. They are easy to find at the grocery store and an immune-boosting basic.

Avocado

Not eating avocados often? There is a reason why you should. This prolific green fruit provides essential amino acids, antioxidants and unsaturated beneficial fats, all of which play an important role in a healthy immune system. Try to consume half an avocado daily to boost your health.

Ginger

There have been more studies in the last few years looking at the health benefits of ginger but its history goes back centuries to when ginger was frequently used as a tonic root for ailments. With its peppery taste, ginger is a good source of antioxidants like avocados. More recently, scientific studies have shown that ginger is packed with many powerful compounds, the most well-known of which serves to clean toxin waste in organs. It is also a lymphatic cleansing food. The studies examining ginger's benefits on the immune system agree that it is a great tool for the whole body and acts as a booster.

Bilberry

It is an old folk remedy but for Turkish consumers, eating bilberry for its antioxidant properties is a relatively novel thing. Bilberries are available either fresh or dried, however just keep in mind that they are dipped in sugar and sunflower seed oil during the drying process to add a sweet taste. This is of course not true for all dried bilberry brands, but it is recommended that you check the ingredients before buying them.

Bilberries, a cousin of the blueberry, are loaded with antioxidants beneficial to improving the overall immune system. Based on certain studies, the Vitamin C content in a bilberry is five times higher than in an orange.

Oatmeal

It is quite common to see oatmeal in the daily diet of people trying to lose weight. Examining its health benefits, the researchers at Harvard University say in a 2015 study that oatmeal maybe the key to a longer life, cutting the risk of premature death. Containing high amounts of soluble fiber, oatmeal reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, also described as harmful cholesterol.

Larch tree extract

The rising popularity of alternative medicine is paving the way for conducting more clinical studies on herbs. Daily consumption of larch arabinogalactan, a natural extract from larch trees, has a significant effect on the immune system. Scientists have discovered in a study that the extract prevents cold and upper respiratory diseases by about 23 percent. It is very easy to find larch arabinogalactan at herbalists.

On another note

• Drink water regularly

Drinking water helps the body to discharge the waste carried through the blood and lymph. It is generally recommended to drink 2 liters of water daily to help food used by the cells and empty the body from the unwanted waste. All organs consume oxygen and water is responsible for carrying oxygen to the body. Healthy organs also mean a strong immune system.

• A good night's sleep

Keeping a regular sleep schedule is important to avoid a number of diseases. From depression to skin disorders, sleep deprivation is the main reason for many illnesses. Keep in mind that a good night's sleep is crucial for the body's rest and sleeping better at nights helps the body to fight against common infections.


Natural Treatments For Cataracts

(BoldSky)

As we age, the health of our eyes may suffer in a lot of ways. This article describes the age associated disorder of cataracts while offering natural treatments which could reduce symptoms preventing degeneration. A cataract is just a clouding or opacity of the lens of the eye, which makes it hard to see through. Frequently age related, cataracts occur in most individuals who live long enough. That is, since the eye undergoes a lifetime of exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays, it results in the creation of free radicals in the eye.

These free radicals cause cell harm, leading to cataracts. Smokers and persons who have diabetes mellitus have a heightened risk of developing cataracts. Antioxidants are a natural shield against this situation. Many researches show that people who have lower levels of antioxidants in their blood stream and in the lens of the eye have an increased prevalence of cataracts.

Smokers suffer from cataracts as cigarette smoke creates a huge number of free radicals. People suffering from high sugar have an inclination to have higher than regular degrees of sugar in the blood stream and eyes. This places additional pressure on the lens, which makes it inflexible and leads to cataract formation.

To prevent the growth of cataracts due to free radical injury, eat green leafy vegetables that are full of antioxidants. Quercetin, a flavonoid, helps individuals with diabetes mellitus in this case by preventing sugar from collecting in the eye.

Cabbage family veggies, especially broccoli, are full of anti-oxidants like lutein and quercetin. These protect not only the lens, but additionally the rear of the eye, the retina. Bilberry contains anti-oxidant flavonoids, which prevent cataracts from increasing, and additionally is beneficial for people with diabetes as it helps to lower blood sugar.

Hence, to prevent the early onset of cataracts, shield your eyes from the sun, eat green leafy vegetables that are rich in antioxidants and stop smoking.


Preventing and improving the health of our eyes

(The Suburban)

Eyes are extremely valuable to protect organs throughout our lives. Aging is something that accentuates their fragility, but other risk factors are involved : a low fruits and vegetables diet (antioxidants) , unprotected exposure to UV rays, the ubiquitous blue light ( screen of smart phone, TV, computer, LED bulbs , etc.) , diabetes , hypertension , smoking, taking certain medications , alcohol , high cholesterol, etc.

PROTECT CHILDREN'S EYES

According to Nicolas Fontaine, assistant professor at the School of Optometry at the University of Montreal, " studies show that blue light ( around 440 nm ) produced molecular changes in the retina , lens and cornea and it transforms certain molecules into free radicals , creating a premature aging of the eye structures , while other molecules become phototoxic and create potential tissue damage. "Additionally, the blue light inhibits the production melatonin, the sleep hormone, delaying sleep onset and reduces the quality of sleep.

Considering the fact that the lens of children's eyes are still developing and can not ensure its effective role filter, children also are at risk. Limit exposure time to the computer, the tablet and the smartphone is significant and increasing consumption of antioxidants is too. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants. Supplements, blueberry concentrate , lutein and zeaxanthin or a multivitamin with antioxidants can effectively supplement a child's menu "addicted" to the screens !

CATACRACTS, MACULAR DEGENERATION, DRY EYE SYNDROME

Prevention is the best approach. It is immediately to think to protect the health of our eyes.

A cataract is a gradual clouding of the lens. Typically, cataract progresses very slowly and develops over a period of 20 years.

The macular degeneration (AMD) is a deterioration of the macula that results in a progressive loss of vision. It is the leading cause of visual impairment in people aged 55 and over. Such as damage to the retina of the eye is irreversible, prevention is very important to prevent the progression of AMD.

Tears, mainly water, also contain fatty acids, sodium chloride, proteins and antiseptics. They are essential for healthy eyes. Syndrome dry eye is felt when the secretion of tears is diminished or that a change in the composition of tear fluid causes excessive evaporation.

Prevention and solutions (some formulas combine several of these nutrients)

- Lutein and zeaxanthin: Many studies confirm that these antioxidants help prevent cataracts and AMD. They protect the eyes from damage from sunlight and blue light.

- Concentrated bilberry or blueberry: nicknamed the fruit of the vision, bilberries or blueberries help to delay the progression of eye diseases.

- Astaxanthin: protects the skin and eyes of the risks associated with exposure to UV rays.

- Omega-3 help to prevent dry eye syndrome and the risk of suffering from macular degeneration.

- By improving the microcirculation in the eye, gingko biloba can help people with AMD.

- Vitamin A, a vitamin with antioxidant and anti-infectious organism is found in the form of retinol (retina), retinoic acid (bone and mucous membranes) and retinyl palmitate (liver). Vitamin A plays a role in vision and protects the skin, mucous membranes and eyes against dryness. Fish oils, especially the halibut liver oil, are excellent sources of vitamin A.

- Vitamin C reduces the risk of developing cataracts.

- Turmeric, whose antioxidant properties are well established, is used in traditional medicine to prevent cataracts.

- Vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin without UV," plays an important role in protecting visual function.

- Drink at least 1.5 liters of water per day.

- Protecting our eyes from the sun and wind.

- Stop smoking and avoid polluted environments.

- Make sure you have good lighting.

- Make regular breaks when working at the computer.

- Fill of antioxidants by eating 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetable per day and choosing one of the above mentioned supplements.


3 Beauty Benefits of Bilberry

(Sequoia, 3FatChichks)

Bilberry, a member of the berry family, is a shrub that normally grows up to 15 cm in height. It is native to North America, Western Asia, and some parts of Europe. Unlike other species of the berry family, like strawberry and cranberry, bilberry is rarely cultivated. In Scotland, Ireland and Poland, however, bilberry grows in abundance in many publicly accessible lands.

Bilberry has been known for its beauty benefits, making it a valuable natural ingredient for cosmetic products. Here are three of the many beauty benefits that you can get with the use of bilberry. You can enjoy the beauty benefits of bilberry through drinking bilberry juice, eating fresh bilberry fruits, and using cosmetic products that contain bilberry.

1. Helps Protect the Skin

Bilberry can help enhance the look, feel, and overall beauty of your skin. It has been found to contain resveratrol and quercetin, which are great anti-aging agents. It also contains antioxidant properties known to protect the skin against damage from free radicals. It is likewise enriched with vitamins B, C and E, which are nutrients known to help nourish the skin.

Bilberry has also been used as treatment for various skin disorders, such as skin ulcers and varicose veins. Because regularly consuming bilberry helps improve blood circulation, it has also been used to combat venous insufficiency, which causes certain skin problems.

2. Acts as a Natural Cosmetic Ingredient

The extract of the bilberry fruits and leaves is a popular ingredient used for cosmetic products. Bilberry extract acts as a skin-conditioning agent that helps nourish the skin and increases its vitality. The most common cosmetic applications that contain natural bilberry extract include makeup, facial creams, and lotions.

3. Enhances Eye Beauty

Consuming bilberry can enhance the beauty of your eyes, and this is, in fact, one of the most well-known beauty benefits this plant can offer. It has been found scientifically that consuming bilberry can improve vision as well. It contains compounds, including the flavonoids called anthocyanosides, which facilitate blood flow in the tiny vessels surrounding the eyes. In fact, during the Second World War, British pilots would eat bilberry jam to improve their night vision.

As it has been found to improve blood circulation, and maintain healthy eyesight and vitality, it is not surprising why bilberry extract has become a common ingredient in many eye care cosmetic products. In fact, it is also used to treat eye problems, such as diabetic neuropathy, cataracts, and macular degeneration.

Due to the number of health and beauty benefits that the bilberry plant offers, bilberry is now available in different forms, including extracts, tea, and creams. Bilberry tea, which is created from dried bilberry fruit, is also increasingly becoming a popular substitute for coffee. The tea is not only flavorful, but it is also caffeine free. Green tea products with bilberry fruit are also becoming popular. Green tea, which is also known to be rich in antioxidants, when combined with bilberry, makes a very powerful skin care product.


Enhancing the Senses: Seeing clearly for longer

By Siobhan Moylan (News Corp Australia Network)

SIGHT is typically the sense that many of us hold most dear, as our eyes allow us to capture the beautiful world around us and envision our future selves.

It is also a sense we take for granted until it starts to fade because, like breathing, we do it without conscious thought.

Like all of the primary senses though, it is not immune to deteriorating with age, but luckily, there are things we can do to slow the process of deterioration and even prevent it all together.

Medical Optometrist, Dr Allan Ared says, “Contrast sensitivity is far more perceptive in youth. Ageing induces imperfections in the eyes optical system reducing contrast and ultimately affecting vision.”

“The ocular surface in a young eye is similar in nature to a smooth ice rink but in the elderly, more like a gravel road.”

Macular Degeneration — who is at risk?

Believe it or not, age-related macula degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that probably wasn’t around over 100 years ago.

The theory is that changes to the biodegradability of our food chain and the subsequent build up of toxins within foods, has led to more impurities in the retina.

Imagine buying a packet of biscuits at the supermarket. The biscuits have been sitting on the shelf for say, six months and may have a further six months of shelf life.

They last this long because they are packed with preservatives. Over time our bodies have trouble breaking these kinds of additives down.

“Over time these impurities clog various chemical pathways in our bodies and cause them to dysfunction. Additives in large amounts, are toxic to the eyes.”

“Those at most risk of AMD are smokers, people who include margarine and canola oil in their diets and people that don’t regularly ‘detox’ by way of green leafy vegetables (kale, broccoli, spinach) and Omega 3s particularly those found in oily fish”.

Glaucoma — the silent thief

Then there is glaucoma — also known as the silent sneak thief of sight because, during the early to middle stages of the disease, there are usually no noticeable symptoms until irreversible damage has occurred.

Currently AMD affects around 300,000 Australians and, around about that same number of people don’t even know they have it.

Although anyone can get glaucoma, some people have a higher risk; those with a family history of glaucoma, those who have diabetes, migraine, short sightedness (myopia) long sightedness (hyperopia), high blood pressure and those exposed to cortisone drugs (steroids).

Dr Ared recommends that “everyone should have their eyes tested every two years unless there is a family history of eye disease, in that case, annual eye checks are advised as eye disease can move quickly”.

Eating right is essential for eye health

It is said that the RAF fighter pilots who preferred bilberry jam on their scones during the Second World War were blessed with improved vision on their night-time forays.

Tall tale or not, naturopath Mim Beim says “bilberries are indeed good for eyesight.”

Although studies in to vision have been focused on bilberries, their second cousin, blueberries contain similar antioxidants that have the same effects.”

And what about carrots — are they really good for the eyes? “Yes, that is true, foods rich in vitamins A, C, and E are vital for good vision. Eating plenty of food rich in these three vitamins is a great prevention tool for sharpening your vision.”

“Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that protects the eyes from sun damage”.

Use the 20 - 20 - 20 rule if you work on a computer

Environmental factors like how close we sit to our computers and how much sun we are exposed to plays a role in our eyes changes over time.

“Excessive exposure to sun is probably the worst thing, so invest in a decent pair of sun glasses, especially if you live here in Australia,” says Dr Ared.

The use of computers and artificial environments can also have a negative impact on our vision.

“It’s a double whammy effect, a reduced blink rate in front of a screen leads to quicker tear film evaporation, plus most offices have air-conditioning which further dries out the eyes, so people should try and use eye drops if they find their eyes have a tendency to dryness.”

Dr Ared advocates the 20 - 20 -20 rule — “Rest the eyes for every 20 minutes of near work by looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.”

How close are you sitting to the computer screen now?


How to Grow Your Own Superfoods

By Brian Barth

You know that section in the health food store where two-ounce packages of exotic sounding nuts and berries go for upwards of $20? It's the superfood section. I hate to break it to you, but many of those foods can be easily grown in your garden amid your broccoli, petunias, and other more mundane plants. In fact, some of them grow like weeds.

A “superfood” typically gets that moniker when it overflows with more nutrients than most other foods we eat, or if it has some special type of nutrient that’s rare in the modern diet. Whether such claims are primarily marketing hype or have some basis in fact depend on the foods in question. So while the nutritional merits of an ordinary blueberry versus, say, a macqui berry from the pristine slopes of the Chilean Patagonia continue to be debated, eating macqui berries is probably a healthy habit—it’s just a matter of whether they are worth $20 per pound.

But if you had such plants growing in your backyard, they’d be free for the snacking, and you could spend less time researching their health benefits on the Internet and more time out in the sunshine tending to them.

Not all superfoods are easy to grow at home, though. Brazil’s famous acai berries, for example, come from an Amazonian palm, which won’t thrive anywhere without constant humidity and temperatures above 50 degrees. Others—like macqui, a gawky looking shrub that is as common as forsythia in parts of Chile—are simply difficult to find. Currently an Internet search turns up a single nursery that sells macqui seeds and seedlings in the US.

In the name of saving you money—and introducing you to some really fascinating plants—here are five superfoods, unmasked of all their sexy packaging, that are fairly easy to grow in average garden conditions (and to obtain from nurseries). We’ll leave the debate over how nutritionally superior they are to the scientists.

Goji Berries (Lycium barbarum)

You know that section in the health food store where two-ounce packages of exotic sounding nuts and berries go for upwards of $20? It's the superfood section. I hate to break it to you, but many of those foods can be easily grown in your garden amid your broccoli, petunias, and other more mundane plants. In fact, some of them grow like weeds.

A “superfood” typically gets that moniker when it overflows with more nutrients than most other foods we eat, or if it has some special type of nutrient that’s rare in the modern diet. Whether such claims are primarily marketing hype or have some basis in fact depend on the foods in question. So while the nutritional merits of an ordinary blueberry versus, say, a macqui berry from the pristine slopes of the Chilean Patagonia continue to be debated, eating macqui berries is probably a healthy habit—it’s just a matter of whether they are worth $20 per pound.

But if you had such plants growing in your backyard, they’d be free for the snacking, and you could spend less time researching their health benefits on the Internet and more time out in the sunshine tending to them.

Not all superfoods are easy to grow at home, though. Brazil’s famous acai berries, for example, come from an Amazonian palm, which won’t thrive anywhere without constant humidity and temperatures above 50 degrees. Others—like macqui, a gawky looking shrub that is as common as forsythia in parts of Chile—are simply difficult to find. Currently an Internet search turns up a single nursery that sells macqui seeds and seedlings in the US.

In the name of saving you money—and introducing you to some really fascinating plants—here are five superfoods, unmasked of all their sexy packaging, that are fairly easy to grow in average garden conditions (and to obtain from nurseries). We’ll leave the debate over how nutritionally superior they are to the scientists.

Goji Berries (Lycium barbarum)

For centuries, if not millennia, goji berries were used in traditional Chinese medicine and as a raisin-like snack. Related to tomatoes, these perennials (hardy to USDA zone 5) have tiny red fruits on sprawling nondescript shrubs, which grow to about a head high.

They thrive in full sun with regular water, but have no other special demands. Any soil type that isn’t swampy is fine. Cut them back by two-thirds or so each fall to maintain a compact shape. They start fruiting in early to mid-summer and continue until the first frost of fall.

Scores of mail-order nurseries stock goji berries, and they are increasingly common in retail nurseries, especially those that specialize in herbs and edibles. Goji is also known as wolfberry, the name given by English-speaking people when they “discovered” the species.

White Mulberries (Morus alba)

They look exotic, but white mulberries are a weedy tree throughout much of China. Historically, the leaves were fed to silkworms, though ancient silk farmers undoubtedly enjoyed the fruit as well. In modern times, white mulberries have naturalized (read: grows like a weed) in the US and many other countries. According to, what some might consider a health guru, Dr. Oz, they’re good for the heart, far lower in sugar than most fruits, and have a host of other health benefits.

Growing up to 30 feet with a slightly drooping shape, white mulberries make an attractive shade tree with the bonus of exquisite fruit. They need full sun, average soil, and regular irrigation to get started, but once established white mulberries are fairly self-sufficient. White mulberry cold hardiness varies from USDA zone 5 to zone 9, depending on the variety.

There are many other types of mulberries with black and reddish fruit, including North American native species, that are just as tasty. But if you really want a white-fruiting mulberry, seek out varieties like ‘Tehama’ or ‘White Pakistan’. Confusingly, not all Morus alba trees have white fruit and some mulberry trees with white fruit may be labeled as Morus nigra, the black mulberry (fruit color is genetically variable in the Morus genus). To simplify that horticultural labyrinth when shopping for white mulberry trees, simply read the description of each variety to make sure it has the fruit color you want. Unlike black and red mulberries, the white ones don’t make permanent stains on clothing, driveways, and lawn furniture.

Bilberries (Vaccinium spp.)

Bilberries are essentially a wild European blueberry. The name is used in reference to several members of the Vaccinium genus, which have similar fruit. Blueberries, as we know them, are native to North America and have been bred for commercial production, a process which may have diluted the concentration of antioxidants and other health-promoting compounds they are renowned for compared to their wild cousins. Bilberries have higher antioxidant levels than blueberries and virtually any other fruit.

Bilberries are generally low-growing groundcovers found in bogs and heaths. They look like a dwarf blueberry plant and respond well to similar garden conditions: full or part sun, ample moisture, and rich acidic soil with a pH of 5.5 or below. Add shredded peat moss or sulfur to the soil to lower the pH, if needed. Bilberries are extremely cold hardy, surviving down to USDA zone 3.

Vaccinium myrtillus is the plant most commonly sold as bilberry. But there are many other plants that produce a nearly identical fruit that are also available in nurseries, such as huckleberry (a North American native shrub) and lingonberry (what that red sauce at Ikea is made of).

Golden Berries (Physalis peruviana)

In superfood parlance, these are also known as Inca Berries, after the ancient Peruvians who first cultivated them. But before they attained superfood status for their high levels of vitamins, A, B, C, iron, and other nutrients, North Americans referred to them as cape gooseberries or ground cherries—they are all the same plant, a species in the Nightshade family that looks and tastes like a cross between a tomatillo and a cherry tomato.

Grow golden berries exactly as you would a tomato, except don’t bother with a trellis as they grow happily along the ground. Fortunately, they are resistant to most of the insidious diseases that plague tomato plants, like late blight and Fusarium. Golden berries are perennials in frost-free climates (as are tomatoes), but are generally grown as annuals.

You may be able to locate golden berry seedlings in spring and summer, but most gardeners grow them by seed. These are easily germinated indoors and transplanted after all danger of frost has passed. Like cherry tomatoes, golden berries sometime “volunteer” in the garden—meaning seeds from unharvested fruit sprout on their own each year.

Seaberry (Hippophae rhamnoides)

This thorny shrub is native to mountain cliffs and sand dunes throughout Europe and Central Asia. Prior to being marketed as a superfood for its high levels of folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, omega-3s, and an impressive list of other health attributes, seaberry was more commonly referred to as sea buckthorn.

Growing 8 to 12 feet tall, seaberry makes an impenetrable hedge that becomes laden with orange fruit in fall. It thrives on neglect: poor soil, minimal irrigation, high winds, blazing sun, and Arctic temperatures are the norm in its native habitats. These shrubs are hardy to USDA zone 3.

Seaberry only produces fruit when both male and female varieties are present—this is known as cross-pollination. Most named cultivars are female, while males are usually labeled “male” and sold alongside the females. You can also purchase unnamed seedlings, which are essentially wild plants that will be a 50-50 mix and males and females, ensuring pollination.



Herbs for Health: Benefits of Bilberry

By Steven Foster

If you grew up among the heaths, moors, and woodlands of northern Europe or are a wild-foods enthusiast in the Rocky Mountain region, you might be ­familiar with bilberries, fruits of a member of the heath family (Ericaceae) that are much like blueberries. Most Americans, however, are more likely to ­encounter them in the form of purple gelatin capsules in health-food stores.

The genus Vaccinium includes nearly 450 species that occur in cool, temperate flatlands and mountains of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Many are deciduous or evergreen shrubs with edible fruits, including blueberry, huckleberry, cranberry, whortleberry, and lingonberry.

Bilberry (V. myrtillus) is a foot-tall deciduous shrub with ovate leaves that bears globular pinkish bell-like flowers in spring. It covers vast areas of high mountains in Europe, thriving in damp, acid soils, damp woods, and sandy and rocky soils. From Europe, it ranges eastward to western Mongolia, and in North America, it is found from British Columbia southward to Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. In Europe, the sweet, plump blue-black fruits are harvested commercially from the wild in July through September.

Bilberry Through History

Bilberry fruits have been valued for centuries as a nutritious food. In England and Scotland, they are eaten with milk and used in pies, tarts, syrups, jellies, and wine. They were also esteemed by Native Americans living in the Rockies.

The first record of bilberry fruits as an herbal medicine is Hildegard of Bingen’s recommendation in the twelfth century to use them to induce menstruation. In the sixteenth century, other German herbalists were prescribing bilberries for bladder stones and liver disorders and bilberry syrups for coughs and lung ailments.

By the eighteenth century, European herbalists and physicians had added intestinal disorders, typhoid fever, gout, rheumatism, and infections of the mouth, skin, and urinary tract to the list of ailments that they believed bilberry would cure. Two hundred years later, people were drinking a tea of the dried berries as a tonic and to stop diarrhea and bleeding, promote urination, and prevent scurvy (vitamin C deficiency); it was also used as an astringent and disinfectant mouthwash for mouth inflammations.

Modern Research

Interest in bilberry’s potential as an herbal medicine was renewed during World War II when British Royal Air Force ­pilots reported an improvement in night vision during night bombing missions after eating bilberry jam. These observations led to laboratory tests in the 1960s and later clinical studies on the effects of bilberry fruit extracts on the eyes and vascular system.

Among the constituents of the extracts are at least fifteen anthocyanosides, flavonoids that are derivatives of anthocyanins, the pigments responsible for the red, blue, or violet colors of flowers and fruits and the red in autumn leaves. Most studies have involved extracts that contain 25 to 36 percent anthocyanosides; most standardized bilberry extracts available to U.S. consumers contain 25 percent anthocyanosides.

Bilberry fruits contain up to 7 percent tannins as well as several alkaloids, including myrtine and epimyrtine. At least twelve different phenolic acids have been identified from the fruits as well as three glycosides of quercetin. All of these components could contribute to bilberry’s effectiveness as an herbal medicine.

The vascular system. Bil­berry extracts have been shown to be effective in relieving disorders of the peripheral blood vessels, especially the capillary fragility associated with aging. Studies in the 1960s showed that extracts reduced bruising, blood in the stool, and tiny bleeding spots on the skin. Patients suffering from water retention in the lower limbs and varicose veins experienced relief from feelings of heaviness, pain in the legs and ankles, and sensations of burning, prickling, or numbness of the skin. One double-blind, placebo-controlled study of forty-seven patients with various peripheral vascular disorders reported improvement in the symptoms described above as well as a reduction in swelling due to water retention. Other clinical studies involving more than 47 patients with atherosclerosis, a tendency to bruising, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins—all conditions related to poor microcirculation—have shown that the extracts reduce damage from free radicals and promote healthy circulation to the extremities. In other studies, the tea has proven useful for relieving diarrhea and inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat.

Bilberry anthocyanosides are believed to strengthen capillaries by protecting them from free-radical damage, stimulating the formation of healthy connective tissue, and promoting the formation of new capillaries. Bilberry fruit may reduce blood platelet stickiness, which can lead to heart attacks or stroke.

Eye disorders. When French researchers in the 1960s fed a mixture of bilberry anthocyanosides to rabbits, the animals’ ability to adapt to darkness increased, an effect attributed to an increase in the regeneration rate of the purple pigment rhodopsin in the retina. In laboratory and animal experiments, bilberry anthocyanosides have also been shown to deter enzyme reactions that damage the retina.

Researchers have examined the effect of bilberry fruit extracts (either alone or in combination with beta-carotene and vitamin E) on disorders related to impaired photosensitivity or poor microcirculation to the retina. Four Italian studies published during the 1960s showed that both healthy individuals and patients with visual disorders had significantly improved night vision and adapted more rapidly to both darkness and light after taking a bilberry extract. Additional studies on air-traffic controllers, airplane pilots, and truck drivers confirmed that a standardized extract of bilberry fruits improved their night vision and enhanced their adjustment to darkness.

In two clinical trials, Italian researchers found that 76 percent of nearsighted subjects showed a marked improvement in retinal sensitivity after taking 150 mg per day of a bilberry fruit extract for fifteen days, along with vitamin A.

Diabetic retinopathy (a noninflammatory degeneration of the retina) occurs in many people with diabetes mellitus. At least three double-blind, ­placebo- controlled studies during the 1980s, in which participants were given 320 to 480 mg per day of a high-anthocyanoside extract of bilberry for thirty days to twelve months, showed significant reduction or disappearance of hemorrhages in the retina.

Bilberry anthocyanosides are believed to strengthen capillaries by protecting them from free-radical damage, stimulating the formation of healthy connective tissue, and promoting the formation of new capillaries.

The Future

Most studies on bilberry were conducted by French or Italian researchers during the 1960s and 1970s and published in foreign scientific journals. That the results are dated, not widely publicized, and not available in English has made some scientists here slow to accept the generally positive results. Additional, and more rigorous, studies are needed if we are to accept the claims made for bilberry fruit extracts.

The safety of bilberry, however, is well established. One study of 2295 subjects taking a 36 percent anthocyanoside-standardized bilberry fruit extract showed positive results with no adverse effects, even after prolonged use. There are no reported contraindications, interactions with other drugs, or side effects.

In the United States, bil­berry dietary supplements, including extracts standardized to 25 ­percent anthocyanosides and tablets and capsules of the dried fruits, are readily available. A tea made from 20 to 60 g of the dried ripe berries is taken daily in three doses. The usual dosage of standardized products is 340 mg per day, divided into two or three doses.


Bilberry for Better Eyes?

By Cathy Wong, ND (Reviewed by a board-certified physician)

A relative of the blueberry, bilberry is purported to improve the health of the eyes. Bilberry is rich in antioxidants, natural substances thought to protect against eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. Research on bilberry's health effects is limited, but some studies suggest that bilberry supplements may be of some benefit to the eyes.

The Science Behind Bilberry's Benefits for the Eyes

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) classifies bilberry as "possibly effective" for treatment of eye problems linked to diabetes and high blood pressure (also known as hypertension).

In particular, bilberry may help prevent diabetes- and hypertension-related blood vessel damage known to impair the retina (a nerve layer involved in sensing light).

On the other hand, NIH deems bilberry "possibly ineffective" for improving night vision. Indeed, a 2004 review from the journal Survey of Ophthalmology found little scientific support for the theory that bilberry can sharpen night vision in healthy eyes. In their analysis of 30 clinical trials, the review's authors also found "a complete absence of rigorous research" on bilberry's effects on night vision in people with diseases of the eyes.

More Research on Bilberry and the Eyes

For a 2001 report in Alternative Medicine Review, investigators sized up the available research on natural therapies for diseases of the eyes. Results revealed that bilberry shows promise in the treatment of glaucoma, although the report's authors caution that the evidence for this use is "very preliminary." The report also indicates that bilberry may help treat cataracts, a condition linked to free-radical-induced damage.

According to the report's authors, bilberry contains potent antioxidant compounds "with a particular affinity for the eye."

Using Bilberry for Eye Health

Due to the lack of scientific support, bilberry cannot be recommended to improve the health of the eyes. Although bilberry is generally considered safe for most when consumed in regular amounts in food, little is known about the safety of long-term or regular use of bilberry supplements.

If you're considering the use bilberry to treat any disease of the eyes, make sure to consult your physician before starting your supplement regimen. Self-treating and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.


Bilberry Extract Improves Eye Conditions and Circulation

(Best Health)

Bomber pilots claim bilberry jam gave them night vision. Learn more about the benefits of bilberry, including how it helps eye and circulation issues

Eye conditions and circulation issues can be improved with bilberry extract Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) is used in jam and baking, but also has over a 1000-year-old legacy for its medicinal properties. It’the dried fruit and leaves, specifically’has been used in European herbal medicine for that long to treat diarrhea, mouth and throat irritations, coughs and tuberculosis. Bilberry-leaf tea is a widely used folk medicine for diabetes and for urinary tract infections, too. British World War II pilots reportedly credited their pinpoint accuracy during night bombing raids to the bilberry jam they’d enjoyed at teatime. Though never confirmed, the story highlights the potential health bonuses of this dainty fruit.

These days, bilberry is most commonly used medicinally as supplementary treatment for circulation issues, glaucoma, cataracts and retinopathy. It is this midnight-blue berry’s storehouse of powerful anthocyanins’chemical compounds with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions’that have been the subject of recent scientific research.

How it works

Anthocyanins give bilberries their deep blue-red tint. In the body, these compounds have been shown in numerous studies to improve circulation in the tiny blood vessels that deliver oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to individual cells. As antioxidants, they also protect cells from damage.

If you want to try bilberry extract

Fresh bilberries can be hard to find; frozen ones may be more readily available. Juices and extracts are sold in health food stores. Do not use bilberry in place of medications recommended by your doctor for eye or circulation conditions.

If you’d like to try bilberry as an add-on therapy, look for an extract standardized to contain 25 percent anthocyanins. Follow package directions for dosage.Talk with your doctor before using bilberry if you take medications for diabetes or to discourage clotting.

Modern research and studies on bilberry

In a widely cited Italian study published in 1989, 50 elderly people with early stage cataracts who took a combination of bilberry extract and vitamin E saw cataract progression slow by 97 percent.

Antioxidant power may explain the results of another Italian study from 1987, of 14 people with damage to their retinas and to tiny blood vessels in their eyes, due to diabetes or high blood pressure. They received bilberry extracts containing 115 milligrams of anthocyanins or a placebo daily. After a month, tests showed their retinas and the blood vessels had improved.

Glaucoma patients also experienced improvements in a small Korean study. Researchers gave anthocyanins from bilberry to 132 study volunteers at a dose of 60 milligrams twice daily for 2 years; another 103 received a gingko supplement and 97 others received neither. Eye tests showed that vision improved in those who took the anthocyanins; these volunteers also had fewer ‘weak spots’ in their field of vision. Lead researcher Seong Hee Shim noted that bilberry anthocyanins may help eyes by improving circulation, which could in turn help control dangerously high fluid pressure in the eye that in glaucoma can damage the optic nerve.

That circulation boost has body-wide benefits. In a 2010 lab study by Slovenia’s University of Ljubljana, a bilberry extract increased blood flow and helped stabilize heart rhythm after heart attack in rats. A 1995 lab study at Italy’s CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology found that bilberry extract restored blood flow to injured hamster tissue. Several Italian studies from the 1980s found that people with various circulation problems saw blood flow improve upon taking bilberry extract daily.

Meanwhile, bilberry anthocyanins improved symptoms in people with a bowel disease called ulcerative colitis, in a preliminary 2012 study at University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland.

Glaucoma patients experienced improvements in a small Korean study. Researchers gave anthocyanins from bilberry to 132 study volunteers at a dose of 60 milligrams twice daily for 2 years; another 103 received a gingko supplement and 97 others received neither. Eye tests showed that vision improved in those who took might still improve night vision in people with impaired eyesight due to diseases such as diabetes or glaucoma.

Night vision

If bilberry jam boosted the prowess of British bomber pilots in World War II, could it help the US Navy? In 2000, Eric R Muth of the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory in Pensacola, Florida, set out to answer that question after several European studies suggested that bilberry had night vision-sharpening powers. Fifteen Navy SEAL personnel took 160 milligrams of a bilberry extract 3 times a day for 3 weeks. But tests showed no improvements. And a 2004 review of bilberry studies by the Peninsula Medical School of the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth in England came to the same conclusion; however, researchers noted that further study is needed to find out if bilberry vessels in their eyes, due to diabetes or high blood pressure. They received bilberry extracts containing 115 milligrams of anthocyanins or a placebo daily. After a month, tests showed their retinas and the blood vessels had improved.


What Are the Benefits of Bilberry Supplements?

By Tracey Roizman, D.C., (Demand Media)

Bilberrry, a relative of the North American blueberry, is a group of European shrubs in the genus Vaccinium. Similar in appearance to blueberries, bilberries are slightly smaller and darker, with a red or purple inner coloration. Notoriously difficult to grow, bilberries are usually harvested in the wild, according to Breanne FIndlay, author of "The Celtic Diet: Let History Shape Your Future." Supplements derived from bilberry offer potential health benefits.

Retinal Health

Bilberry antioxidant supplements support healthy vision by helping to regenerate light-sensitive pigments in cells of the retina, according to a study published in the September 2010 issue of the journal "Vestnik Oftalmologii." Anthocyanidin compounds in bilberry protect and improve nutrient status of the retina. Bilberry extract protected the retina from damage in an animal study published in the July 2009 issue of the journal "Molecular Nutrition and Food Research." In the tissue culture study, bilberry antioxidant extract prevented oxidation of lipids and inhibited nerve damage to the retina in response to a toxin.

Glaucoma Improvement

A combination of bilberry extract and ginkgo biloba improved vision in patients with normal-pressure glaucoma -- a condition characterized by damage to the optic nerve that can lead to a narrowing of the visual field and eventual total blindness. Participants with normal-pressure glaucoma consumed the combination supplement daily for an average of two years. Results showed a 31 percent in visual acuity, according to one rating scale, while visual field improved by 17 percent.

Blood Sugar Management

Bilberry supplements may help lower your blood sugar, according to an animal study published in the March 2010 "Journal of Nutrition." Diets supplemented with bilberry extract decreased blood sugar levels and improved insulin sensitivity -- the appropriate response of cells to insulin -- in mice with Type 2 diabetes. Bilberry extract activated an enzyme that stimulates fat burning and inhibits cholesterol production, leading to improved glucose absorption in muscles and lower levels of glucose and fat in the liver. Some evidence shows that retinal damage due to diabetes or high blood sugar may improve with bilberry supplementation, notes New York University's Langone Medical Center.

Circulatory Health

Your circulation may receive a boost from bilberry supplementation, according to a study published in the November 2011 issue of the journal "Clinical Chemistry." Participants with elevated cholesterol consumed 320 milligrams of bilberry antioxidants per day for 12 weeks. Measurements of blood flow showed 28.4 percent improvement in the supplemented group compared to baseline blood flow measurements of the same group taken before starting the bilberry supplement. Additionally, levels of high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, the good form of cholesterol, increased significantly with bilberry supplementation, while levels of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, the bad form of cholesterol, decreased.


Natural Tips For Fantastic Vision

By Anthia Koullouros

Great vision and healthy eyes are an important aspect of our health and wellbeing. There are some fantastic natural remedies, nutrients and lifestyle tips that can help improve the health of your eyes and prevent eye disease such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and itchy eyes. There are also some nutrient rich foods that we can incorporate into our diets to help promote eye health and great vision. Below are my top naturopathic recommendations to help keep your eyes healthy and your vision sharp.

1. Protect your eyes

The most important tip that I can provide you with it is to take great care of your eyes and protect them from UV exposure. Simple as it may sound, excessive sun exposure can cause eye strain, macular degeneration and cataracts. Protect your eyes from UV damage by wearing quality UV blocking sunglasses and broad-brimmed hats. It is also vital to take regular breaks from looking at your computer screen and smart phone devices. Take regular intervals looking away from your bright screens to rest your eyes and prevent eye strain. Establish these habits of wearing sunglasses and resting your eyes to optimise your eye health.

2. Vitamin A

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for the normal functioning of the visual system. It is an antioxidant that reduces free radical damage and oxidation of tissue. Ensuring you have adequate levels of vitamin A in your diet can help reduce the risk of developing cataracts and prevent macular degeneration and night blindness. Preformed vitamin A is found almost exclusively in animal products, such as milk, meats, liver, fish, and egg yolk.

3. Lutein + zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are the two major components found in the macular pigment of the retina. They have antioxidant qualities that protect the eyes against excessive UV light exposure, and play a preventative role in age related vision conditions such as macular degeneration. Enjoy foods such as dark leafy greens and egg yolk as a food source of lutein and citrus, orange and peppers as a food source of zeaxanthin.

4. Omega-3

Omega-3 essential fatty acids may help protect the eyes from macular degeneration and dryness. Essential fatty acids are naturally found in the retina and are thought to promote healthy retinal function and can help reduce inflammation in the blood vessels of the eye. The body does not naturally create essential fatty acids so they must be derived from our diet. Food sources of omega-3 to incorporate into your diet include deep-sea, cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel and nuts such as walnuts.

5. Bilberry + Eyebright

The plant world offers some fantastic herbs to help improve eye health with my top two being Bilberry and Eyebright. Bilberry has been traditionally used to help prevent eye strain and eye fatigue. It contains anthocyanosides, which are antioxidants that may prevent macular degeneration, improve night vision and support healthy function of the retina. Enjoy Bilberry in a herbal tea or take as a herbal tincture as prescribed by your herbalist or naturopath. Eyebright is another herb that has an affinity towards the eyes. It has astringent, anti-inflammatory therapeutic actions and makes a fantastic eye bath for those suffering from conjunctivitis or any eye inflammation. To make an eye bath simply buy organic eyebright in a tea form, steep 1 teaspoon per cup of boiled water. Fill an eyecup halfway with the eye bath tea and bend your head down. Press the eyecup gently to your closed eye. Tilt your head back by slowly opening your eye. Blink the eye several times. Throw away the used solution and fill with fresh one and repeat the same procedure with the other eye. Lastly wash the eye cup to prevent possible contamination.

NB: Herbal tinctures are only available with a prescription from your Naturopath or Herbalist. A qualified practitioner will ensure your medication, supplements or disease state does not interact with the herbs. When an herbalist prescribes herbal medicine they consider one’s constitution: age, allergies, sensitiveness, robustness, size, temperature, current status of health and personality. Always remember to tell your practitioner if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.


Foods, supplements & herbs for eye health

By Michelle Misiaszek

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – Certain foods, supplements and herbs can actually help keep your eyes healthy as you age! Herbal Information Specialist Jonathan Evans, from The Herbarium in Chicopee shared more about these foods, supplements and herbs.

Foods for Eye Health

Leafy greens (Kale, collard greens, spinach) – Good source of Lutein, which is found in the yellow spot of the eye part of the macular region in the retina, which is responsible for central vision

Eggs – Yolk also contains Lutein

Dried peas and beans, yellow vegetables – Carotenes, antioxidants, free radical scavengers, helping general eye health

Blackberries, Cherries, Raspberries – Antioxidants, free radical scavengers, help to protect against age related Macular Degeneration and helps with lens opacity (Cataracts) as well as strengthening blood vessels

Herbs / Supplements for Eye Health

Lutein – Helps filter out harmful radiation and helps maintain proper lens density. Important for a healthy retina and protects macula from free radical damage.

Bilberry – Improves night vision, and helps support healthy circulation in the eye. Bilberry has been shown to build up the macula.

Ginkgo biloba – Promotes better circulation in the eye and strengthens blood vessels.

Eyebright herb – Antibacterial, astringent. Used for conjunctivitis, cataract formation, glaucoma, general eye health

Astaxanthin – Another carotenoid for retinal health, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and eye strain and fatigue.

Zeaxanthin – Protects cortex of the lens rom free radical damage.

Quercetin – Helps maintain lens transparency

Vitamins good for eyes – Vitamin A, beta carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, Selenium and several amino acids are all very helpful for eye health


Feast on a very berry Christmas! Counter festive eating with fat-burning bilberries

(Express)

TOO much high-fat, rich food over the festive period can take its toll on even the most health conscious of us.

But help could be at hand from a popular Nordic foodstuff.

Bilberries appear to counter the adverse effects of a high-fat diet, researchers have found.

The berries also offer benefits for controlling blood pressure and inflammatory responses, according to the study by scientists at the University of Eastern Finland.

Inflammation and high blood pressure are often associated with obesity-related diseases.

The study, published in PLOS ONE, focused on the health effects of bilberries on mice fed a high-fat diet over a three-month period.

Bilberries have long been a staple of the Nordic diet and traditional folk wisdom endows them with several health benefits.

The positive impact of the fruits is thought to be explained by polyphenols, especially anthocyanins, the levels of which are significantly higher in bilberries than in commercially cultivated blueberries.


Study Shows Bilberries (Wild Blueberries) May Prevent Harmful Effects of a High-Fat Diet

By Heather Suhr

Bilberries are a plant with bright green leaves and bell-shaped flowers grown in the wild primarily in northern Europe. It looks like blueberries, but has a darker color, and the flavor is more tart than the American blueberry. The deeper color is a result of anthocyanosides, which are typically found in darker colored berries.

While blueberries already provides many health benefits including polyphenols and anthocyanins, bilberries have significantly higher levels of anthocyanins than blueberries. Bilberries are effective in helping a wide variety of diseases due to its antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

New study shows bilberries can fight harmful effects of a high-fat diet

A new study published in PLOS One is the first study to prove the beneficial effects on both blood pressure and nutrition-derived inflammatory responses.

The study focused on the health effects of bilberries on mice when fed a high-fat diet for three months. Some of the mice were fed either 5% or 10% of bilberries and the researchers measured inflammatory cell and cytokine levels, systolic blood pressure, glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, and weight gain.

The team did note that the high-fat diet did cause the mice to gain a significant amount of weight and experienced adverse changes in glucose and lipid metabolism, inflammation factors, and blood pressure.

Bilberries lessened the pro-inflammatory effects resulting from a high-fat diet

Researchers noticed the mice that were fed bilberries experienced an altered cytokine profile and lower prevalence of inflammation-supporting T-cells compared to the mice that did not eat bilberries. In addition bilberries help prevent elevated blood pressure caused by the high-fat diet.

The University of Leicester in the UK led a study in 2007 to determine whether bilberry extract could prevent or delay some cancers. They found that it slowed some effects of cancers, such as colorectal cancer in the laboratory model. They followed it into human clinical trials and reported tumor proliferation by 7%.

Things to keep in mind

Bilberries are generally considered safe for consumption, however people taking anticoagulant and anti-platelet drugs should be cautious when using bilberry extracts as they can alter the medicine’s effectiveness and act detrimentally. In addition, using bilberry extracts in high concentrations as excessive consumption can cause toxicity and result in complication for some people.


6 Little-Known Nutrients that Build Better Vision

By Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook (PhD, DNM)

An old adage says that eyes are the windows of the soul, but we also rely on them for just about everything we do in life. It’s important to take good care of our eyes and vision through a largely or entirely plant-based diet.

While there are many vitamins and minerals needed for healthy eyes and vision, it’s also important to get enough of the lesser-known nutrients that help in this area.

Here are some of critical vision nutrients and the foods in which they are found: Alpha carotene—This type of carotenoid, which is in the group of about 700 different yellow-orange-red pigments found in many fruits and vegetables, tends to take a back seat to beta carotene, but is equally important to eye health. This nutrient is found in apricots, broccoli, carrots, collards, leafy greens, kale, mangoes, papayas, peaches, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, squash and tomatoes.

Beta carotene—Okay, most people have heard of beta carotene, but no article on nutrients for better vision would be complete without mentioning this essential eyesight-protecting nutrient. It’s found in many of the same foods as alpha carotene, including: apricots, broccoli, carrots, collards, leafy greens, kale, mangoes, papayas, peaches, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, squash and tomatoes.

Lutein—This fat-soluble nutrient is normally present in healthy eyes, but can become depleted over time. It acts as an antioxidant within the eyes to protect them from free radical damage. Lutein is a yellow-colored pigment found in many foods, including: apricots, avocados, broccoli, carrots, collards, eggs, leafy greens, kale, leeks, mangoes, papayas, peaches, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, squash and tomatoes.

Naringin—If you’ve ever bit into a grapefruit and tasted their signature bitter-sour flavor, you’ve tasted naringin. This bitter-tasting plant nutrient is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the retina in the eyes. It is mainly found in grapefruit.

Rutin—Without rutin, your body cannot properly absorb vitamin C. Rutin is a powerful nutrient that improves overall eye health and strengthens blood vessels, especially the small capillaries. Because it also improves circulation and acts as an antioxidant against free radical damage, it’s especially helpful for diabetic retinopathy. It is found in citrus fruits, red apples, apricots, bilberry fruit, blackberries, broccoli, buckwheat, cherries, black currants, grapes, nuts, onions, peppers, plums, prunes, rose hips and tea.

Zeaxanthin—This nutrient shares some of the same effects of lutein. It helps prevent against age-related macular degeneration of the eyes, which is a cause of blindness in the elderly. This important eye-protecting agent is found in apricots, broccoli, carrots, collards, eggs, leafy greens, kale, leeks, mangoes, papayas, peaches, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, squash and tomatoes.

When it comes to nutrients for eye health, seeing is believing. The best way to see well for life is to see a wide range of yellow, orange, red, and green foods on your plate every day.


VTT: Bilberries to increase our dietary fiber intake

(VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland)

Bilberries -- a unique part of the Nordic diet -- could be utilised in higher amounts in food products to increase our dietary fibre intake. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd took an interest in bilberry press cake and developed methods to use it as a dietary fibre source in tasty snacks.

VTT studied the dietary fibre content, carbohydrate composition, and non-carbohydrate fibre content of Finnish bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) and bilberry press cake -- a side product from juice processing. The results indicate that bilberries contain plenty of dietary fibre: fresh bilberries 3%, freeze-dried bilberries 24% and dry bilberry press cake 59%. The content can be explained by the high relative proportion of peels and seeds in the berries due to their small size. The dietary fibre was mostly insoluble, which means it has excellent bulking effects and therefore increases intestinal mobility and removal of digestion residue from the body.

Press cake in snacks and muffins

The berry juice industry produces large amounts of press cake, which is currently under-utilised. It is a low-cost raw material with a healthy status and it can be used to substitute all or part of whole berries in health-promoting products.

Bilberry press cake can be used as a substitute for whole berries in berry-striped muffins when it is milled according to VTT's patented wet milling method. Thanks to bilberry press cake, a fibre content of over 6% in the muffins can be easily achieved without compromising the sensory quality.

It is possible to add bilberry press cake also to extruded snacks. Extrusion processing is a high temperature short time process, where both expanded puffs and flakes can be produced. A nice flavour and crispy texture can be obtained by adding dried and milled press cake of up to 30% to the flour mix used during the extruded snack production.

High content of anthocyanins

Bilberries and blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) are known for their high content of anthocyanins. In contrast to cultivated blueberries, the anthocyanin content in wild bilberries is also high in the flesh part and is therefore more bioavailable than in blueberries or their peels. Anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic activity, and they have the potential to reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.


Climb steps to keep yourself smart

Compiled by Abhijit Ahaskar

Attitude of co-workers can affect a mother’s decision to breastfeed her child and adding bilberries to daily diet improves fibre intake of body—studies and research tips for a healthier you

Taking stairs can keep brain young

Using stairs more often not just makes body strong but improves brain’s health too, a Canadian study suggests. Researchers from Concordia University enlisted 331 healthy people in the age group of 19 to 79 years. They used MRI to measure the volume of grey matter found in their brains because its decline is a sign of aging. When they compared the brain volume of the participants with the number of flight of stairs climbed, they found that brain age decreases by 0.58 years for every daily flight of stairs climbed. The study was published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging. Read more here.

Indian parents worry more about their child’s online safety

Indian parents worry more compared to their global counterparts when their children spend more time online. According to Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report, 57% of Indian parents worried that their children would end up being bullied by cyber predators. The report found that more than 50% of parents believe that their children are safer from bullies on a playground than on the internet and that what a child posts will come back to haunt the whole family sometime later.

Workplace environment linked to working mother’s decision to breastfeed

Attitude of co-workers, superiors and comments at work place can affect a mother’s decision to breastfeed her child, a US study suggests. Researchers from University of Houston did a survey involving 859 women who went to work soon after conceiving their child. Only 300 women continued to breastfeed for a year while only seven continued breastfeeding exclusively for six months. The researchers found that women with supportive co-workers and bosses were eight times more likely to continue exclusive breastfeeding than women with non-supportive co-workers. The study was published in the Journal of Organizational Behaviour.

Yoga can help but it is not enough

Yoga intervention can be beneficial in depression but it alone can’t be relied upon to treat trauma, a study claims. Researchers from North Carolina examined 13 previous reviews and found that yoga can help in anxiety, depression and trauma but only in the short term. “As a stand-alone treatment right now, Yoga alone is just not viable. However, I think with more education, more research, and more experienced instructors, it will be,” said co-author and Yoga instructor Leslie Roach. Researches feel yoga intervention should be recommended but only with scientifically verified treatments such as psychotherapy and medication.

Bilberries can improve fibre intake

Adding bilberries to daily diet can increase fibre intake which increases intestinal mobility and improves the digestive process, a Finnish study claims. Researchers from VTT Technical Research Centre examined the amount of fibre and carbohydrate composition content in bilberries. They found that fresh bilberries contain 3% fibre, freeze-dried bilberries 24% and dry bilberry press cake 59%. They also found that bilberries contain anthocyanins, a water soluble flavonid with anti-carcinogenic capabilities. It can also reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.



In the News: Bilberry for Healthy Eyes

By Lindsay Cleek

If you have a family history of vision problems or just want to maintain good eyesight as you age, there could be an herbal aid to go along with your routine of regular visits to the eye doctor. A recent study found that a combination of bilberry extract (Vaccinium myrtillus) and Pycnogenol® (French maritime pine bark extract) helped improved blood flow to the eye and reduced intraocular pressure associated with disorders such as glaucoma.

The study was conducted at Italy’s University of Chieti-Pescara in San Valentino, Italy. Approximately 80 subjects in their late 40s, all void of prior vision problems, completed the clinical trial. Participants took the supplement Mirtogenol®, 80 mg of bilberry extract and 40 mg of Pycnogel, in varied combination with latanoprost, a topical eye medication used to reduce eye pressure. Intraocular pressure and retinal blood flow were measured periodically throughout the 24-week trial. Researchers concluded that Mirtogenol® lowers intraocular pressure in those with previously elevated pressure. They also found that it could be helpful in reducing the risk of glaucoma because it prevents an increase in ocular hypertension.

Bilberry aids in this process by modifying the capillaries in the ciliary body, which releases fluid within the eye. Bilberry has long been thought to be beneficial for eye health, with World War II British Royal Air Force pilots eating bilberry jam to sharpen their vision for night missions. However, a recent study disproved a link between bilberry and improved night vision.

Bilberry extract is taken from dried, ripe bilberry fruit and leaves and is used by herbalists to treat a variety of other health conditions as well. Bilberry plants contain tannins, which are most commonly used to treat diarrhea, and can reduce inflammation due to mouth and throat irritation. Flavonoids in bilberry leaf have been studied to improve circulation, which leads it to be used to treat conditions like diabetes and varicose veins as well.

Always consult your physician before starting any new health supplements to avoid possible medication interactions.


Bilberries can be utilised in food products to boost dietary fibre intake

(News Medical, VTT)

Bilberries - a unique part of the Nordic diet - could be utilised in higher amounts in food products to increase our dietary fibre intake. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd took an interest in bilberry press cake and developed methods to use it as a dietary fibre source in tasty snacks.

VTT studied the dietary fibre content, carbohydrate composition, and non-carbohydrate fibre content of Finnish bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) and bilberry press cake - a side product from juice processing. The results indicate that bilberries contain plenty of dietary fibre: fresh bilberries 3%, freeze-dried bilberries 24% and dry bilberry press cake 59%. The content can be explained by the high relative proportion of peels and seeds in the berries due to their small size. The dietary fibre was mostly insoluble, which means it has excellent bulking effects and therefore increases intestinal mobility and removal of digestion residue from the body.

Press cake in snacks and muffins

The berry juice industry produces large amounts of press cake, which is currently under-utilised. It is a low-cost raw material with a healthy status and it can be used to substitute all or part of whole berries in health-promoting products.

Bilberry press cake can be used as a substitute for whole berries in berry-striped muffins when it is milled according to VTT's patented wet milling method. Thanks to bilberry press cake, a fibre content of over 6% in the muffins can be easily achieved without compromising the sensory quality.

It is possible to add bilberry press cake also to extruded snacks. Extrusion processing is a high temperature short time process, where both expanded puffs and flakes can be produced. A nice flavour and crispy texture can be obtained by adding dried and milled press cake of up to 30% to the flour mix used during the extruded snack production.

High content of anthocyanins

Bilberries and blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) are known for their high content of anthocyanins. In contrast to cultivated blueberries, the anthocyanin content in wild bilberries is also high in the flesh part and is therefore more bioavailable than in blueberries or their peels. Anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic activity, and they have the potential to reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.


Bilberries And Obesity: How Wild Blueberries Offset Negative Effects Of A High-Fat Diet

By Lecia Bushak

Various studies have pointed to the huge health benefits of eating blueberries, from reducing the risk of heart disease, to improving your metabolism and providing you with plenty of antioxidants to fight cancer, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s disease. A new study just adds one more benefit to that already lengthy list: Eating wild blueberries in particular, known as “bilberries,” can help reduce the negative effects of a high-fat diet and fight obesity.The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Eastern Finland, and found that bilberries were beneficial for improving blood pressure and nutrition-derived inflammatory responses. Low-grade inflammation as well as high blood pressure are often linked to obesity and obesity-related diseases such as diabetes. “Low-grade metabolic inflammation and hypertension are primary mechanisms involved in obesity-associated adverse health effects,” the authors wrote in the abstract. “Berries, especially Nordic wild blueberries (bilberries), represent an important source of dietary anthocyanins, a group of polyphenols with potential beneficial effects to combat obesity-associated metabolic disturbances.”

For the study, the researchers fed mice a high-fat diet for three months. Different groups of mice had diets containing either five percent or 10 percent of freeze-dried bilberries, and the researchers examined the effects, focusing particularly on inflammatory cell and cytokine levels, systolic blood pressure, glucose tolerance, insulin, and weight gain. They found that the mice placed on a high-fat diet gained more weight, and experienced negative changes in glucose and lipid metabolism, as well as higher blood pressure — of course. But the bilberries actually lowered the inflammation associated with a high-fat diet and improved their outlooks.“Bilberries constitute an integral part of the Nordic diet and they could be better utilized also elsewhere in the world,” the University of Eastern Finland press release said. “Bilberries are associated with several beneficial health effects and their use involves plenty of traditional wisdom.”Bilberries aren’t quite the same as blueberries. They’re native to Northern Europe and are relatives of blueberries. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, bilberries have been used for hundreds of years in both jams and pies, and in medicine. Because they contain plant pigments called anthocyanosides, which serve as antioxidants, bilberries offset free radicals in the body and prevent damage to cells.

While the study doesn’t give you a green light to go ahead and eat a fatty diet filled with mac and cheese and hamburgers, just to devour several cups of bilberries right after, it’s comforting to know that eating certain fruits can help you out after a night of cheating on your diet.Source: Mykkänen OT, Huotari A, Herzig K-H, et al. Wild Blueberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) Alleviate Inflammation and Hypertension Associated with Developing Obesity in Mice Fed with a High-Fat Diet. PLOS One. 2014.


Bilberries can help those with varicose veins

(The Irish Times)

DOES IT WORK? Bilberry extract is said to improve eyesight, but this has not been proven

THE BILBERRY fruit is also called the European blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus). The bush is commonly found in northern and central Europe, where the fruit has been a popular food.

More recently, bilberry extracts have become popular in treating a variety of eye problems. This reputation developed among RAF pilots during the second World War. Some pilots appeared to be able to see better when flying night bombing raids.

The only thing that seemed to explain the differences was that those with better night vision used bilberry jam. Soon, bilberries had a reputation for curing all sorts of eye problems, along with heart disease, varicose veins and several other conditions.

Evidence from studies

Bilberries contain a group of potent antioxidants called anthocyanins. Antioxidants are important nutrients that everyone needs.

The body normally produces waste compounds that need to be neutralised by antioxidants. Reduced intake of antioxidants is associated with an increased risk of several illnesses.

The best source is the recommended daily intake of a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Nonetheless, supplementation with additional antioxidants is commonly advocated.

In the case of bilberry, animal studies have found that the extracts positively affect blood flow in various tissues. They also make blood vessels less porous, which could reduce swelling and help with varicose veins. But such uses have not been confirmed in human studies.

The use of bilberry for night vision was supported by some studies carried out in the 1960s. However, since then, several larger and better-designed trials have found no benefit from bilberry.

A review of these and subsequent studies found that only one of the five high-quality trials found bilberry better than placebo for night vision.

Some benefit was found for people taking bilberry for retinopathy. This eye problem can develop in people with diabetes or high blood pressure. Further research is needed to confirm these preliminary findings.

Problematic aspects

Adverse reactions have not been reported in the studies of bilberry extracts. Given that the extracts may affect blood flow, anyone taking blood-thinning medications should be alert to possible bleeding problems.

Toxic reactions have been noted when people eat large amounts of the berries or consume them for long periods.

Up to 500mg of extract are recommended daily. Most studies used extracts containing 25 per cent anthocyanins, although the commercially available products vary in strength and quality.

Recommendations

Reports of bilberry helping with night vision point to the limitations of anecdotal reports and testimonials. The differences in night vision among the pilots could have been due to any number of factors.

Although the bilberry jam got the credit, controlled trials have shown that something else must have been the cause of any benefits.

However, by initiating research into bilberries, some potential uses for the extracts have been identified.

One of the most interesting of these is as a treatment for varicose veins. However, further studies are needed to verify whether such uses are valid.

Meanwhile, we know that bilberries are a good source of antioxidants, and can, therefore, be useful for general health as part of a balanced diet that is rich in plant foods.

Problems with vision or circulation can be due to even more serious underlying conditions. Therefore, anyone with symptoms of these problems should seek a medical evaluation and not try to self-medicate with bilberry.

Effective treatments for many of these conditions are readily available.


Bilberries May Help Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients

By Deborah Mitchell G

If you have inflammatory bowel disease and you are not familiar with bilberries, it may be time to make their acquaintance. Researchers in Europe report that animal models of colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease, responded well to bilberry extract. Bilberries are rich in anthocyanins

A number of natural substances and supplements have been proposed to help inflammatory bowel disease; among them, olive oil, probiotics, resveratrol, curcumin, and even marijuana compounds. Now a new study suggests that bilberries may be an addition to this growing list.

Bilberries, which are a close relative to blueberries, contain anthocyanins, pigments that have antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. Previous studies show bilberries are effective in the management of diarrhea, which is one of the main characteristics of inflammatory bowel disease.

The new study involved a mouse model of colitis, one of the two primary types of inflammatory bowel disease (Crohns disease is the other). The mice were exposed to a chemical to induce colitis and then divided into three groups: one group was given a diet in which 20% of their food was bilberry supplement; the other two were given either 1% or 10% anthocyanins as part of their normal diet.

In the mice that received the bilberry supplement, the symptoms of colitis improved; specifically, intestinal inflammation and disease severity were reduced. The bilberry extract and anthocyanins both prevented self-destruction (apoptosis) colonic epithelial cells induced by inflammation in the other groups of mice. Overall, the results indicate that a clinical trial of the effects of bilberries on patients who have inflammatory bowel disease is warranted.

Inflammatory bowel disease affects more than 1 million individuals in the United States. While both ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease are characterized by chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract, abdominal cramps, fever, and bloody diarrhea, the main difference between is that ulcerative colitis can be cured by surgery, while Crohns disease cannot.

Experts are still searching for the causes of inflammatory bowel disease, although environmental and genetic factors are involved. On the environmental side, bacteria, diet, or stress are believed to be triggers for inflammation and an abnormal dysfunctional immune response.

Bilberries, which are also known as huckleberries and whortleberries, traditionally have been used to treat diarrhea, menstrual cramps, eye problems varicose veins, and circulatory problems. The anthocyanins are credited with improving circulation, preventing blood clots, and building strong blood vessels, while the tannins found in the berries have anti-inflammatory properties and may help control diarrhea.

Overall, the investigators concluded that dried bilberries improved chronic colitis, and that their results “justify a clinical study on the therapeutic effect in inflammatory bowel disease patients.”




Herbs Help Treat Diabetes: Bilberry, Gymnema, Ginkgo and Salt Bush

By Melanie Grimes

(NaturalNews) Many herbal remedies are used to treat symptoms of diabetes and have shown results in naturally lowering blood sugar levels. Scientific research is now shedding new light on the mechanisms used since ancient times to treat diabetes with herbs and nutrition.

Diabetes was noted as far back as Ancient Greece. The name comes from two Greek words meaning the siphon and to run through, which describes the diabetic symptom of excess urine. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, where over twenty three million, almost eight percent of the population, have been diagnosed with the disorder. The number of cases of diabetes doubled from 1990 to 2005 and is expected to double again by 2050. Side effects of diabetes include kidney disease, congestive heart failure, stroke, blindness and hearing loss.

The cause of diabetes is not known but 90% of those with Type 2 diabetes are obese. Most consider that diabetes is triggered by numerous factors, including inheritance, nutrition, obesity, infection, hormonal imbalances, and stress.

Bilberry

One of the commonly used herbs to treat diabetes is Bilberry, or European Blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus). The leaves of this plant have been shown to lower blood sugar. Traditional usage was a few handfuls of leaves in three to four cups of water simmered for a half hour. A few cups of Bilberry tea lower blood sugar. Extracts of Bilberry are now available and a dosage is between 80 to 160 mg three times a day to treat diabetes.

Gymnema sylvestre

The Indian plant, Gymnema is part of the milkweed family. It is known as Gurmar in Hindi, meaning "Sugar Destroyer," and has been used in Ayurvedic, or Indian, Medicine for centuries. Research has shown that 400 mg a day of Gymnema will help glucose to be reabsorbed into the blood, thereby lowering blood sugar.

Salt Bush

Israeli research on the Salt Bush plant, or Atriplex halim, has demonstrated its ability to improve blood sugar regulation. The study used 3 grams a day of the herb to treat diabetes.

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba is used by herbalists to treat the side effects of diabetes, particularly by increasing blood flow to the limbs and the eyes. Because of Ginkgo's effect on blood vessels, it is used to prevent diabetic retinopathy. Research has also confirmed Ginkgo's effect on depression in diabetes and non-diabetes sufferers. The active ingredient is called ginkgo flavoglycoside, and the daily dosage is 0 to 80 mg three times a day to treat diabetes symptoms.

Diabetes symptoms can be treated with herbs, as has been shown since ancient times and by modern research. Using plants as integrative medicine, diabetics can enjoy the symptom-reducing effects of botanical medicine.

Photo Gallery of Bilberry Plants, Bushes and fruits