Bilberries are part of the Ericaceae family. Also known as Vaccinium myrtillus, European blueberry or whortleberry. Similar to blueberries and cranberries.
It is a repent indigenous bush, circumpolar boreal, moisture amfitolerant, very acidophilic, found in spaced mountain forests, clearings of the forest, juniper bushes, mountain and subalpine meadows, throughout the Carpathians, especially in moist shady slopes.
It is native to Europe and the British Isles. It has very thick roots, intertwined like a felt, generally lacking absorbing brushes. Highly branched stems, up to about 50 cm high. Geniculate, green stems, with sharp edges. Small alternate buds, oblate, cleaved to the stem.
The leaves are round-ovate to elliptic, acuminate and caducous. The pale pink flowers are solitary, bisexual, pendent with gamosepalous calyx; androceu of 10 stamens.
Bilberries (Vaccinium Myrtillus) chemical composition
Water (86%), sugars (7-13%), sucrose (1-2%), ash (0.45-0.50%), protein (0.8-1.2%), organic acids (about 1%) of which uric acid (about 0.9%), benzoic acid, tartaric acid, malic acid (0.05-0.15%), pectic substances (0.350-0.490%), tannins (0.300-0.430%), vitamin C (12-20 mg), vitamin A (280 IU), vitamin PP (0.2 mg), vitamin B1 and B2 (0.02 mg% each), vitamin E, potassium minerals (50mg%), calcium (10 mg%), phosphorus (8 mg%), sulfur (8 mg%), magnesium (6 mg%), chlorine (5 mg%), manganese (3 mg%), Iron (1 mg%).
The leaves and shoots contain thiamine, riboflavin, arbutin, quinine and palmitic acids; cerilic and myricyl alcohols.
The fruits are eaten fresh and canned. The energy value is 60 kcal per hundred grams, of which 90% is reabsorbed. They are used for marmalade, jam, jelly, sauce, syrup, juice or wine. Anthocyanosides extracted from the fruits are used in the pharmaceutical industry for drug preparation and have the function of protecting the walls of blood vessels.
What are the benefits of eating bilberries?
The leaves and fruits have therapeutic importance in human and veterinary medicine. The active principles from leaves have astringent, bacteriostatic and hypoglycemic role. Thus, they are recommended in treating diarrhea, diabetes, urinary tract infections, uremia, gout, rheumatism.
A new study suggests that they can help reduce risk factors that cause accumulation of fat in the abdominal area and thereby may decrease the chances of cardiovascular diseases and metabolic syndrome.
The active principles of leaves have diuretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrheal, anthelmintic, urinary antiseptic, intestinal antiseptic role, adjuvant in the basic treatment of diabetes; they also provide cardiovascular regulation, protection of blood vessel walls against radiation, regeneration of retinal purple and sensitization of photoreceptors.
Internally, they are recommended in cases of diarrhea, enterocolitis fermentation, necrotizing enterocolitis, diabetes, urinary infections, arthritis of the lower limbs, cerebral atherosclerosis and brain circulation disorders, hypertension, sequelae after heart attack, coronaritis, senescence vascular disorders, vascular diseases of diabetes.
It has been proven that they help cancer sufferers because they contain certain compounds such as pterostilbene (excellent remedy for colon and liver cancer) and ellagic acid which, in combination with anthocyanins and other antioxidants such as vitamin C and copper, can prevent or cure cancer.
Laboratory studies show that phenolic compounds of blueberries can inhibit cancer cell proliferation from the colon and can induce apoptosis (programmed cell death). It was also noticed a significant reduction (approximately 34%) of ovarian cancer risk in women who have a high intake of luteolin (which is found in citrus fruits).
Externally, this plant is used in cases of pharyngitis, stomatitis, oral thrush, muguet (mycosis), eczema, bleeding wounds. Tannins contained by blueberry have antidiarrheal properties and they agglutinate bacteria in microbial flora, stopping fermentation or putrefaction; also, they help coagulate bloody wounds and reduce secretion.
Flavonoids have important and various pharmacological properties. The pigments have anti-inflammatory action and provide protection against radiation. Due to its compounds, blueberry is considered the green insulin as it has a hypoglycemic action.
It can replace insulin or may be associated with it in critical cases. Astringent, antiseptic, fruit absorption are properties that make the blueberry a great adjuvant in the treatment of dyspeptics. Antianemic properties lead to the disappearance of vomiting, usually present in dyspeptic children.
The leaves (Myrtilli folium) are harvested manually from late July until early September. They must be dried in the shade, in a thin layer. Artificial drying is done at 35-40°C. The leaves are to be kept in linen bags.
The fruits (fructus Myrtilli) are harvested when they reach physiological maturity, in July-August. Artificial drying is done at 60-70°C and the fruits are kept in linen bags or paper bags.
1.Treatment of diarrhea, enteritis, enterocolitis, diabetes, urinary tract infections, uremia, gout, rheumatism: infusion of 1 teaspoon of chopped dry leaves or leaf powder and a cup (200 ml) of boiling water. Cover it for 20-30 minutes and decant. Drink 2-3 cups per day.
2.Treatment of enterocolitis, diabetes, urinary infections, hemorrhoids:
a)a cure in an amount of 300 – 500 g daily or 100 g dry fruits.
b)decoction of 1 teaspoon of dried blueberries and a cup of water. Boil over a slow fire for 5 minutes. Allow it to cool for 15 minutes. Drink 2 cups a day.
c)cold maceration from one teaspoon of dried blueberries and a cup of water. Leave it for 8 hours. Drink 2 cups a day.
3.Treatment of diarrhea:
a)tincture prepared from one cup of crushed blueberries and 4 cups of diluted alcohol. Keep it like this for 10 to 14 days in maceration state, while shaking the bottle 2 -3 times a day. Decant into dark bottles sealed with a cork. Drink a small glass before meals.
b) dried and powdered fruits, take a pinch every 2 hours.
4.Treatment of oxyuriasis:
a)infusion from 2 teaspoons of dried leaves and 100 ml of boiling water. Leave it covered for 20-30 minutes and then decant. Drink it warm, divided in 3 doses during a day.
b)maceration from 1 and a half teaspoons of crushed fruit and 400 ml of cold water. Leave it at room temperature for 8 hours. Drink throughout the day in three divided doses (morning, noon, evening).
5.Treatment of diabetes: infusion from 1 tablespoon of dried leaves and a cup of boiling water (250ml). Leave it covered for 20 minutes and then decant. Drink 2-3 cups a day for 40 days. Take a 14 days break and then repeat the treatment.
6.Treatment of presbyopia:
a) infusion from 1 teaspoon of leaves and a cup of boiling water (200ml). Leave it covered for 20 minutes and then decant. Drink 3 cups a day.
b) decoction from 1 teaspoon of crushed leaves and a cup of water (250 ml). Boil for 2-3 minutes. Leave it covered for 15 minutes. Drink it during the day.
1.Treatment of pharyngitis, stomatitis, oral thrush: infusion from 2 teaspoons of crushed dried fruits and a cup (200 ml) of boiling water. Leave it covered for 20 -30 minutes and then decant. Gargle several times a day and once before bedtime.
2.Treatment of eczema, bleeding wounds: decoction from 1 teaspoon of dried leaves and a cup of water (200 ml). Boil over a slow fire for 5 minutes. Allow it to cool 15-20 minutes and then decant. Apply cataplasms on the affected area, using a sterile bandage.
3.Treatment of hemorrhoids: internal treatment is completed with local wash or compress, using decoction from dried fruit or cold maceration.