Bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) are known by a very wide range of local names which include blaeberry, whortleberry, whinberry, myrtle blueberry and fraughan. The fruit is smaller than that of the blueberry and similar in taste. Bilberries are darker in color, and usually appear near black with a slight shade of blue.
Bilberries are extremely difficult to grow and are thus seldom cultivated. Fruits are mostly collected from wild plants growing on publicly accessible lands, notably Finland , Sweden , Norway, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, parts of England and northern parts of Russia.
As a deep blue fruit, bilberries contain high levels of anthocyanin pigments, which have been linked experimentally to lowered risk for several diseases, such as those of the heart and cardiovascular system, eyes and cancer (1,2,3).
Bilberries are mentioned in a popular story of World War II RAF pilots who consumed bilberry jam to sharpen vision for night missions. It is believed that by stimulating visual purple, bilberry improves vision, especially night vision.
Laboratory studies have provided evidence that bilberry consumption may inhibit or even reverse eye disorders such as macular degeneration (4).
Also known to be anti-inflammatory, have the ability to strengthen blood vessels, act as a vein tonic and contain Vitamin A. Bilberries’ is the perfect ingredient in an eye cream. Strengthening blood vessels and toning veins helps reduce dark circles and puffiness. Anti-inflammatory action helps reduce redness of the eyes and Vitamin A helps the skin cells stay healthy. Because of the thin skin of the eyelid, applying an eye cream containing bilberry to this area ensures it is easily absorbed and effective.
1. ^ Bell DR, Gochenaur K (April 2006). “Direct vasoactive and vasoprotective properties of anthocyanin-rich extracts”. Journal of Applied Physiology 100 (4): 1164–70. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00626.2005. PMID 16339348.
2. ^ Chung HK, Choi SM, Ahn BO, Kwak HH, Kim JH, Kim WB (2005). “Efficacy of troxerutin on streptozotocin-induced rat model in the early stage of diabetic retinopathy”. Arzneimittel-Forschung 55 (10): 573–80. PMID 16294503.
3. ^ Roy S, Khanna S, Alessio HM, et al. (September 2002). “Anti-angiogenic property of edible berries”. Free Radical Research 36 (9): 1023–31. PMID 12448828.
4. ^ Fursova AZh, Gesarevich OG, Gonchar AM, Trofimova NA, Kolosova NG (2005). “[Dietary supplementation with bilberry extract prevents macular degeneration and cataracts in senesce-accelerated OXYS rats]” (in Russian). Advances in Gerontology 16: 76–9. PMID 16075680.
5. ^ Zafra-Stone S, Yasmin T, Bagchi M, Chatterjee A, Vinson JA, Bagchi D (June 2007). “Berry anthocyanins as novel antioxidants in human health and disease prevention”. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 51 (6): 675–83. doi:10.1002/mnfr.200700002. PMID 17533652.