Bilberry - Vaccinium 101
Bilberry (Vaccinium uliginosum) Frequently Asked Questions
Vaccinium uliginosum (Bilberry) herbal extract is a rich natural source of anthocyanins. It may improve memory and lower the risk of cognitive decline.
To learn more, check out these resources and scroll down to find answers to common questions.
Do you sell Bilberry (Vaccinium uliginosum)?
We sell Vaccinium in a 100 gram size (50 servings) as SAVVY! Brain Health Support. We also sell Vaccinium in larger 200 gram to 1,000 gram sizes. In addition, Vaccinium is one of five nootropic extracts in our BrainStorm Nootropic Brain Health Kits. You can check out these options by visiting our online store.
What are the health benefits of Bilberry?
Bilberry is a powerful nootropic, an adaptogen, and an antioxidant. It’s highly valued for its healing and rejuvenating powers, and it’s used to support treatment for a variety of chronic diseases and everyday ailments.
Bilberry health benefits include antioxidant, genoprotective, antitumorigenic, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic, and antimicrobial effects. It promotes a healthy heart, healthy eyes, healthy skin, healthy muscles, and brain health. Among many other uses, it is recognized as a possible tool to combat chronic and infectious diseases in aging populations.
Bilberry is valued for its healing and rejuvenating powers. Some people call it the brain berry because of the support it provides for brain health. Therapeutic uses include strengthening and nourishing the joint tissues. It is also used to support the proper function of the colon, lungs, liver, and spleen. Vaccinium offers a broad spectrum of support, which is why we believe it’s a valuable health supplement.
What are other health benefits of Bilberry?
Chapter 4 of Herbal Medicine says: “Bilberry … is one of the richest natural sources of anthocyanins. These polyphenolic components give bilberry its blue/black color and high antioxidant content, and they are believed to be the key bioactives responsible for the many reported health benefits of bilberry and other berry fruits.
“Although bilberry is promoted most commonly for improving vision, it has been reported to lower blood glucose, to have anti-inflammatory and lipid-lowering effects, and to promote antioxidant defense and lower oxidative stress. … [B]ilberry is of potential value in the treatment or prevention of conditions associated with inflammation, dyslipidemia, hyperglycemia or increased oxidative stress, cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, diabetes, and dementia and other age-related diseases.”
Bilberry interacts with the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, nervous, renal, and integumentary body systems. Today, it’s generally recognized that it supports a whole healthy lifestyle approach and offers a wide range of health-related properties, including antioxidant, anti-tumorigenic, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic, and antimicrobial effects.
Is it a nootropic? Can it help with aging, memory, and cognition?
Vaccinium (Bilberry) is a nootropic supplement. Clinical studies suggest it can improve memory, and it is believed to help with age-related cognitive issues. In fact, it may reverse the cognitive decline some of us experience with aging.
It is commonly used as a rejuvenator of the mind and a meditation support to increase clarity of thought. It’s also frequently used to support the treatment of cognitive deficits and to improve learning and memory. Studies have found that the addition of bilberry to the diet improved short-term memory, navigational skills, balance, and coordination. Compounds in bilberries seem to jumpstart the brain in ways that can get aging neurons to communicate again.
Vaccinium is also one of five nootropics extracts in our BrainStorm Nootropic Brain Health Kits.
Can it help relieve stress?
It helps maintain the balance of the central nervous system when you’re under stress. Some evidence suggests that the extract protects the brain from the effects of stress.
What are its antimicrobial properties?
Vaccinium uliginosum has shown antimicrobial properties against Fusobacterium nucleatum and Streptococcus mutans. This antibacterial activity is attributed to flavonoid glycosides and anthocyanins. With the increasing antibiotic resistance concerns, the herb could serve as a great alternative for bacterial infections.
Does it support anticancer activity?
Components of the hexane/chloroform fraction of Vaccinium uliginosum exhibit potential anti-carcinogenic activity. In addition, it may lower the risk of oxidative stress-related disease.
Can it lower insulin resistance?
It may lower insulin resistance. It may also lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and help to better control type 2 diabetes.
Polyphenols have exhibited anti-diabetic activities against diabetic-causing enzymes. They can inhibit enzymes such as glucohydrolase enzymes, α- amylase, β-glucosidase, and α-glucosidase. Anthocyanins may also reduce glycosuria, glycated hemoglobin, and blood glucose, as well as increase the secretion of insulin and lower the rate of sugar absorption in the small intestines.
Can it support healthy vision and sensory input?
Studies suggest it can help preserve healthy vision. It helps prevent diabetic retinopathy, which is disease of the retina that results in impairment or loss of vision. It is widely used to improve night vision and decrease vascular permeability and capillary fragility. Vaccinium extract may be able to protect against blue light damage and eye strain resulting from computer and tablet use.
A 2019 study published in Molecular Vision highlights the possibility that Vaccinium uliginosum (Bilberry, Bog Blueberry) may show a preventive effect against cataract formation. These results suggest that Vaccinium uliginosum may exert a therapeutic effect on age-related cataract.
Vaccinium uliginosum contains glycosides, anthocyanins, organic acids, and polyphenols. Flavonoids and anthocyanins in berry crops have long been investigated for their ocular benefits, such as retinal cell protection, neuroprotection, night vision, and visual pigment function, berry crops (including bog bilberry). Vaccinium uliginosum is commonly consumed to support vision as an eye health supplement.
How about inflammation?
It may lower the risk of inflammation-related disease.
Can it lower blood pressure?
It may help lower blood pressure, improve lipids, and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
What digestive support does it provide?
It may promote healthy digestion. It has been used as an antidiarrhoeal. The effectiveness of Bilberry extract against enteric viruses may be the source for its traditional use to help stop diarrhea. It is regarded in traditional systems as being useful for constipation, irritable bowel system, flatulence, ulcers, vomiting, intermittent fever, kidney stones, and hemorrhoids. It maintains regular elimination, helping to clear accumulated toxins in the gut.
Does it support heart health and circulation?
It is often used as a heart tonic. This traditional use has been supported by a number of studies. Benefits from the anthocyanin and polyphenol antioxidants in blueberries are seen in healthy subjects and in those with existing metabolic risk factors. Underlying mechanisms for these beneficial effects are believed to include upregulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase, decreased activities of carbohydrate digestive enzymes, decreased oxidative stress, and inhibition of inflammatory gene expression and foam cell formation.
What are its skin health benefits?
Vaccinium has the potential to alleviate immune system-related skin disorders and the ability to protect the skin against UV light photoaging.
What are the plant’s traditional uses?
Bilberry has long been a staple in the medical traditions of the Inuit and other first nations tribes of North America. The berry is also ethnomedically important to the people of the Caucus mountains.
The Cree and other Native American nations consumed blueberry to improve night vision. Other traditional uses include drinking a tea from the leaves as an antidiarrhoeal, drinking the juice as a heart tonic, and consuming the berries to enhance endurance. Modern research supports these traditional uses.
How did you choose your Bilberry supplier?
For each of the products we sell, company owner Michael Van der Linden and members of our team do substantial research, visit the source, and meet with the collectors and processors personally. We back up our faith in our source and our processors with testing.
What does the plant look like?
Vaccinium is the Latin word for “blueberry” or “whortleberry.” Uliginosum means “full of moisture” or “marshy.” Bilberry is a perennial plant of the heather family (Ericaceae). It is closely related to the blueberry, cranberry, and huckleberry. The plant has many green, triangular, erect stems and flat, jagged, oval leaves. The urn-shaped flowers are pale pink or reddish in color.
The herb is native to naturally cool temperate areas such as the Northern Hemisphere, the Alps, Europe, Japan, Northern China, and Mongolia. It grows well on acidic soils and grows up to between 10 and 75 cm tall.
How do I consume Bilberry extract?
You can mix 1/2 teaspoon with 1 teaspoon honey, add the mixture to warm water, and drink it as a tea.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of extract to 8 oz of cool water, a cup of juice, a brain health smoothie, a concentration smoothie, or a stress relief smoothie. Stir until dissolved. Drink 1-3 servings a day.
Our team also developed a simple and healthy memory boost smoothie recipe to support nootropic brain health — particularly improved memory. These smoothies are blended drinks of fresh fruits, dark leafy greens, supplements, and Vaccinium extract that can help you improve your memory while also energizing you and transforming your body from the inside out. Best of all — they taste great!
Does Bilberry have caffeine?
What flavonoids, anthocyanins, and polyphenols does it include?
Great question! First, let’s break it down. Flavonoids are plant metabolites thought to provide health benefits through cell signalling pathways and antioxidant effects. Anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid — a class of compounds with antioxidant effects. Polyphenols are micronutrients packed with antioxidants and potential health benefits. It’s thought that polyphenols can improve digestion issues, weight management difficulties, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, and cardiovascular diseases.
Bilberry flavonoids include flavone (luteolin), flavonols (rutin, myricetin, Myricetin-3-O-galactoside, quercetrin, laricitrin, syringetin,kaempferol, isorhamnetin and quercetin, and quertectin-3-O-galactoside), and flavanols (gallocatechin, epigallocatechin, catechin, and catechin gallate).
Its anthocyanins include anthocyanidins (malvidin-3-galactoside, malvidin-3-glucoside, and cyanidin, delphinidin, petunidin, peonidin, and arabinose).
Its polyphenols include pterostilbene, resveratrol, ellagic acid, phlorizin, naringin and kaempferol.
What if I have more questions about Bilberry?
You can read more scientific studies by visiting the National Center for Biotechnology Information website. Also feel free to reach out!