Vaccinium health benefits: Vaccinium is valued for its healing powers and may help combat age-related chronic diseases.
Vaccinium uliginosum (Bog Blueberry, Bilberry, Alpine Blueberry) is an extraordinary plant, which is why we’ve written a lot about Vaccinium health benefits. Vaccinium is native to northern Europe and also grown in western Asia and parts of North America, including Alaska. It’s a powerful nootropic, an adaptogen, and an antioxidant.
Vaccinium is highly valued for its healing and rejuvenating powers. Vaccinium health benefits include antioxidant effects, genoprotective and anti-cancer effects, cardioprotective effects, anti-inflammatory effects, hypoglycemic effects, ocular effects, neuroprotective effects, and antimicrobial effects. Among many other uses, it is recognized as a possible tool to combat chronic and infectious diseases in aging populations.
Scientific Research on Vaccinium
Here’s what Chapter 4 of Herbal Medicine has to say about Vaccinium uliginosum: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects has to say about Vaccinium health benefits: “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. Therefore, bilberry 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. There are also reports that bilberry has antimicrobial activity.”
(You can read more from the book here.)
In sum, Vaccinium uliginosum is regularly used to treat a variety of chronic diseases and everyday ailments. However, it’s not recognized as a drug nor a medical treatment by the FDA in the United States.
To be clear, we’re not suggesting that Vaccinium can be used as a treatment for a specific disease. Instead, we will focus on the ways in which Vaccinium offers a broad spectrum of support, which is why we believe it’s a valuable health supplement. The goal is to provide some understanding of the multiple body systems with which Vaccinium interacts, along with an overall description of Vaccinium health benefits.
Vaccinium uliginosum: The Brain Berry
Vaccinium is often called the Brain Berry. Below, we’ll review Vaccinium health benefits and some of Vaccinium’s more common therapeutic uses.
Overall Vaccinium Health Benefits: Vaccinium is believed to lower obesity. It is also believed to better detoxity xenobiotics, which leads to better control of cell growth and lowers the risk of cancer. In addition, it lowers the risk of oxidative stress-related disease.
Insulin Resistance: Vaccinium lowers insulin resistance. It also lowers the risk of and better controls type 2 diabetes.
Aging, Memory, and Cognition: Vaccinium has shown clinical implications that it improves 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.
Vision and Sensory Input: Vaccinium helps prevent diabetic retinopathy (disease of the retina that results in impairment or loss of vision) and preserves healthy 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.
Inflammation: Vaccinium lowers the risk of inflammation-related disease.
Blood Pressure: Vaccinium lowers blood pressure, improves lipids, and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Digestive and Intestinal Issues: One main traditional use of Vaccinium is to promote healthy digestion and address digestive disorders. Vaccinium tea has been used as an antidiarrhoeal. The effectiveness of Vaccinium uliginosum extract against enteric viruses may be the source for its traditional use to stop diarrhea. Vaccinium 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.
Heart Health and Circulation: Vaccinium is 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.
Healthy Brain Function: Vaccinium 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. Animal studies have found that the addition of blueberries to the diet improved short-term memory, navigational skills, balance, and coordination. Compounds in blueberries seem to jumpstart the brain in ways that get aging neurons to communicate again.
Healing Powers: Vaccinium is valued for its healing and rejuvenating powers. 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.
Skin Health: Vaccinium has the potential to alleviate immune system-related skin disorders and the ability to protect the skin against UV light photoaging.
Stress: Vaccinium helps maintain the balance of the central nervous system when you’re under stress. Vaccinium does not appear to reduce stress nor decrease cortisol; however, some evidence suggests that the extract protects the brain from the effects of stress.
Vaccinium Health Benefits
This long list of Vaccinium health benefits indicates that Vaccinium uliginosum interacts with the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, nervous, renal, and integumentary body systems. Today, it’s generally recognized that Vaccinium supports a whole healthy lifestyle approach and offers a wide range of health-related properties, including antioxidant, antitumorigenic, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic, and antimicrobial effects. Vaccinium promotes a healthy heart, healthy eyes, healthy skin, healthy muscles, and good brain health.
There is good reason to believe that a lifestyle-related approach to optimal health will benefit from support with Vaccinium uliginosum as a health supplement.