Vaccinium therapeutic uses include improving memory, heart health, digestion, and vision. It’s often called the Brain Berry.
We’d like to introduce you to the Brain Berry, Vaccinium uliginosum, also known as bilberry and bog blueberry.
What Is Vaccinium uliginosum?
Call Vaccinium uliginosum the brain berry. Also known as alpine blueberry, its benefits for neurological health and vigor are so well established as to make daily consumption of the fruit a no-brainer for virtually everyone. Moreover, new studies continue to confirm blueberries’ remarkable health-promoting effects in other areas of the human body.
Studies have suggested strong health benefits for the heart and circulation, a protective role for muscles against the oxidative stress of exercise, the ability to reduce whole body insulin resistance, the ability to protect the skin against UV light photoaging, and the potential to alleviate immune system related skin disorders.
Vaccinium is the Latin word for “blueberry” or “whortleberry.” Uliginosum means “full of moisture” or “marshy.” Bog 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.
Bog blueberry sheds its leaves in autumn. It is the only species of the heather family that has green stems and branches and is capable of photosynthesis when the plant is without leaves. The plant’s berries are round and blue, a color that comes from a wax that covers the berries (and the leaves) and protects them from drying out.
Vaccinium uliginosum is found in western Asia, many parts of Europe, and the northern regions of North America. It grows wild in forests and meadows and on heath land and moors. At Linden Botanicals, we particularly like the Alaskan bilberry, as the cold winters stimulate the plant to produce more anthocyanins, which are a significant source of the antioxidant power of blueberries.
Vaccinium Traditional Uses
Bilberry and the closely related blueberry have long been staples 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.
Vaccinium Therapeutic Uses
The medicinal properties of Vaccinium uliginosum have been researched and analyzed in over a hundred scientific papers, including in vitro, animal, and human studies. Vaccinium therapeutic uses may include support for a healthy heart, healthy eyes, healthy skin, healthy muscles, and good brain health.
A new, preliminary study suggests that Vaccinium therapeutic uses might include a role in supporting recovery from spinal cord injury. Further, the ancient use for blueberry as a vision support has been borne out in two recent studies (one animal, one human) that look at how Vaccinium uliginosum extract can protect against blue light damage and eye strain resulting from computer and tablet use.
The effectiveness of Vaccinium uliginosum extract against enteric viruses maybe the source for its traditional use to stop diarrhea.
James Joseph, PhD, lead scientist in the Laboratory of Neuroscience at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts, published landmark research on blueberry as a dietary supplement. As he noted, “This is the first study that has shown that dietary supplementation with fruit and vegetable extracts that are high in phytonutrient antioxidants can actually reverse some of the aging-related neuronal/behavioral dysfunction.”
The radical idea for the time is that Vaccinium therapeutic uses include supplementing your diet with blueberry extract, which can help reverse the cognitive decline some of us experience with aging.
Smoothies to Improve Memory and Brain Health
The Linden Botanicals team developed a simple and healthy memory boost smoothie recipe to support nootropic brain health — particularly improved memory. Memory boost smoothies are blended drinks of fresh fruits, dark leafy greens, supplements, and Vaccinium extract that will help you improve your memory while also energizing you and transforming your body from the inside out. Best of all — they taste great!
The Brain Berry
Are you ready to try the brain berry? We hope so. But to be clear, we sell Vaccinium uliginosum, not because it may relieve any specific condition, but because we like that it supports the function of various body systems. In particular, its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuro-protective properties can help you optimize your health.