Bilberry Fruit – Do you know what it is?
The bilberry fruit has been defined as a fruit growing on low laying perennial bushes that is small and blue. It has commonly been confused with the European blue berry especially since they resemble one another and even taste almost the same. The main difference between them is unlike the blueberry which grows in a bunch on one branch, the bilberry produces single fruits. They are also much softer than blueberries.
The bilberry fruit is a wild fruit that can be found growing in many parts of the world that have damp acidic soil. The most common places to find bilberries are Poland, Wales, Ireland and Russia. Much as it may be a wild fruit, the bilberry fruit has a lot of nutritional and medicinal value.
Bilberries have for a very long time been used for their nutritional and mainly medicinal value. They have been found useful as a whole fruit and for its extracts. For instance, as a fruit, a bilberry contains flavanoids which help in preventing long term ailments such as cancer, heart disease and an eye disorder known as macular degeneration which can cause blindness. Bilberries contain tannins which, when put in tea, act as an anti inflammatory preventing inflammations and helping to treat acute diarrhea and as an astringent thus helping in quick healing of wounds.
Aging people will find bilberries very useful since they contain anthocyanidins which act as anti-aging tools and improve one’s ability to adjust to light variations both at night and during the day. Bilberries also help in strengthening connective tissue and preventing free radical damage thus preventing diseases like glaucoma. For people suffering from diabetes, bilberries can help in two ways. One, they help in lowering the patient’s blood sugar thus preventing worsening of the illness. They also have a long term effect in helping to preserve the patient’s circulatory system.
The other medicinal value of the bilberry fruit is its effect on rheumatoid arthritis. Here, the bilberry helps in reducing inflammation, as aforementioned and also reduces connective tissue pain. Thus, rheumatoid arthritic patients find great relief with the regular intake of bilberries or their nutritional supplements. Bilberries can also be given to women before, during and after pregnancy to provide its nutritional value to the unborn and growing baby and help the mother in healing after birth wounds.
Like every other medicine, bilberries also have their downsides when not taken in the right way. The leaves and extracts of bilberries should not be taken in large amounts and over a long period of time because the tannins contained could cause muscle spasms, severe weight loss or even death. Also, because the bilberry fruit is an anticoagulant and therefore a blood thinner, it should not be taken with a number of over the counter drugs and therefore patients are advised to always check with their doctors before combining it with any other drug.
With the above, it is clear that bilberries are more than just fruits. They can even be termed as herbs because of their medicinal value.
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