Benefits you can obtain using Bilberry Extracts
If you have heard of the berry family that chiefly consists of blueberry, huckleberry and cranberry, then you have not missed out on the low-growing perennial shrub called bilberry. Or better still, wineberry hurts, trackleberry, dyeberry, bleaberry, winberry, black whortles, black hearttys (remmebr Thomas Hardy’s ‘Return of the Native’?). This plant, which is basically a variety of Northern Asia, Europe and Western North America is a wonderful species known for jams and pies. Now that the supplements of its extracts are in vogue, most people with certain illnesses like age-related macular issues, retinal damages, atherosclerosis and other intestinal problems can recover with it.
Extracts though appear in veracious forms, but the original deciduous shrub has pinkish blossoms, which are very tiny and the leaves are bright green in color with an oval shape and pointed edges. The fruits are the dark purple berries, found during summer months and can be availed in either the fresh produces or dried.
The Nutritional Value
One will marvel knowing how this little berry stores endless number of nutrients. From Vitamin A, C (ascorbic acid), B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), E (alpha-tocopherol) and K (phylloquinone) to mineral like copper, manganese, zinc, iron and chromium, bilberry contains it all. Even alkaloids, phenolic substances like anthocyanins, tannins, pectin, catchechins and carbolic acids are replete in it.
The Varied Uses
Thankfully, bilberry extracts can be made of the plant leaves, ripe fruits or dried completely to provide herbal supplements.
The following are some general uses that bilberry extracts are known for:
- Preventing blood clots
Thanks to the presence of anthocyanosides that reduces the oxidation of bad cholesterol, better known as ‘low-density lipoprotein’. This leads to the plaque accumulation in blood vessels or atherosclerosis, ultimately bringing about heart attacks and strokes. Besides, such chemicals prevent the platelets to clump together and that lowers down blood clot formation.
Right from the ancient times to the present scientific studies, bilberry extracts and the efficacy in preventing and curing diabetes is established. Basically, the blood sugar level gets regulated to lead to the concentration of anthocyanins. For those with Type 2 diabetes, the extracts improve hyperglycemia and sensitivity to insulin.
- Maintaining eye health
Going by scientific studies, bilberry extracts can control old age eye problems, alongside cataract, night-blindness and so on. There are powerful substances that better the overall vision and also cause homeostasis of corneal limbal epithelial cells. Also, there’s the ‘enzyme-stimulating activity’ to safeguard the eyes from endotoxin induced uvenitis. The extracts regulate the rhodopsin pigment production for helping the eye to adapt to the changes in light.
- Promotion of cardiovascular health
The rich content of anthocyanins is a plus factor in improving both the LDL and HDL cholesterol levels of the human body. Taking into account the recently conducted studies, the fruit indeed brings a positive impact on the vascular health and blood pressure, so that the muscle contraction is a smooth process. In fact, another study has delved further into the ‘anti-ischemic’ and ‘anti-arrhythmic’ activity of the plant, wherein the coronary flow is stimulated and heart functions are normal. This way, chances of developing cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis are also reduced.
- No kidney damage
The bilberry extracts normalize the levels of nitric oxide, creatinine, serum blood urea nitrogen and many other such critical substances. This inhibitory role of the antioxidant improves the absorption capacity of oxygen radicals present inside kidney tissues to lessen down further oxidative damages.
- Cure to digestive ailments
Think of diarrhea, nausea, indigestion and gastro related problems and you will have a ready solution to all these via the use of bilberry extracts. The therapeutic effect of the plant comes from tannins and pectin, both of which heals any inflammation inside the stomach or mucous membranes insides the throat or mouth ulcers.
- Anti-microbial power
There are phenolic components present in bilberry extracts, which renders great protection against human pathogens like- bacillus, staphylococcus aureus, salmonella, clostridium and many more. Even the findings support its ability to fight against ‘antibiotic resistant’ organisms.
Apart from keeping a tab on the use of anti-platelet or anticoagulant drugs, the use of bilberry extracts can never pose detrimental to anyone. For safety, checking the concentration and assessing side effects become mandatory.