Whether you have the jam, the tarty fruit, or an extract of bilberries, these close relatives of blueberries are utterly delightful. However, along with the benefits, exist some potent side effects of the same. This article provides some information about the side effects of bilberry that can hamper the health if not tended to.
Bilberries or airelles, are hugely popular even today and are consumed in various forms all over the world. From being used in the making of pies, cakes, jams, and traditional English sweet dish of fruit fool, to being consumed as a fruit directly or in the juiced form, to being used in for its aroma in Bretagne krampouezhenn or crêpes and Italian and French spirit bases. Bilberry extracts are also used heavily for medicinal purposes nowadays. Juicier than blueberries, a bilberry is almost half of its cousin, when it comes to size. Their benefits are much proclaimed and celebrated. However, one must also know that they have some side effects as well, which can harm one in the long run, if ignored.
Scientifically called vaccinium myrtillus, bilberries should be consumed in moderation, given the fallouts associated with them. Many people use the tea made from dried bilberry foliage, as it has helpful curative qualities related to diabetes, gout, ulcers, and arthritis. However, the dosage of this is specifically 1 teaspoon (5 g) for a single cup, not more than once a day. This should not be played with, as bilberry leaves are believed to induce poisonous effects in the human body, when used for a prolonged period of time. The poisonous effects of bilberry leaves are resultant of the tannins, complex phenolic substances present in the same. It is due to these tannins that people undergo drastic weight loss, muscular contractions, and sometimes even death. So, use bilberry leaf extracts only for the duration of treatment and not more than that. People commonly use bilberry leaves to make the tea but fresh or dried berries can also be used.
Bilberry is also known for its anticoagulation properties, wherein, it prevents blood from clotting. So, one of the possible side effects could rear its head if an individual is on medicines to induce blood clots, given bleeding disorders, wherein, the blood already takes a long time to clot. The anthocyanosides present in bilberries are actually active ingredients, which are used in blood thinning medicines, for those with thicker blood variety and subsequent problematic circulation can actually interfere with the course of these medicines that induce blood clotting. Thus, bilberries are strictly not recommended for people with even minor hemophilic symptoms.
When excessive bilberry is consumed in combination with herbs, such as fenugreek, ginseng, and garlic, it could induce hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels in a person. So, naturally bilberries are not to be consumed by those people who are already on medication for hypoglycemia, as they would tamper with the way of the medicine, by actually working to negate the effects of the medication.
If using bilberry tincture, the stipulated dosage is 10-50 drops droplets of it, diluted in water and taken in three installments throughout the day. When taking bilberry extracts, capsules powered anything between 80-120 mg can be consumed twice on a daily basis by an adult. Only when consumed for blood thinning purposes, should this extract be taken in a dosage limited within 80-480 mg per day in 3 installments. Also, see to it that the anthocyanosides content does not exceed 25%. When not adhered to these measurements, the side effects can also range from not so serious effects, such as diarrhea, dry mouth, and eyes, to extreme allergic repercussions including itchy hives, respiratory constrictions, and inflammation of the lips, tongue, cheeks, or the face in its entirety.
Most importantly, not enough studies have been conducted in order to test bilberry effects on pregnant or breast-feeding women. So, ideally bilberry supplements like all other supplements should be avoided, as the gestation and the breast-feeding period are extremely vulnerable periods with erratic behavioral patterns. So, it is better to keep away from it.
In spite of these side effects, bilberries have a number of beneficial uses. Not only is it used in the treatment of gastrointestinal problems, atherosclerosis, varicose veins, urinary tract infections, and ulcers, it also has shown positive influences when it comes to reducing cardiovascular and cancer risks. Using bilberry for eyes is extremely helpful, when it comes to keeping cataract at bay. It magically enhances night vision. It also helps in reversing the condition of certain eye ailments, such as macular degeneration, retinopathy, nyctalopia, or night blindness, and senile cataracts. In the cases where no reversal has been observed, a certain harnessing effect of bilberry has surely been observed. Also, it cures diarrhea if one consumes a mixture of 5-10 g of bilberry, in the dried and crushed form, commingled with about 200 ml of water and then boiled for around 7-8 minutes. However, this concoction should not be consumed for more than 4 days as a rule.
So, evidently bilberry, also called whortleberry, blaeberry, whinberry, and huckleberry, has a lot of therapeutic effects on the human body, when administered in the right doses. Side effects of herbs exist but come into play only when the instructions are ignored. Furthermore, it is always advisable to consult a doctor before opting for it. Also, make it a point to check all the ingredients present in any bottled herbal mixture (anthocyanin pigment and tannin content in this case). Buy bilberry extracts from only trusted manufacturers, as numerous cases of harmful metal contaminants present in their supplements, are reported every year. If one does not follow these thumb rules, then the side effects are unlikely to plague him/her life at all.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.