Bilberry/Huckleberry (Vaccinium spp.)
Reference: Bertuglia S, Malandrino S, Colantuoni A. Effect of Vaccinium myrtillus anthocyanoside on ischaemia reperfusion injury in hamster cheek pouch microcirculation. Pharmacol Res 1995; 31(314):183-87.
Reference: Francesca Rasetti M, Caruso D, Galli G, Bosisio E. Extracts of Ginkgo biloba L. leaves and Vaccinium myrtillus L. fruits prevent photo induced oxidation of low density lipoprotein cholesterol. Phytomed 1996/7; 3:335-8.
NATURAL MEDICINE CHEST: Eyeing the Bilberry
Let's discuss the bilberry, Vaccinium myrtillus, and its medicinal effects on the visual and cardiovascular systems.
The bilberry, a close relative of the blueberry, cranberry, and huckleberry is a member of the Vaccinium plant family. When British pilots in the Royal Air Force during World War II began consuming bilberry jam for several weeks prior to night missions in order to improve their night vision, doctors and scientists began to wonder if there was any basis of fact in this peculiar dietary ritual.
Vaccinium species are found in cooler areas of North America and Eurasia, usually in moist, acid soils in wooded areas, heaths and barren places. They are especially common under canopies of old growth trees. Vaccinium leaves were used by the Kashaya Pomo in Northern California for diabetes and eye disorders, and bilberry is mentioned in many older texts in Buryatia, Europe, and China as an herb valuable for it's powerful ability to correct many diseases of the digestive system, circulatory system, and eyes.
Treatment of fibrocystic disease of the breast with myrtillus anthocyanins
Minerva Ginecol 1993 Dec;45(12):617-21