an herbal product - treats Atherosclerosis, Diabetes mellitus, Painful menstruation, Diarrhea, Cataracts, Glaucoma, Retinopathy, Fibrocystic breast disease, Night vision, Chronic venous insufficiency, and Stomach ulcers
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
People with allergies to plants in the Ericaceae family or to anthocyanosides may have reactions to bilberry. However, there is a lack of reliable published cases of serious allergic reactions to bilberry.
Side Effects and Warnings
Bilberry is generally believed to be safe in recommended doses for short periods of time, based on its history as a foodstuff. There is a lack of known reports of serious toxicity or side effects, although if taken in large doses, there is an increased risk of bleeding, upset stomach, or hydroquinone poisoning.
Based on human use, bilberry fresh fruit may cause diarrhea or have a laxative effect. Based on animal studies, bilberry may cause low blood sugar levels. Caution is therefore advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Serum glucose levels may need to be monitored by a healthcare provider and medication adjustments may be necessary.
In theory, bilberry may decrease blood pressure, based on laboratory studies.
With the use of bilberry leaf extract, there is a theoretical increased bleeding risk, although there are no reliable published human reports of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders, taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding, or prior to some surgeries and dental procedures.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
There is not enough scientific evidence to recommend the safe use of bilberry in pregnancy or breastfeeding, although eating bilberry fruit is believed to be safe based on its history of use as a foodstuff. One study used bilberry extract to treat pregnancy- induced leg swelling (edema), and no adverse effects were reported.