The bilberry, scientific name Vaccinium myrtillus, is a plant of the Ericaceae family. The bilberry was already known to Dioscorides, a greek physician of the first century AD, who used it as a remedy for dysentery. The bilberry fruits are rich in flavonoids, help to strengthen capillaries and to improve circulation resulting helpful to prevent and treat problems such as capillary fragility, chilblains, varicose veins and blood circulation problems also in people who are suffering from diabetes. But the properties of bilberries, rich in antioxidants against the damages caused by free radicals and the aging processes, do not stop here. The berries are rich in beta-carotene and are good for vision. During the second World War the British RAF pilots who consumed bilberry jam before night missions with their planes noticed an improvement of the night vision, this interested scientists very much and several studies have been carried out on this property of bilberries. Studies performed a few years ago seemed to demonstrate the ability of anthocyanins to accelerate the regeneration of retinal pigment, however a study performed in 2014 by a group of Canadian scientists and published on the journal Agricultural and Food Chemistry has reduced the role played by bilberries in the improvement of vision, in fact, among the people treated with bilberries, only a capacity to adapt quicker when exposed to bright light wad observed and, in any case, this benefit was detected in people with sight problems, people with a healthful vision did not detect any changes. Scientists have noted, however, that the anthocyanins contained in bilberries would be able to improve the health of vision in those with previous eye problems, and this is a great result. The bilberries have also anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties, in addition to this, these berries contain substances that prevent bacteria responsible for urinary infections to attack the walls of the bladder. These fruits, fresh or dried and used to prepare a herbal tea, are a remedy against diarrhea.
Fruits and juice
You can enjoy fresh bilberries in large quantities, as a snack or for breakfast together with the soy yogurt. Alternatively, you can drink the juice of these fruits, a glass before breakfast. Research has shown in fact that the antioxidants of bilberries are also preserved in juices, provided that there are no added sugars and that the juices are from a fresh juice and not concentrated. Even frozen bilberries preserve their properties, however, given the cases of contamination with hepatitis A some years ago, it is always better to use frozen fruit to make cakes or muffins, or consume them only after boiling in a little water for two minutes, a time that still preserves the nutrients. Exposure to heat in this case is important because hepatitis A virus is destroyed rapidly by the heat. Finally, you can use bilberry to prepare tasty jams, consider, however, that many beneficial substances are lost with prolonged cooking but some are still present and these always bring benefits, according to scientific studies.
In the case of intestinal infection or diarrhea bring to boil a liter of water, then remove it from heat and put to infuse 4 tablespoons of fresh berries for ten minutes, filter and drink two or three cups a day.