The Earthwise Herbal, A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants
By Matthew Wood
“The flavonoids in Bilberry Berries decrease the fragility and permeability of the capillaries, reducing hemorrhage and increasing blood flow into the periphery and decreasing platelet aggregation. At the same time the tannins improve tone on the venous side of the circulation. This can reduce tendencies to atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and stroke. These properties produce a net “cooling” effect. The blood moves more freely and there is less congestion and heat.
“High levels of sugar make Bilberry Berries nutritive or “moistening,” but this is moderated by the “drying” effect of the tannins. The anthocyanidin myrtillin helps to reduce blood sugar levels even though the berries are so sweet. This is an effect we find in many wild berries and natural sugar sources – they do not have the hyperglycemic effect of refined sugars.
“Some of the anthocyanosides have an affinity to the retina, where they increase production of rhodopsin (visual purple). This helps the eyesight adapt to darkness and glare. Others prevent the destruction of the collagen forming the architectural framework for the structures of the eye. The antidiabetic properties protect against diabetic retinopathy. Even the tannins are constructive in some cases of cataract. Glaucoma, which is a sort of “high blood pressure of the eyes,” may respond to the increased capillary and venous blood flow due to the flavonoids and tannins.
“SPECIFIC INDICATIONS: Cerebral ischemia; stroke; visual fatigue, myopia, retinal damage, retinitis, macular degeneration, night blindness, glaucoma, cataract, diabetic retinopathy; atherosclerosis; ulceration of the mouth and gums, inflammation of the throat and pharynx, gastroenteritis, Crohn’s Disease, colitis, ulceration of the GI, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, diarrhea, dysentery, Diverticulosis, hemorrhoids, varicose veins; urinary tract infections, edema; excessive menstrual bleeding; Raynaud’s Disease.”
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