It is an incorrect assumption to think that bilberry and blueberry are the same species. The blueberry is definitely not a cultivated version of the blueberry, as some people proclaim. Therefore, do not make the mistake of drying leaves from the common berry bush instead of the bilberry bush. We all know that blueberries are very healthy. But not everyone is aware of the fact that the leaf of the blueberry also contains medicinal properties. You can dry it perfectly to make a tea. The leaf has been researched by scientists and, based on these studies, is used by herbalists for, among other things, adult-onset diabetes, circulation problems, urinary tract infections and diarrhea. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.
Botanical drawing bilberry / Source: Amédée Masclef, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)
- Internal and external use
- Tea from dried bilberry leaves
- Active substances from bilberry leaves
- Bilberry leaf for adult-onset diabetes
- Blueberry leaf against diarrhea
- Blueberry leaf for the blood vessels
- Blueberry leaf for urinary tract
- External use bilberry leaf
- Consult a herbal therapist
Internal and external use
The blueberry is a delicious fruit that you can enjoy as a snack or add to a dessert. The leaf is hardly inferior to the fruit in terms of medicinal effectiveness. The bilberry leaf is a remedy that can be used both internally and externally for many diseases. There are a large number of active substances in bilberry leaves. By the way, the external applications of blueberry leaves are the same as those of the fruits.
Bilberry hangs on the bush. / Source: Thomas Mues, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-2.0)
Tea from dried bilberry leaves
The blueberry leaf is not eaten, but it can be made into tea. You can find it in a medicinal tea mix. You can also dry the leaf yourself and make tea from it or mix it with other leaves. This way you can make your own herbal tea. It is not recommended to use the fresh leaves. Fresh leaves release their nutrients into the water less quickly than dried leaves.
Active substances from bilberry leaves
Just like the fruit, the leaf contains many flavonoids, which are sometimes called vitamin P. It contains the flavanol glycosides rutin, avicularin, isoquercitrin and hyperoside. It also contains the monomeric flavanols catechin and epicatechin, the oligomeric flavanols OPCs and polymeric flavanols. The leaf contains much less anthocyanin glycosides than the berry. In addition, it contains various tanning agents, neomyrtilline, triterpene acids, glucoquinones, quinolizidine alkaloids, ‘sometimes’ arbutin, quinic acid, high manganese content and a lot of chromium.
Bilberry leaf for adult-onset diabetes
Myrtillin, neomyrtillin, chromium and glucaquinones together have the property of lowering blood sugar levels. This is why it is prescribed for adult-onset diabetes. The leaf is often included in an ‘anti-diabetes tea’ mix. This tea is drunk in addition to a diet aimed at preventing diabetes or a diet during adult-onset diabetes.
Blueberry leaf against diarrhea
Tannins in blueberry leaves have an astringent or astringent effect on the intestinal mucous membranes. This makes it a means to prevent diarrhea. Moreover, it is an anti-inflammatory herb, partly because it contains quercetin. It gives rest to the digestive organs. Herbalists can prescribe it for:
- Diarrhea, gastrointestinal mucosal inflammation,
- Stomach and intestinal cramps.
Blueberry leaf for the blood vessels
Just like the blueberry, the leaf has a positive, medicinal effect on the blood vessels. It strengthens the walls of the blood vessels and reduces permeability, allowing the blood to flow better. The collagen tissue of the blood vessel walls is strengthened and its resistance increased. In addition, it strengthens blood circulation in the microcirculation, a specific form of blood circulation in the small arteries. Flavonoids, anthocyanins and the high vitamin C content are together responsible for the medicinal effects on the blood vessels.
Blueberry leaf for urinary tract
Bilberry leaf acts as a disinfectant for the urinary tract because it contains flavonglycosides, arbutin and hydroquinone. By the way, the leaves of red forest and bearberry are slightly better for their disinfectant effect on the urinary tract. In addition, it is a mild diuretic and uric acid diuretic.
- Adjuvant for urinary tract infections,
- Kidney inflammation,
- Edema, increased uric acid level,
- Kidney grit, insufficient urine production.
External use bilberry leaf
The tannins provide an astringent effect and antiseptic quality. Together with quercetin, the tannins tackle inflammation on the skin and in the mouth. It is a wound healing agent. Due to these medicinal properties
Bilberry leaf / Source: BerndH, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)
blueberry leaves used for:
- Oral mucosal inflammation,
- Canker sores,
- Laryngeal inflammation with possibly hoarseness,
- Strep throat.
- Skin conditions, eczema, burns,
Consult a herbal therapist
Anyone who wants to use bilberry leaf as a medicinal remedy is recommended to consult a herbal therapist. Bilberry leaf extracts and medicines in the form of mother tinctures, powders, nebulisate, liquid extract, ointment, cream and capsules should only be used on the prescription of authorized persons. A herbal therapist can tell you more about this, as well as about any side effects and interactions with other medicines or herbs. There are also beneficial combinations with herbs. All medicinal effects of this medicinal herb mentioned in this article are based on scientific research and come from Geert Verhelst’s Large Handbook of Medicinal Plants, a standard work in the field of healing plants. The book is used in phytotherapy.
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