Natural Health Products
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Bilberry is a fruit related to the blueberry and is sometimes called the European blueberry.
How is this product usually used?
The bilberry fruit is eaten or made into extracts or capsules for consumption.
Also, dried bilberry fruits can be boiled in water and then diluted to create a gargle solution.
Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.
What is this product used for?
Bilberry has traditionally been used to treat conditions such as diarrhea and scurvy.
The fruit has also been used to treat a wide range of conditions including eye problems and circulatory problems such as venous insufficiency (a condition in which the veins do not efficiently return blood from the legs to the heart).
Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.
What else should I be aware of?
There is a lack of evidence to indicate that bilberry fruit or leaves have an effect on any health condition.
When taken by mouth, bilberry fruit may cause darker stools, gas, and upset stomach.
Bilberry fruit can interact with some medications. It can increase the levels of blood-thinning medications or anticoagulants (e.g., clopidogrel, aspirin) and increase the risk of bleeding or bruising.
It can also cause blood sugar levels to decrease and lead to low blood sugar episodes, particularly if diabetes medications (e.g., metformin) are also being taken. It can decrease the levels of certain medications that are broken down in the liver. It may also affect the efficacy of certain cancer treatments (e.g., erlotinib). If you are taking any of these medications or herbal products, talk to your health care provider before using bilberry fruit.
Bilberry fruit is generally thought to be safe when consumed in amounts typically found in foods, or at recommended doses for up to 1 year.
Prolonged use or high doses of the leaf can cause toxic side effects and should be avoided. You should stop taking bilberry fruit if your symptoms worsen.
Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Herbs at a Glance. Bilberry. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/bilberry
- Health Canada. Drugs & Health Products. Monograph – Bilberry Oral. https://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=bilberry.myrtille.oral&lang=eng
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