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Herbs & Plants

Bilberry

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Botanical Name :Vaccinium myrtillus
Family: Vacciniaceae/Ericaceae
Genus: Vaccinium
Species: V. myrtillus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales
Synonyms:Whortleberry. Black Whortles. Whinberry. Trackleberry. Huckleberry. Hurts. Bleaberry. Hurtleberry. Airelle. Vaccinium Frondosum. Blueberries.
Common Names:  bilberry, European blueberry, whortleberry, huckleberry

Parts Used:The ripe fruit. The leaves.

Habitat: Vaccinium myrtillus  is native to   Europe, including Britain, from Iceland south and east to Spain, Macedonia, the Caucasus and N. Asia . It grows in heaths, moors and woods on acid soils to 1250 metres.

Description:

Vaccinium myrtillus is a deciduous Shrub. It  grows abundantly in the heathy and mountainous districts, a small branched shrub, with wiry angular branches, rarely over a foot high, bearing globular wax-like flowers and black berries, which are covered when quite ripe with a delicate grey bloom, hence its name in Scotland, ‘Blea-berry,’ from an old North Countryword, ‘blae,’ meaning livid or bluish. The name Bilberry (by some old writers ‘Bulberry’) is derived from the Danish ‘bollebar,’ meaning dark berry. There is a variety with white fruits.
The leathery leaves (in form somewhat like those of the myrtle, hence its specific name) are at first rosy, then yellowish-green, and in autumn turn red and are very ornamental. They have been utilized to adulterate tea.

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Bilberries flourish best on high grounds, being therefore more abundant in the north and west than in the south and east of England: they are absent from the low-lying Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, but on the Surrey hills, where they are called ‘Hurts,’ cover the ground for miles.

The fruit is globular, with a flat top, about the size of a black currant. When eaten raw, they have a slightly acid flavour. When cooked, however, with sugar, they make an excellent preserve. Gerard tells us that ‘the people of Cheshire do eate the black whortles in creame and milke as in these southern parts we eate strawberries.’ On the Continent, they are often employed for colouring wine.

Stewed with a little sugar and lemon peel in an open tart, Bilberries make a very enjoyable dish. Before the War, immense quantities of them were imported annually from Holland, Germany and Scandinavia. They were used mainly by pastrycooks and restaurant-keepers.

Species:
Bilberries include several closely related species of the Vaccinium genus, including:

*Vaccinium myrtillus L. (bilberry)
*Vaccinium uliginosum L. (bog bilberry, bog blueberry, bog whortleberry, bog huckleberry, northern bilberry, ground hurts)
*Vaccinium caespitosum Michx. (dwarf bilberry)
*Vaccinium deliciosum Piper (cascade bilberry)
*Vaccinium membranaceum (mountain bilberry, black mountain huckleberry, black huckleberry, twin-leaved huckleberry)
*Vaccinium ovalifolium (oval-leafed blueberry, oval-leaved bilberry, mountain blueberry, high-bush blueberry).

Edible Uses:
Owing to its rich juice, the Bilberry can be used with the least quantity of sugar in making jam: half a pound of sugar to the pound of berries is sufficient if the preserve is to be eaten soon. The minuteness of the seeds makes them more suitable for jam than currants.

Recipe for Bilberry Jam—
Put 3 lb. of clean, fresh fruit in a preserving pan with 1 1/2 lb. of sugar and about 1 cupful of water and bring to the boil. Then boil rapidly for 40 minutes. Apple juice made from windfalls and peelings, instead of the water, improves this jam. To make apple juice, cover the apples with water, stew down, and strain the juice through thick muslin. Blackberries may also be added to this mixture.

If the jam is to be kept long it must be bottled hot in screw-top jars, or, if tied down in the ordinary way, more sugar must be added.

Bilberry juice yields a clear, dark-blue or purple dye that has been much used in the dyeing of wool and the picking of berries for this purpose, as well as for food, constitutes a summer industry in the ‘Hurts’ districts. Owing to the shortage of the aniline dyestuffs formerly imported from Germany, Bilberries were eagerly bought up at high prices by dye manufacturers during the War, so that in 1917 and 1918 a large proportion of the Bilberry crop was not available for jam-making, as the dyers were scouring the country for the little blue-black berries.

Wild and cultivated harvesting:-
Bilberries are found in very acidic, nutrient-poor soils throughout the temperate and subarctic regions of the world. They are closely related to North American wild and cultivated blueberries and huckleberries in the genus Vaccinium. One characteristic of bilberries is that they produce single or paired berries on the bush instead of clusters, as the blueberry does.

The fruit is smaller than that of the blueberry but with a fuller taste. Bilberries are darker in colour, and usually appear near black with a slight shade of purple. While the blueberry’s fruit pulp is light green, the bilberry’s is red or purple, heavily staining the fingers and lips of consumers eating the raw fruit. The red juice is used by European dentists to show children how to brush their teeth correctly, as any improperly brushed areas will be heavily stained.

Bilberries are extremely difficult to grow and are thus seldom cultivated. Fruits are mostly collected from wild plants growing on publicly accessible lands, notably Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, parts of England, Alpine countries, Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine, Belarus, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and northern parts of Turkey and Russia. Note that in Austria, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, it is an everyman’s right to collect bilberries, irrespective of land ownership, with the exception of private gardens. Bilberries can be picked by a berry-picking rake like lingonberries, but are more susceptible to damage. Bilberries are softer and juicier than blueberries, making them difficult to transport. Because of these factors, the bilberry is only available fresh in gourmet stores, where they can cost up to 25 Euro per pound. Frozen bilberries however are available all year round in most of Europe.

In Finland, bilberries are collected from forests. They are eaten fresh or can be made in different jams, and dishes. The famous one is Mustikkapiirakka, bilberry pie

In Ireland, the fruit is known as fraughan, from the Irish fraochán, and is traditionally gathered on the last Sunday in July, known as Fraughan Sunday.

Bilberries were also collected at Lughnassadh in August, the first traditional harvest festival of the year, as celebrated by Gaelic people. The crop of bilberries was said to indicate how well the rest of the crops would fare in their harvests later in the year.

The fruits can be eaten fresh or made into jams, fools, juices or pies. In France and in Italy, they are used as a base for liqueurs and are a popular flavoring for sorbets and other desserts. In Brittany, they are often used as a flavoring for crêpes, and in the Vosges and the Massif Central bilberry tart (tarte aux myrtilles) is a traditional dessert.

Constituents:
Quinic acid is found in the leaves, and a little tannin. Triturated with water they yield a liquid which, filtered and assayed with sulphate of iron, becomes a beautiful green, first of all transparent, then giving a green precipitate.

The fruits contain sugar, etc. Bilberries contains approximately 0.5% by volume of the anthocyanosides, they also contain the vitamins B1 and C, pro-vitamin A, at least 7% by volume is composed of tannins, and assorted plant acids are also seen. The tonic effect of the anthocyanosides on the blood vessels is the beneficial to the human body.

Medicinal Uses:
Often associated with improvement of night vision, bilberries are mentioned in a popular story of World War II RAF pilots consuming bilberry jam to sharpen vision for night missions. However, a recent study by the U.S. Navy found no such effect and origins of the RAF story cannot be found.

Although the effect of bilberry on night vision is controversial, laboratory studies have provided preliminary evidence that bilberry consumption may inhibit or reverse eye disorders such as macular degeneration. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial on 50 patients suffering from senile cataract showed that a combination of bilberry extract and vitamin E administered for 4 months was able to stop lens opacity progress in 97% of the cataracts.

As a deep purple fruit, bilberries contain high levels of anthocyanin pigments, which have been linked experimentally to lowered risk for several diseases, such as those of the heart and cardiovascular system, eyes, diabetes and cancer.

In folk medicine, bilberry leaves were used to treat gastrointestinal ailments, applied topically, or made into infusions. Bilberries are also used as a tonic to prevent some infections and skin diseases.

•Historically, bilberry fruit was used to treat diarrhea, scurvy, and other conditions.

•Today, the fruit is used to treat diarrhea, menstrual cramps, eye problems, varicose veins, venous insufficiency (a condition in which the veins do not efficiently return blood from the legs to the heart), and other circulatory problems.

•Bilberry leaf is used for entirely different conditions, including diabetes.

The leaves can be used in the same way as those of UvaUrsi. The fruits are astringent, and are especially valuable in diarrhoea and dysentery, in the form of syrup. The ancients used them largely, and Dioscorides spoke highly of them. They are also used for discharges, and as antigalactagogues. A decoction of the leaves or bark of the root may be used as a local application to ulcers, and in ulceration of the mouth and throat.

The fruit is helpful in scurvy and urinary complaints, and when bruised with the roots and steeped in gin has diuretic properties valuable in dropsy and gravel. A tea made of the leaves is also a remedy for diabetes if taken for a prolonged period.
You may click to learn more about medical benefit of bilberries :

Other Uses …..Dye; Ink…….A green dye is obtained from the leaves and the fruit and is used to colour fabrics. A blue or black dye is obtained from the fruit. This can be used as an ink.
Known Hazards: High tannin content may cause digestive disorders – avoid prolonged use or high doses. Avoid in pregnancy. Avoid if on anticoagulant therapy (e.g. warfarin)

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_bilberry.htm
http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/bilber37.html
http://www.elements4health.com/bilberry-health-benefits.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Vaccinium+myrtillus

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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Blueberry

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Botanical Name:Vaccinium
Family:Ericaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales
Genus: Vaccinium
Section: Cyanococcus

Habitat:The genus Vaccinium has a circumpolar distribution with species in North America, Europe and Asia.

Many commercially sold species whose English common names include “blueberry” are currently classified in section Cyanococcus of the genus Vaccinium and come predominantly from North America. Several other plants of the genus Vaccinium also produce blue berries such as the predominantly European bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), which in many languages has a name that means “blueberry” in English.

Many North American native species of blueberries are now also commercially grown in the Southern Hemisphere in Australia, New Zealand and South American countries.

Description:
Blueberries are flowering plants of the genus Vaccinium with dark-blue, -purple or black berries. Species in the section Cyanococcus are the most common fruits sold as “blueberries” and are mainly native to North America.  They are usually erect but sometimes prostrate shrubs varying in size from 10 cm tall to 4 m tall. In commercial blueberry production, smaller species are known as “lowbush blueberries” (synonymous with “wild”), and the larger species as “highbush blueberries”. The leaves can be either deciduous or evergreen, ovate to lanceolate, and from 1–8 cm long and 0.5–3.5 cm broad. The flowers are bell-shaped, white, pale pink or red, sometimes tinged greenish.

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The fruit is a false berry 5–16 mm diameter with a flared crown at the end; they are pale greenish at first, then reddish-purple, and finally blue on ripening. They have a sweet taste when mature, with variable acidity. Blueberry bushes typically bear fruit from May through June though fruiting times are affected by local conditions such as altitude and latitude.

The Chippewa Indians used the flowers to treat psychosis. The fruit contains anthocyanosides. These chemical compounds are very powerful antioxidants that are very effective in the prevention of heart disease and cancer.

Species
Vaccinium angustifolium (Lowbush Blueberry)
Vaccinium boreale (Northern Blueberry)
Vaccinium caesariense (New Jersey Blueberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (Northern Highbush Blueberry)
Vaccinium darrowii (Southern Highbush Blueberry)
Vaccinium elliottii (Elliott Blueberry)
Vaccinium formosum (southern blueberry)
Vaccinium fuscatum (Black Highbush Blueberry; syn. V. atrococcum)
Vaccinium hirsutum (Hairy-fruited Blueberry)
Vaccinium myrtilloides (Canadian Blueberry)
Vaccinium pallidum (Dryland Blueberry)
Vaccinium simulatum (Upland Highbush Blueberry)
Vaccinium tenellum (Southern Blueberry)
Vaccinium virgatum (Rabbiteye Blueberry; syn. V. ashei)

Some other blue-fruited species of Vaccinium:

Vaccinium koreanum
Vaccinium myrsinites (Evergreen Blueberry)
Vaccinium myrtillus (Bilberry)

Cultivation:
Blueberries may be cultivated, or they may be picked from semi-wild or wild bushes. In North America, the most common cultivated species is V. corymbosum, the Northern highbush blueberry. Hybrids of this with other Vaccinium species adapted to southern U.S. climates are known collectively as Southern highbush blueberries.

Blueberry flowersSo-called “wild” (lowbush) blueberries, smaller than cultivated highbush ones, are prized for their intense color. The lowbush blueberry, V. angustifolium, is found from the Atlantic provinces westward to Quebec and southward to Michigan and West Virginia. In some areas, it produces natural blueberry barrens, where it is the dominant species covering large areas. Several First Nations communities in Ontario are involved in harvesting wild blueberries. Lowbush species are fire-tolerant and blueberry production often increases following a forest fire as the plants regenerate rapidly and benefit from removal of competing vegetation. Wild has been adopted as a marketing term for harvests of managed native stands of low-bush blueberries. The bushes are not planted or genetically manipulated, but they are pruned or burned over every two years, and pests are “managed”.

There are numerous highbush cultivars of blueberries, each of which have a unique and diverse flavor. The most important blueberry breeding program has been the USDA-ARS breeding program based at Beltsville, Maryland, and Chatsworth, New Jersey. This program began when Frederick Coville of the USDA-ARS collaborated with Elizabeth Coleman White of New Jersey. In the early part of the 20th Century, White offered wild pickers cash for large-fruited blueberry plants. Rubel, one such wild blueberry cultivar, is the origin of many of the current hybrid cultivars.

Rabbiteye Blueberry (V. virgatum, syn. V. ashei) is a southern type of blueberry produced from the Carolinas to the Gulf Coast states.

Other important species in North America include V. pallidum, the Hillside or Dryland Blueberry. It is native to the eastern U.S., and common in the Appalachians and the Piedmont of the Southeast. Sparkleberry, V. arboreum, is a common wild species on sandy soils in the southeastern U.S. Its fruits are important to wildlife, and the flowers important to beekeepers.

Uses:
Blueberries are sold fresh or processed as individually quick frozen (IQF) fruit, purée, juice, or dried or infused berries which in turn may be used in a variety of consumer goods such as jellies, jams, pies, muffins, snack foods, and cereals.

Blueberry jam is made from blueberries, sugar, water, and fruit pectin. Premium blueberry jam, usually made from wild blueberries, is common in Maine, Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia.

Nutrients and phytochemicals:
Blueberries have a diverse range of micronutrients, with notably high levels (relative to respective Dietary Reference Intakes) of the essential dietary mineral manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fiber (table). One serving provides a relatively low glycemic load score of 4 out of 100 per day.

Especially in wild species, blueberries contain anthocyanins, other antioxidant pigments and various phytochemicals possibly having a role in reducing risks of some diseases, including inflammation and certain cancers.

Medicinal Uses:
Blueberries have become highly popularized by their new-found medicinal properties. However, this native American fruit has been in use for thousands of years as part of the native Indian diet. The blueberry is not only sweet and delicious, but is rich in Vitamin C, manganese, and dietary fiber. being in the same fruit family as cranberry, the blueberry is equally high in antioxidants. The high grocery store price of blueberries is a great reason to grow your own bushes. Blueberry plants are easy to grow and have a long productive life. Just a few bushes would provide adequate berries for a small family. There are many blueberry varieties, so Willis Orchard Company has made it easy for you by offering only the best varieties. Choose any of our varieties and you will be pleased with abundant crops of delicious, healthy blueberries.

Researchers have shown that blueberry anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, resveratrol, flavonols, and tannins inhibit mechanisms of cancer cell development and inflammation in vitro. Similar to red grape, some blueberry species contain in their skins significant levels of resveratrol, a phytochemical.

Although most studies below were conducted using the highbush cultivar of blueberries (V. corymbosum), content of polyphenol antioxidants and anthocyanins in lowbush (wild) blueberries (V. angustifolium) exceeds values found in highbush species.

At a 2007 symposium on berry health benefits were reports showing consumption of blueberries (and similar berry fruits including cranberries) may alleviate the cognitive decline occurring in Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions of aging.

Feeding blueberries to animals lowers brain damage in experimental stroke. Research at Rutgers  has also shown that blueberries may help prevent urinary tract infections.

Other animal studies found that blueberry consumption lowered cholesterol and total blood lipid levels, possibly affecting symptoms of heart disease. Additional research showed that blueberry consumption in rats altered glycosaminoglycans which are vascular cell components affecting control of blood pressure.

Blueberry has been used in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual health concern for complete information):
Common cold/sore throat,  Diarrhea and Urinary tract infection

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blueberry
http://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html
http://www.willisorchards.com/category/Rabbiteye+Blueberry+Plants?gclid=CIiy5KjI5JsCFRghDQodaR3zxw

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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Cranberries

The Cranberry Harvest on the Island of Nantuck...
Image via Wikipedia

Botanical Name:Vaccinium macrocarpon
Family:Ericaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ericales
Genus: Vaccinium
Subgenus: Oxycoccos
Other names: North American cranberry, large cranberry

Parts Used: The ripe fruit of the cranberry is the part used in commercial and medicinal preparations

Habitat:Cranberries mainly thrive in sandy soil and bogs. They are mainly seen in the regions between Newfoundland, down to North Carolina, and also westwards to Minnesota. In terms of production, the state that produces the most cranberries in the US is Wisconsin, while Massachusetts comes a close second. Massachusetts alone produces about 2 million barrels of cranberries annually!

Description:
Cranberries are low, creeping shrubs or vines up to 2 m long and 5 to 20 cm in height;  they have slender, wiry stems that are not thickly woody and have small evergreen leaves. The flowers are dark pink, with very distinct reflexed petals, leaving the style and stamens fully exposed and pointing forward. They are pollinated by domestic honey bees. The fruit is an epigynous berry that is larger than the leaves of the plant; it is initially white, but turns a deep red when fully ripe. It is edible, with an acidic taste that can overwhelm its sweetness.
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The cranberry plant-called a vine by growers–is a long-lived perennial less than eight inches high with trailing, thin, wiry stems that bear small, opposite, evergreen leaves. Cranberry flowers appear around the Fourth of July; these are white to light pink, downward-pointing, bell-shaped, axillary flowers. The common name cranberry is a modification of the colonial name “crane berry,” because the drooping flower looked like the neck and head of the sand crane, which was often seen eating the fruits.

Cranberries are a major commercial crop in certain American states and Canadian provinces (see “Cultivation and Uses” below). Most cranberries are processed into products such as juice, sauce, and sweetened dried cranberries, with the remainder sold fresh to consumers. Cranberry sauce is regarded an indispensable part of traditional American and Canadian Thanksgiving menus and European winter festivals.

Since the early 21st century within the global functional food industry, there has been a rapidly growing recognition of cranberries for their consumer product popularity, nutrient content and antioxidant qualities, giving them commercial status as a novel “superfruit”.

Species:
There are three to four species of cranberry, classified in two sections:

*Subgenus Oxycoccos, sect. Oxycoccos

*Vaccinium oxycoccos or Oxycoccos palustris (Common Cranberry or Northern Cranberry)
is widespread throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere, including northern Europe, northern Asia and northern North America. It has small 5-10 mm leaves. The flowers are dark pink, with a purple central spike, produced on finely hairy stems. The fruit is a small pale pink berry, with a refreshing sharp acidic flavour.

*Vaccinium microcarpum or Oxycoccos microcarpus (Small Cranberry) occurs in northern Europe and northern Asia, and differs from V. oxycoccus in the leaves being more triangular, and the flower stems hairless. Some botanists include it within V. oxycoccos.

*Vaccinium macrocarpon or Oxycoccos macrocarpus (Large cranberry, American Cranberry, Bearberry) native to northeastern North America (eastern Canada, and eastern United States, south to North Carolina at high altitudes). It differs from V. oxycoccus in the leaves being larger, 10-20 mm long, and in its slightly apple-like taste.

Subgenus Oxycoccos, sect. Oxycoccoides
Vaccinium erythrocarpum or Oxycoccos erythrocarpus (Southern Mountain Cranberry) native to southeastern North America at high altitudes in the southern Appalachian Mountains, and also in eastern Asia.

Chemical Composition of Cranberries
Basically, cranberries have a very rich chemical composition. They are formed chemically of triterpinoids, a range of acids, such as benzoic acid, citric acid, malic acid, quinic acid, ascorbic acid, leptosine glycosides, glucuornic acid, catechin, as well as alkaloids and anthocyanin dyes. The different combinations of these are what provide the rich variety of medicinal benefits associated with cranberries.

Phytochemicals: The cranberry contains Catechins, Triterpenoids, Quinic Acid, Hippuric Acid, Anthocyanins

Medicinal Uses and Indications

Urinary tract infections
Cranberry is used to prevent urinary tract infections of the bladder and urethra (the tube that drains urine from the bladder). Several studies indicate its effectiveness. In one study of older women, cranberry juice significantly reduced the amount of bacteria present in the bladder compared to placebo. Another study showed that younger women with a history of recurrent UTIs who took cranberry by capsule significantly reduced the recurrence of UTI compared to those who took placebo.

However, evidence suggests that cranberry is not as effective against bacteria once they have attached to cells in the urinary tract. For this reason, cranberry is more effective at preventing UTIs than treating them. Instead, UTIs should be treated with conventional antibiotics.

Ulcers
A preliminary study suggests that cranberry may also prevent the bacteria Helicobacter pylori from attaching to stomach walls. H. pylori can cause stomach ulcers, so it is possible that cranberries may eventually prove to play a role in the prevention of this condition. However, more research is needed.

Heart disease
The antioxidants found in cranberry may protect from heart disease by lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, relaxing blood vessels, and preventing plaque from building up in arteries. However, more research is needed.

Cancer
In some test tube studies, cranberry appears to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. It is too early to say whether the herb will have the same effect in humans.

Oral hygiene
Studies also suggest that cranberries may help prevent bacteria from adhering to gums and around the teeth, helping to prevent cavities. Researchers caution, however, that cranberry juice is often high in sugar and should not be used for oral hygiene.

Available Forms
Cranberries are available fresh or frozen and in juice and concentrate forms. Dried berries are also available in tablet or capsule form. Pure cranberry juice is very sour, so most cranberry juices contain a mixture of cranberries, sweeteners (which may reduce the healthful effects of the juice), and vitamin C. Look for a brand of cranberry juice that has the lowest amount of added sugar or is sugar-free.

How to Take It
Pediatric
There is not enough evidence to establish a safe dose for children prone to UTIs. A child with a UTI should be under the care of a qualified health care provider.

Adult
Juice: 3 or more fluid oz. of pure juice per day, or about 10 oz. of cranberry juice cocktail
Capsules: 300 mg to 400 mg, 6 per day in divided doses
Fresh or frozen cranberries: 1.5 ounces


Precautions:

The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and can interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner.

Cranberry juice and supplements are generally considered safe with no serious side effects, even for pregnant women.

Cranberry contains relatively high levels of oxalate, chemicals that may increase the risk of kidney stones. People who have or have had kidney stones should talk to their doctor before taking cranberry supplements or drinking large amounts of cranberry juice.

Cranberry should not be used as a substitute for antibiotics during a UTI.

Because most cranberry juice contains added sugar, people who have diabetes should look for brands of juice that are artificially sweetened or should limit their consumption of regular juice.

Possible Interactions
A preliminary report suggests that cranberry may interfere with the effects of the blood-thinning drug warfarin. If you take warfarin, do not take supplemental cranberry and limit your consumption of cranberry juice.

Research Reviews:
*A flavonoid fraction from cranberry extract inhibits proliferation of human tumor cell lines
*Inhibition of Helicobacter pylori and associated urease by oregano and cranberry phytochemical synergies. *Cranberry for Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections
*What’s the use of cranberry juice?

Abstracts:
*Cranberry and the Urinary Tract
*Anti-Adhesion Properties of Cranberry
*Cranberry and Dental Health
*Cranberry and Stomach Ulcers
*Influence of Cranberry on Heart Disease
*Anti-Cancer Properties of Cranberry Phytochemicals
*Phytochemicals in Cranberry

Click to see :->How Cranberries Grow

How to grow Cranberrie

Americans Discover the Bacteria-Blocking Properties of Cranberries

Medicinal uses of Cranberrie.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.botgard.ucla.edu/html/botanytextbooks/economicbotany/Vaccinium/index.html
http://www.furtherhealth.com/article/54_2_Cranberry-Facts/
http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/cranberry-000235.htm#Medicinal%20Uses%20and%20Indications
http://www.phytochemicals.info/plants/cranberry.php

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Herbs & Plants

Bilberry

Bilberry fruitImage via Wikipedia

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Botanical Name :Vaccinium myrtillus
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Vaccinium
Species: V. myrtillus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonyms:-–Whortleberry. Black Whortles. Whinberry. Trackleberry. Huckleberry. Hurts. Bleaberry. Hurtleberry. Airelle. Vaccinium Frondosum. Blueberries.

Other names: Vaccinium myrtillus, European blueberry, huckleberry, whortleberry, burren myrtle

Parts Used:—The ripe fruit. The leaves.

Habitat:-
–Europe, including Britain, Siberia and Barbary.

Bilberry is a name given to several species of low-growing shrubs in the genus Vaccinium (family Ericaceae) that bear tasty fruits. The species most often referred to is Vaccinium myrtillus L., also known as blaeberry, whortleberry, whinberry (or winberry), myrtle blueberry, fraughan, and probably other names regionally. They were called black-hearts in 19th century southern England, according to Thomas Hardy‘s 1878 novel, The Return of the Native, (pg. 311, Oxford World’s Classics edition).
Bilberry fruitThe word bilberry is also sometimes used in the common names of other species of the genus, including Vaccinium uliginosum L. (bog bilberry, bog blueberry, bog whortleberry, bog huckleberry, northern bilberry), Vaccinium caespitosum Michx. (dwarf bilberry), Vaccinium deliciosum Piper (Cascade bilberry), Vaccinium membranaceum (mountain bilberry, black mountain huckleberry, black huckleberry, twin-leaved huckleberry), and Vaccinium ovalifolium (oval-leafed blueberry, oval-leaved bilberry, mountain blueberry, high-bush blueberry).

Bilberries are found in damp, acidic soils throughout the temperate and subarctic regions of the world. They are closely related to North American wild and cultivated blueberries and huckleberries in the genus Vaccinium. The easiest way to distinguish the bilberry is that it produces single or pairs of berries on the bush instead of clusters like the blueberry. Bilberry is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species – see list of Lepidoptera which feed on Vaccinium.

Bilberries are rarely cultivated but fruits are sometimes collected from wild plants growing on publicly accessible lands, notably in Fennoscandia, Scotland, Ireland and Poland. Notice that in Fennoscandia, it is an everyman’s right to collect bilberries, irrespective of land ownership. In Ireland the fruit is known as fraughan in English, from the Irish fraochán, and is traditionally gathered on the last Sunday in July, known as Fraughan Sunday.

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Confusion between bilberries and American blueberries:
Since many people refer to “blueberries”, no matter if they mean the bilberry (European blueberry) Vaccinium myrtillus or the American blueberries, there is a lot of confusion about the two closely similar fruits. One can distinguish bilberries from their American counterpart by the following differences:
*bilberries have dark red, strongly fragrant flesh and red juice that turns blue in basic environments: blueberries have white or translucent, mildly fragrant flesh

*bilberries grow on low bushes with solitary fruits, and are found wild in heathland in the Northern Hemisphere; blueberries grow on large bushes with the fruit in bunches
bilberries are wild plants while blueberries are cultivated and widely available commercially

*cultivated blueberries often come from hybrid cultivars, developed about 100 years ago by agricultural specialists, most prominently by Elizabeth Coleman White, to meet growing consumer demand; since they are bigger, the bushes grow taller, and are easier to harvest

*bilberry fruit will stain hands, teeth and tongue deep blue or purple while eating; it was used as a dye for food and clothes: blueberries have flesh of a less intense colour, thus less staining

*when cooked as a dessert, bilberries have a much stronger, more tart flavour and a rougher texture than blueberries

Adding to the confusion is the fact there are also wild American blueberry varieties, sold in stores mainly in the USA and Canada. These are uncommon outside of Northern America. Even more confusion is due to the huckleberry name, which originates from English dialectal names ‘hurtleberry’ and ‘whortleberry’ for the bilberry.

Edible Uses:   The fruits can be eaten fresh, but are more usually made into jams, fools, juices or pies. In France they are used as a base for liqueurs and are a popular flavouring for sorbets and other desserts. In Brittany they are often used as a flavouring for crêpes, and in the Vosges and the Massif Central bilberry tart (tarte aux myrtilles) is the most traditional dessert.

Constituents:—Quinic acid is found in the leaves, and a little tannin. Triturated with water they yield a liquid which, filtered and assayed with sulphate of iron, becomes a beautiful green, first of all transparent, then giving a green precipitate. The fruits contain sugar, etc.

Mrdicinal Uses:—The leaves can be used in the same way as those of UvaUrsi. The fruits are astringent, and are especially valuable in diarrhoea and dysentery, in the form of syrup. The ancients used them largely, and Dioscorides spoke highly of them. They are also used for discharges, and as antigalactagogues. A decoction of the leaves or bark of the root may be used as a local application to ulcers, and in ulceration of the mouth and throat.

The fruit is helpful in scurvy and urinary complaints, and when bruised with the roots and steeped in gin has diuretic properties valuable in dropsy and gravel. A tea made of the leaves is also a remedy for diabetes if taken for a prolonged period.

Bilberry is often said to improve night vision, and the story is told of RAF pilots in World War II using bilberry for that purpose. A recent study by the U.S. Navy found no effect, however, and the origins of the RAF story are unclear; it does not appear to be well known in the RAF itself.. Studies have shown that bilberry can reduce or reverse effects of degenerative eye disorders such as macular degeneration. The overall therapeutic use of bilberry is still clinically unproven.

Bilberry is primarily used for eye conditions and to strengthen blood vessels. During World War II, British Royal Air Force pilots reportedly found that eating bilberry jam just before a mission improved their night vision which prompted researchers to investigate bilberry’s properties.

Bilberry is also used for glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts.

The anthocyanins in bilberry may strengthen the walls of blood vessels, reduce inflammation and stabilize tissues containing collagen, such as cartilage, tendons and ligaments. Grape seed contains similar substances, however, bilberry’s anthocyanins are thought to have particular benefits for the eye.

Because bilberry is thought to strengthen blood vessels, it’s sometimes taken orally for varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
It may have other beneficial effects on capillaries due to the strong antioxidant properties of its anthocyanidin flavonoids.

The leaves have historically been used to treat gastrointestinal ailments, applied topically or made into infusions. The effects claimed have not been reproduced in the laboratory, however.

Bilberries were also collected at Lughnassadh, the first traditional harvest festival of the year, as celebrated by the Gaelic people. The crop of billberries was said to indicate how well the rest of the crops would fare in their harvests later in the year.

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Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources   : en.wikipedia.org

botanical.com/botanical

http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/herbsvitaminsa1/a/Bilberry.htm

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