Bilberry, also known as European Blueberry, is an edible fruit that is one amongst the several species of low-growing shrubs. The shrub grows to a height of one foot and has oval leaves, with pink-tinged greenish flowers. It falls in the genus Vaccinium (family Ericaceae) and is known as Vaccinium myrtillus L. Bilberry is an herb that has been used for long in herbal treatments. Its fruit contains chemicals known as anthocyanosides that have excellent antioxidant properties, which damage free radicals in the body and help in preventing any damage to cells.
Bilberry is the perfect cure for a wide range of medical conditions, ranging from diabetes, diarrhea, and throat problems to arthritis, skin problems and kidney problems. However if it is not taken in moderation, it can have adverse effects on the body as well. At the same time, like many other herbs, it also contains certain active substances that can trigger side effects when they interact with other herbs or medicines. Read on to explore the various side effects of bilberry, where caution is recommended and professional advice is ideal.
Negative Effects OF Eating Bilberry
Bilberry should be avoided by those who are suffering from blood clotting disorder or taking medicines to prevent blood clots. It might interfere with the medicine and have an adverse effect on the time taken for the blood to clot, since it has blood thinning properties. Hence, it is advisable to visit a doctor before making the herb a part of your medicinal dose.
Allergic reactions, like difficulty in breathing, closing of the throat, eye problems, swelling of lips, tongue, or face; and hives, may take place as a result of eating bilberry. If any of these allergies surfaces, medical attention needs to be taken at the earliest.
Excessive usage of bilberry might lead to low blood sugar in the body, a condition that is known as hypoglycemia. However, the herb is beneficial for those who are suffering from elevated blood sugar i.e. diabetes, as it helps in lowering the sugar levels.
Though bilberry is an herbal medicine, it does not gel well with a wide range of allopathic medicines, including warfarin, aspirin and heparin. The major factor behind this is its anticoagulant properties. It may also interact with anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil, Motrin and Aleve and cause blood-related complications, such as poor clotting and increased risk of bleeding from wounds. Hence, it is advisable to strictly avoid taking these medications at the same time.
Bilberry leaves should not be taken in large quantities, over long periods of time, as they may prove toxic. Its ingredients can accumulate to toxic levels, hence it is advised to limit its intake to recommended levels, which have been defined from 120 mg to 240 mg. A dose of more than 480 mg might even lead to death.
Impaired Liver Function
The herbal remedy made out of bilberry leaves can impair the normal functioning of the liver, leading to chronic toxicity and liver damage, if taken for longer period of time. Hence it is advised to take the herb in moderation.
Another serious side effect of the herb includes weight loss (cachexia), dark urine, yellowing eyes or skin. Bilberry also interferes with iron absorption, when taken internally.
The effects of bilberry on the nursing baby or fetus are not known, yet it is advisable to consult your doctor before consuming it. At the same time, it is advisable to stop eating bilberries during pregnancy.