Bilberry is a small shrub, about 30-40cm tall, that produces dark blue (almost black) berries. Its name comes from a Danish word meaning ‘dark berry’ and it is closely related to other vacciniums such as common blueberry and cranberry. Bilberry is one of the richest natural sources of anthocyanins, a pigment that gives plants their red, blue and purple hues as well as possessing strong antioxidant properties.
It has wonderful vaso-protective properties, meaning that it literally protects the blood vessels and so is commonly used to treat disorders of the vessels such as varicose veins and Raynaud’s syndrome. People with fragile capillaries such as those who often get nosebleeds or bleeding gums also benefit massively from this wonder fruit.
Bilberry is also great at improving circulation through the tiny capillaries, like those of the eye and helps to enhance blood flow to those areas. This is one of the reasons it is often used to treat vision disorders that are caused by impaired circulation to the retina.