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Valeriana officinalis
Vaccinium myrtillus


 

 

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Untitled Document Vaccinium myrtillus L. (Ericaceae)

Synonyms
Vaccinium montanum Salisb., Vaccinium angulosum Dulac

Local names
Bilberry, Blueberry, bogberry, huckleberry

Description
Flower diameter c 4-6 mm, fruit c 6-9 mm, leaves c 1-3 cm long. Stems angled and green. Leaves notably bright green, slightly toothed, not leathery. Plant hairless. Even without flowers and fruit this distinguishes it from any other member of the heather family or any other moorland or mountain shrub. Other features: Flowers solitary or in pairs, pinkish, globular with tiny relfexed lobes at mouth. Fruit a black berry. Hybridises with Cowberry; the hybrid has darker leaves and is intermediate in other ways. Bilberry is deciduous; other Skye Vaccinium species, including the hybrid, are evergreen.

Plant material used
Fruit

Major chemical constituent
Flavonoid glycosides: Anthocyanins (particularly glycosides of delphinidin, cyanidin, petunidin, peonidin, malvidin), quercetin–3–glucuronide and hyperoside. Polyphenols Catechin, epicatechin and tannins. Pectins and vitamin C.

Medicinal uses
Uses supported by clinical data
Various ophtalmic condition (glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, aging, cataract), platelet aggrgegation inhibitor, ulcerative dermatitis secondary to post–thrombotic or venous varicose stasis, capillary fragility secondary to liver disorders and other conditions, or chronic venous insufficiency, chronic primary dysmenorrhoea

Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established document
Ophthalmic activity and anti–inflammatory, wound–healing, anti–ulcer, anti–atherosclerotic and vasoprotective properties

Uses described in traditional medicine
Astringent, diarrhoea, dysentry, haemorrhoids, gastrointestinal inflammations, mouth infections, scurvy and urinary complaints. It has also been used in diabetes, gout and rheumatism and applied locally in eye inflammation, burns and skin infections

Proven pharmacological activity
Animal studies
Antioxidant, neuroprotective, platelet aggrgegation inhibitor, hypolipidaemic, vasorelaxant, anticarcinogenic, anti–ulcer, antibacterial

Human studies
Various ophtalmic condition, platelet aggrgegation inhibitor, ulcerative dermatitis secondary to post–thrombotic or venous varicose stasis, capillary fragility secondary to liver disorders and other conditions, or chronic venous insufficiency, chronic primary dysmenorrhoea, fibrocystic mastopathy and type II diabetes mellitus, in infantile dyspepsia and in pregnant women with lower limb venous insufficiency and acute–phase haemorrhoids

Toxicology
Fruit regarded very safe, but prolonged use of the leaves may cause chronic poisoning

Contraindications
No data available

Warnings
Better not be used during constipation, or bleeding episodes

Pregnancy
In an uncontrolled study, V. myrtillus anthocyanin extract (Tegens) (80 or 160 mg) twice or three times daily for three months was administered to pregnant women with lower limb venous insufficiency and acute–phase haemorrhoids with no apparent adverse effects. However, the safety of bilberry has not been established and, in view of the lack of toxicity data, the use of bilberry during pregnancy and lactation should be avoided.

Nursing mothers
No data available

Other precautions
Drug Interaction
May enhance the effect of anti-platelet agents such as low dose aspirin or ticlopidin

Laboratory Tests Interaction
No data available

Adverse reactions
Considered very safe

Dosage form
Dried fruit or decoction

Posology
20–60 g fruit daily as a decoction for the treatment of diarrhoea

 

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