International scientific name
Vaccinium myrtillus L., 1753
Bilberry , or Common blueberry , or Myrtle blueberry (lat. Vaccínium myrtíllus) – undersized shrub, a species of the genus Vaccinium of the Heather family (previously this genus was sometimes isolated in the Cowberry family).
The berries are edible for humans. Berries and leaves are used for medicinal purposes. Sometimes blueberries are also grown for ornamental purposes on alpine slides.
Title [edit | edit code]
The scientific name of the genus comes from the Latin word vacca – “cow”, according to the suitability of the leaves of some species for livestock feed.
The specific name myrtillus is a diminutive of myrtus – “myrtle”, after the resemblance of the plant to a small myrtle.
The Russian name “bilberry” comes from the color of the berries and the fact that they blacken the hands and mouth.
Other Russian names for the plant: chernega , chernizhnik , blueberry , blueberry , blackberry .
Interestingly, the name of the cactus genus Myrtillocactus ( Myrtillocactus ) is derived from the name of blueberries ( Vaccinium myrtillus ) and is explained by the external similarity of the fruits of these cacti and blueberries  .
Botanical description [edit | edit code]
Bilberry is a shrub 10-50 cm high. In the north, in the tundra zone, it is a few centimeters  [ specify ]. Branches depart from the main stem at sharp angles.
The leaves are alternate, finely crenate-serrate, ovate, leathery, almost sessile, spirally arranged, continuous, elliptical or ovate-elliptic, finely serrated along the edge. The leaves are pointed at the top, pale below, light green above, naked, thin, fall off by winter. Rainwater is channeled through grooved leaves and petioles to branches with deep grooves, along which it rolls down to the root.
The plant has a creeping rhizome, giving a large number of shoots.
Blooms in May. The flowers are greenish-white, regular, sitting one at a time. The corolla has five teeth. The fold of the cup is inseparable. Stamens ten. The pestle is one. Lower tie. The flower is tilted down, and this protects the pollen from moisture. The main pollinators of flowers are domestic bees and bumblebees.
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The fruits are bluish-black due to the wax coating  or just black. Wax coating is easily removed, and then the berry is fully consistent with its name  . The inside of the berry is purple, the seeds inside it can be up to 40, but the average number is usually half that. The fruits are eaten by forest birds (including pigeons and hoopoes), which carry their indigestible seeds far.
Reproduction by vegetative and seed way.
In nature, it grows mainly in the northern regions – in forests, mainly pine forests, and in swamps.
Economic importance and application [ edit | edit code]
Blueberries are used as food and for making liqueurs, jelly, jam, pies. Also stored frozen. In many places, picking berries brings a significant income to the population.
There are few fruit acids in blueberries. But they are high in A and B vitamins, manganese, fiber and flavonoids. Berries are a good source of vitamin C, magnesium and calcium  .
Good honey plant, gives a lot of nectar. Fragrant honey is light, slightly reddish  .
Blueberry coloring matter is a pH indicator and changes color to blue when the acidity decreases. Blueberries are used as a purple vegetable dye, for example, for branding meat. The juice of the berries, according to various mordants, stains the wool and canvas in purple and red  .
Medical significance [edit | edit code]
The main active ingredients are condensed tannins (5-7%), anthocyanins, pectin  .
It is generally accepted that soup, decoction or jelly made from dried berries helps with diarrhea  . The fresh berry is considered useful in the treatment of scurvy.
In medicine, both berries and blueberry leaves are used. They are used mainly in diseases of the eyes, gastrointestinal tract, diabetes mellitus and in gerontology, as well as topically in the treatment of burns and ulcers, stomatitis and gingivitis.
Leaves and shoots are used in the initial forms of diabetes, since the neomyrtillin glycoside contained in them has the ability to lower blood sugar  .
The disadvantage of blueberries is that when consumed in large quantities, they cause constipation  .
For medicinal purposes, blueberries (lat. Fructus myrtilli) are harvested at the stage of full maturity (in July – August), leaves – during the flowering period, plucked by hand, dried under a canopy. Raw materials are stored in paper bags, boxes, crates. Shelf life – up to 2 years.
Blueberry shoots ( Cormus Vaccinii myrtilli ) are part of the anti-diabetic collection “Arfazetin” along with nettle, beans and clover  .
Use in eye diseases [ edit | edit code]
It has long been believed that blueberries improve twilight vision. According to some reports, British Air Force pilots who participated in night sorties during World War II specially received and ate blueberry jam. However, a study conducted by the US Navy in 2000 found no effect of blueberries on dim vision   . Laboratory studies have shown that eating blueberries can prevent or treat eye diseases such as retinal detachment  , but there are no clinical studies on the use of blueberries for the treatment of eye diseases.
Dark blue blueberries contain significant amounts of the anthocyanin dye. Its use [ clarify ] in experiments showed a decrease in the risks [ clarify ] of many diseases : heart, circulatory system , eyes  and suppressed certain activities of cancer cell lines   . [ unauthoritative source? ]
In addition to anthocyanins, blueberries contain protoanthocyanides, flavonoids, and tannins, which act as antioxidants  that reduce inflammation. [ source not specified 60 days ]
Such nutritional supplements cannot be a remedy for the treatment of eye diseases, and often do not have any clinical evidence for the claimed properties   .
Blueberries have limited therapeutic properties. Basically, the positive effect is associated with an improvement in the blood flow of the retina of the eye [ source not specified 60 days ]. Many people mistakenly believe that blueberries improve vision “in general”, and this is often used in unfair advertising of various drugs and dietary supplements.
Distribution [edit | edit code]
Blueberries have a natural range in Northern Europe and Asia in the taiga zone, especially in the subarctic zone. It is also found in North America, but is not the original species there. Often sold under the name blueberry Blueberry. They are trying to highlight the difference in English with the name “bilberry”, as opposed to the traditional “blueberry”.
Blueberries are a sweet wild berry that has not only a pleasant taste, but also useful properties. Not only the fruit is useful for the human body, blueberry leaves also have medicinal properties that are used even in modern medicine. Few people know, but it is this berry that is the first assistant in losing weight. In addition, the berry helps athletes recuperate after a grueling workout. And blueberries are an effective cosmetic product that has a beneficial effect on the skin of the face, removes dark circles under the eyes and prolongs youth.
Composition, BJU and calorie content of blueberries
The calorie content of blueberries, as well as BJU, varies depending on the form in which the berries are: fresh, dried, frozen. The composition of the fruit includes a large amount of minerals, vitamins, free organic acids, as well as dietary fiber. With the right technology for freezing and drying berries, you can save all the value and useful properties of fresh blueberries.
Nutritional value of the product per 100 g:
Product Proteins, g Fats, g Carbohydrates, g Dietary fiber, g Water, g Calorie content, kcal Fresh blueberries 1.2 0.7 7.6 3.2 87 43.7 Dried blueberries 0.9 0.6 72.4 3 .0 23.1 308.9 Frozen blueberries 1.2 0.7 6.3 3.2 8.6 34.5
Dried blueberries are high in calories due to the dehydration process, which makes the product more concentrated. To get 100 g of dried berries, it is processed from 1 kg of fresh fruits, which means that the concentration of nutrients and elements increases, as does the number of calories.
Chemical composition of fresh wild berries per 100 g:
- ash – 0.3 g;
- vitamin B1 – 0.03 mg;
- vitamin C – 11 mg;
- vitamin PP – 0.5 mg;
- vitamin E – 1.3 mg;
- vitamin A – 0.04 mg;
- organic acids – 1.31 g;
- niacin – 0.39 mg;
- calcium – 17 mg;
- magnesium – 7 mg;
- sodium – 5 mg;
- potassium – 52 mg;
- phosphorus – 14 mg;
- iron – 0.8 mg.
Blueberry leaves contain such useful elements as:
- Vitamin C;
- triterpenic acids;
- essential oil;
Frozen blueberries do not contain a complete list of all vitamins, however, with proper freezing and proper defrosting, you can save most of the useful elements. It makes no sense to freeze the leaves, since they have medicinal properties only when fresh.
Pay attention to the low calorie content of the product, which cannot but please all those who are losing weight, since blueberries can be eaten in large quantities, if we are not talking about dried berries.
Useful properties of berries for health
The beneficial properties of blueberries for human health are very extensive, since the product has not only medicinal, but also cosmetic qualities. It is suitable for adults and children, and if you use the product regularly, blueberries will not only saturate the body with vitamins, micro and macro elements, but also have a beneficial effect on some organs and life processes.
- Antioxidant properties. Antioxidants act at the cellular level, providing a preventive effect against malignant tumors, as well as destroying the foci of their appearance. Antioxidants in blueberries are often equated with anthocyanins, which can prevent cancer. In terms of the content of this element, blueberries are superior to apples and dark grapes.
- Blueberries improve vision and prevent the occurrence of diseases of the visual organs. All this is possible thanks to beta-carotene, which is part of the berry, which stimulates retinal tissue renewal and stimulates ocular circulation, as well as relieves fatigue. Blueberries can be used medicinally to combat night blindness or conjunctivitis. However, it should be borne in mind that berries are only assistants in the treatment of eyes, the main therapy is carried out by a doctor.
- Wild berries are able to improve metabolism and cleanse the body of salts, metals and toxins, which directly affect the aging process and destruction of the body. The metabolism is accelerated due to the pantothenic acid included in the composition.
- Bilberry has found wide application in the treatment of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. By taking blueberries regularly, you can get rid of colitis and stomach symptoms. In the case of diarrhea, dried berries will come to the rescue, and fresh fruits will help against constipation. All due to the fact that blueberries improve the intestinal microflora, because of which you can not be afraid of the processes of food decay in the process of digestion. And also the berry has disinfectant properties.
- Increases endurance during sports. Low in calories and high in nutrients and fiber, it promotes weight loss.
- Reduces inflammatory processes in the body. Due to this effect, blueberries are recommended for use in diseases of the liver or gallbladder. In addition, the berries are used as a remedy for headaches during colds or pneumonia.
- Reduces the risk of developing diabetes. Useful and healing properties are provided not only by sweet fruits, but also by blueberry leaves, with which you can lower blood sugar levels and normalize the work of the pancreas (the possible aggravation of diabetes depends on the work of this organ).
- Blueberries are a great helper in the treatment of colds and infections due to the fact. Berry is a natural antiseptic and antibiotic. A decoction made from the leaves or fruits of blueberries helps during the treatment of a throat or wet cough.
- Helps in the prevention and treatment of diseases of the genitourinary tract. You can use the berries in their pure form or buy preparations that contain blueberries.
- Blueberries strengthen the immune system.
- Regular consumption of berries strengthens the heart and reduces the risk of thrombosis.
- Thins the blood and prevents a heart attack. In addition, wild berries normalize the work of almost all vital organs.
- Has bactericidal properties. If you systematically drink juice from fresh blueberries, you can prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that cause diseases such as typhoid fever and dysentery.
- Due to the high calcium content, blueberries have a beneficial effect on the formation and strengthening of children’s bones.
- It is recommended for use by pregnant women, but only on the condition that she does not suffer from a low level of hemoglobin in the blood.
This is not a complete list of the possible therapeutic effects of berries on the body, but only the most common and important properties of the plant. The main thing is to use ripe berries in moderation and without fanaticism. Blueberries are only an assistant in the treatment of certain diseases, but by no means the only medicine.
Note: The best time to collect leaves is when blueberries are in bloom. The leaves are carefully cut with scissors and dried in a ventilated place. After they are folded into cloth bags and used all year round for medicinal purposes.
Cosmetic effects of blueberries
Blueberries have a beneficial cosmetic effect on the skin of women and girls, so wild berry extract is widely used in cosmetology, and not only at home.
Blueberries as a means of cosmetology:
- saturates the skin with vitamins;
- strengthens blood vessels;
- smoothes wrinkles;
- rejuvenates the skin;
- helps with redness caused by irritation to the external environment (dust, dirt, etc.);
- evens out complexion;
- compresses from a decoction of blueberry leaves or masks from ground berries will help remove dark circles under the eyes;
- reduces puffiness.
In addition, blueberry extract is wonderful in helping teenagers cope with acne on the face and dry skin areas. For an older generation, wild berries will help remove signs of fatigue and even out skin tone.
Of all the wild berries, blueberries are the hardest to pick. It does not grow in sunny glades, like strawberries, but in the most gloomy corners into which the sun’s rays do not penetrate. However, people do not pay attention to these inconveniences and rush into the forests every summer to collect fruits from a low-growing shrub. Blueberries are harvested for the winter – the beneficial properties and contraindications are already known to everyone, not only berries, but also leaves and shoots, because they contain the main healing properties for the human body. There are a lot of plant recipes.
What is blueberry
A perennial deciduous slow-growing bush of blueberries (chernegi, blueberries, blueberries) belongs to the genus Vaccinium of the Vereskov family. It grows up to 60 centimeters high. Flowering lasts from May to June, and the berries ripen in July-August. The plant begins to bear fruit from the second year. At first, a small number of large berries appear on the bush, but over time they become many, but already smaller. Fresh fruits are low in calories: 100 grams contain only 57 calories.
Where does it grow
Blueberries do not grow in the southern hemisphere. Residents of hot eastern countries are not familiar with this plant either. The only place on the planet where you can find large blueberry plantations is the northern hemisphere. In the North, it is easy to see bushes that stretch for tens of kilometers. Blueberries grow in well-moistened marshy places, in coniferous or mixed forests. The largest berry plantations are located in Russia.
What does it look like
In ordinary forests, the height of a blueberry bush reaches 20-35 centimeters, but near a swamp, a plant can grow up to half a meter. The berries there are also juicier and larger. The stems of the shrub are straight branching, and the leaves are thin, smooth, finely serrated. Small flowers of the plant have a white-greenish color with a pink tint. Blueberry fruits are a blue-black berry similar in shape to a small ball. Inside it is purple-red in color with numerous seeds.
Useful properties of blueberries
The plant is rich in antioxidants that help fight stress. The use of berries, due to the neutralization of free radicals, slows down the aging process of the body, is the prevention of cancer, stroke, atherosclerosis, heart attack. The vitamin composition of the plant is represented by ascorbic acid, retinol, tocopherol, PP group, B.
Fruits contain such useful properties as fruit acids, tannins, dietary fiber, anthocyanins, pectin, essential oils, iron salts. Among all berries, blueberries lead in terms of the amount of manganese. It contains other useful micro and macro elements:
They are famous for their bactericidal properties due to the fact that they contain vitamin C in large quantities. The use of preparations containing blueberry leaf helps to get rid of heartburn, relieves stomach cramps, and increases the acidity of gastric juice. Blueberry leaves have useful anti-inflammatory, choleretic, diuretic properties, therefore they are effective in kidney and liver diseases. Decoctions are used for infections of the oral cavity – stomatitis, periodontal disease. Blueberry leaves can do one harm to the body – cause allergic reactions.
For treatment, fresh, frozen or dried blueberries are used, if there are no contraindications. The presence of useful tannins in them has an anti-inflammatory effect. Frozen berries are indispensable in winter in the treatment of sore throats and for the prevention of colds. When frozen, blueberries do not lose their beneficial properties, having a beneficial effect on the immune system and the digestive system. It is used for indigestion, diseases of the pancreas, liver. Dried berries have a diuretic effect, so they are used for urolithiasis.
What blueberries are good for the body has been known for a long time, but not all people know that the shoots of the plant also have anti-inflammatory properties. If there are no contraindications, they are used in diabetes mellitus because of their ability to lower glucose levels. Blueberry shoots collect toxins and salts of heavy metals, remove toxins from the body, which helps to eliminate inflammatory reactions in diseases of the stomach and intestines. Young elements of the plant are used for degeneration of the retina, so the use of tea from blueberry shoots improves vision.
Folk recipes with blueberries
Due to the presence of valuable trace elements, blueberries are used during the diet, used in cosmetology and cooking. It helps to cope with tumors, strengthens blood vessels, improves metabolism in the process of losing weight. Rejuvenating berry in folk medicine is used to treat rheumatism, burns, hemorrhoids, cough, and other pathologies. In gynecological practice, douching is carried out with an infusion of shoots or leaves of a plant. Blueberry antioxidants help to cope with anemia, control blood pressure.
The benefit of blueberries for the eyes is that its components improve vision with myopia. Use for the treatment of infusions, freshly squeezed juice, jam. How blueberries are prepared and used for vision:
- A decoction of dried berries. Pour 200 g of blueberries with ½ cup of boiling water. Let it brew for 30 minutes, then drink half a glass of a medicinal drink 2-3 times a day until vision improves.
- Drops from fresh blueberries. Squeeze the juice from several fresh berries, dilute with water 1: 2, instill both eyes daily, if there are no contraindications.
Inflammation of the gastric mucosa imposes certain restrictions on the diet. Plant secretin, which is found in blueberries, helps to normalize the digestion process. A rich complex of minerals and vitamins promotes the regeneration of cells in the walls of the stomach, preventing their destruction. How to take blueberries for gastritis:
- Blueberry wine. Increases the level of acidity. To prepare, you need to take half a glass of berries, rinse, pour 100 ml of water, boil over low heat for 15 minutes. Then add 1 glass of homemade grape wine, hold for another 10 minutes on fire. The tool is taken three times a day for 1 tbsp. l. before meals 30 minutes.
- A decoction of dry leaves. To prepare, you need to pour 60 g of crushed raw materials with a liter of water and cook for 20 minutes over low heat. It is necessary to take a drink for half a glass before each meal.
If we compare the benefits and harms of blueberries, then we must take into account that there are very few contraindications, and the medicinal properties of the berry cannot be counted. For example, dry leaves of the plant are widely used for hemorrhoids. And compresses are made from berries, which are applied to hemorrhoids. Folk recipes for hemorrhoids:
- Enemas from blueberry broth. Steam a couple of tablespoons of crushed dry leaves in a glass of boiling water, boil for 25 minutes. After the broth, strain, add boiling water to the edge of the glass and divide into 4 procedures.
- Sitting baths. In a sealed container, boil for 20 minutes 20 grams of dry or fresh berries, then squeeze, strain. The temperature of the decoction should not exceed 60°C. Baths should be taken until the water cools down.
With sexual impotence, blueberries will also help. This dietary product effectively fights diseases of the kidneys and genitourinary system that provoke erectile dysfunction in men. Recipes for impotence:
- Blueberry tea. For its preparation, both berries and leaves of the plant are used. A richer and brighter taste can be obtained from young shoots. Brew and drink the plant for impotence, like regular tea.
- Blueberry juice. It is recommended to drink a glass of freshly squeezed juice without sugar every morning. A natural drink for impotence is drunk on an empty stomach chilled.
For sore throat
Blueberries are very useful for children. Especially during a sore throat or severe cough. As a rule, along with drug treatment, doctors for sore throats prescribe drugs such as Blueberry Forte or others containing blueberry extract. Recipes recommended by traditional medicine:
Infusion. One st. l. crushed fresh berries should be poured with boiling water (250 ml), let it brew. Drink a drink in two doses every day until the symptoms disappear. When treating a cold, you can make the infusion more concentrated.
- Gargling. A thick blueberry decoction should be used not only for oral administration, but also for rinsing the mouth. This should be done as often as possible during the day to get rid of inflammatory processes.
For skin diseases
The plant is effective in the treatment of eczema, dermatitis and other skin diseases. Especially the plant saves pregnant women, who are forbidden to use many medicines while carrying a child. The plant has many useful properties that are not lost when used externally:
- Compresses. Pour dried berries with water in a ratio of 1: 5, cook until half of the liquid boils away. The mixture should be cooled, put on gauze, then used on the affected areas of the skin in the form of a compress, if there are no contraindications from the doctor.
- Puree. Instead of a decoction, you can use freshly squeezed mashed potatoes. The berries should be mashed, put on a gauze bandage, which must be changed several times a day.
Organic acids, proteins and monosaccharides contained in blueberry fruits have a positive effect on the functioning of the cardiovascular system. The following recipes will help normalize blood pressure:
- Infusion. With hypertension, it is useful to drink blueberry infusion at a dose of one glass per day. To prepare it, 4 teaspoons of fruit should be poured with a glass of boiling water, then insisted for 8 hours.
- Morse. To prepare the drink, you will need 200 g of fresh berries, 1 liter of water, 4 tbsp. l. Sahara. Blueberry fruits must be wiped, poured with water, boiled for 7 minutes. Then remove the drink from the heat, filter and add sugar. You need to drink mors daily for 2 glasses.
For diarrhea and constipation
Blueberries are full of nutrients that help normalize any stomach upsets. Recipes:
- From constipation. Berries are famous for their ability to remove toxins and act as a mild laxative, so for constipation, they are best consumed fresh. You can get rid of the problem by eating 100 g per day.
- From diarrhea. An excellent remedy for diarrhea is blueberry jelly. You can prepare it from 200 g of berries, 200 g of sugar, 4 tbsp. l. starch and 2.5 liters of water. You need to drink jelly 3-4 times a day in small portions.
In some cases, it is impossible to use the plant as a medicine. Contraindications for use:
- in the presence of individual intolerance to the components of the plant;
- if the baby has allergies during breastfeeding;
- with caution in the treatment of the liver and pancreas;
- with the combined use of drugs that thin the blood (may cause bleeding).
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