Bilberry, eyesight / 1994


Date: Fri, 25 Mar 1994 09:02:20 -0800
Sender: "Medicinal and Aromatic Plants discussion list" <HERB.TREARN.BITNET>
From: John Robert Bidleman <robbee.CRL.COM>
Subject: berry

Not long ago I was asked about some information on Bilberry and its reported effect on vision. I have found the references:

Sala, D.; M.Rolando;P.L.Rossi;and L.Pissarello.
1979 Effect of anthocyanosides on visual preformances at low illumination.
Minerva Oftalmological 21:283-5

Boniface, R.;M.Miskulin;L.Robert and A.M.Robert
1985 Pharmacological properties of *myrtillus* anthocyanosides.
Flavonoids and Bioflavinoids 293-301

There are others which deal more in depth with the canal of Schlemm etc. but these above give the general background.

It is interesting to note that the research being done now and also earlier (1979) supports the RAF "myth" of Bilberry taking effect in a matter of minutes <night vision> and in several weeks improving nearsightedness and other visual problems. It has been well established that among the systemic effects of Bilberry, free radical neutralization is very high. One main action is to increase capillary strength and reduce capillary fragility. Sources for fresh Bilberries are rare in the United States and it has taken me several months to locate a small "Home-Grower". The jam (preserves etc) is probably superior to any preparation I have seen on the market. In the six months I was without a source for fresh berries <one season> I took capsules of Bilberry powder with the extract added. I noticed a considerable difference. I plan to start some cuttings and perhaps have my own little patch soon. I highly recommend Bilberry for it's wonderful qualities aiding the vision, digestive system <yes, it prevents ulcers and more> and for it's cardiovascular actions as well. Since it works through a very basic mechanism it tends to correct a variety of ailments "at the source" rather than working symptomatically.


p.s. The jam is also delicious

From: Christopher Hedley <christopher.GN.APC.ORG>
Subject: Eyesight

Thanks to John Bidleman, I am inspired by tales of Bilberry jam. "food is the best medicine". What was your original inspiration? The only ref I have is Peter Holmes, "The Energetics of Western herbs"; Bilberries as a tea and Bearberry leaf (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) as a wash. Cranberries (Vaccinum oxy. & macrocarp.) also contain anthocyanosides- would they do?

I have searched for herbs to strengthen the eyes, rather than those for eye disease.

Used as a wash; Eyebright (Euphrasia spp) tea, *but not on dry eyes* and Celandine (Chelidonium maj.) as a glycerol extract (dil. 1:3 with water), for cloudy vision. These I have tried.

Used internally; Artemesia spp., Fennel seed, Betony (Stachys betonica), Verbena spp.and Rue (Ruta grav) *small doses only*. Wormwood, Rue and Fennel, together were used by artists to maintain sight. The ancient Egyptians used a wash of Leeks and fresh urine for improving night vision. The Physicians of Myddvai used Leek seed and Betony tea. But some people distrust the onion family.

Hildegard von Bingen (pub Bear and co.) gives recipes for different eye types. She also recommends gazing on water or grass - which works well.

From: Christopher Hedley <christopher.GN.APC.ORG>

I am informed that 'everyone in France knows about bilberries strenghtening the eyesight', especially night vision- as well as its more common use in GI infections.

Chinese wolf berries (Lycium chinense & barbarum) have similar properties- invigorate kidneys, dispel blood heat, lower blood sugar etc. but without the astringent/antiseptic action.

They grow wild in S.Europe and S & E USA. I have a recipe for a soup made from Wolfberries, Carrots, an onion, stock and mint to garnish. I havn't tried this yet, but a friend declares it to be delicious.

Christopher Hedley, Herbalist/student of cookery.