Blueberry ( Vaccinium myrtillus ) for Herbal Naturopathy: properties, benefits, uses, side effects

Blueberry (Vaccinium Myrtillus) is a plant belonging to the Ericaceae family. Thanks to its antioxidant,  anti- inflammatory and vasodilatory properties, it helps in the treatment of disorders of the cardiovascular system. Let’s find out better.

Properties of blueberry

Blueberry is one of those plants of which more drugs (parts) are used. As we will see, if we use the berries (the fruits), the leaves or the meristematic parts, we will have more therapeutic activities. This is because each drug will act according to different active ingredients, which will constitute its specific phytocomplex.

The berries of the bilberry contain many organic acids (malic, citric, etc.), sugars, tannins, pectin, vitamins A, C and, to a lesser extent, vitamin B and anthocyanin glycosides (mirtillin) which, in addition to giving the fruit its characteristic color, reduce the permeability of capillaries and strengthen the structure of the connective tissue, which supports the blood vessels, improving their elasticity and tone. 

These principles contained in the phytocomplex give it the capillary protective property, making it particularly suitable for the treatment of circulatory disorders, especially of venous origin and in all cases of capillary fragility, especially affecting the retina.

Anthocyanins are capable of inhibiting the activity of some enzymes that destroy collagen and the elastic tissues of the capillaries and vessels of the peripheral circulatory system, causing fragility and their excessive permeability.

These substances also promote and increase the speed of regeneration of the retinal purpura (rhodopsin) of the eyes, which is the pigment of the retina, essential for vision in low light conditions, sharpening the vision especially in the evening, when there is little light.

The great nutritional qualities of blueberry also derive from the rich presence of vitamins A and C (those in greater quantities), but also vitamins B1, B2, PP and essential mineral salts for our body (calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium and potassium), which give the berries an antioxidant action.

These nutritional principles, assisted by anthocyanosides, effectively inhibit the formation of free radicals, responsible for the oxidation of LDL cholesterol particles, induced by copper, which is the fundamental cause of the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in the walls of blood vessels. This activity is maximum after about 60 minutes and remains at significant levels for about 6 hours.

Blueberry anthocyanins also have an antiseptic effect useful in the treatment of diarrhea, painful abdominal colic and cystitisRecently it has been discovered that they inhibit the adhesion of colibacilli to the wall of the intestine and bladder, thus providing an explanation for their use in urinary and intestinal infections, caused by the alteration of the bacterial flora.

The leaves of the blueberry deserve a special mention; they contain tannin, flavonoid glucosides and glucoquine, a substance that lowers the content of glucose (sugars) in the blood: they possess the astringent and antidiarrheal effects of fruits, but are also hypoglycemic; they are therefore recommended for those suffering from diabetes, as they allow to reduce the doses of oral medications or those of insulin.

The bud extract is obtained from the young shoots of the Vaccinum vitis idaea (cranberry) variety. This glycerine macerate is the anti- inflammatory par excellence of the intestine. Its regulating action corrects the imbalances of enterocolic mobility, that is in case of constipation or diarrhea, and restores intestinal enzymatic activity.

For this reason it is used in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, because it eliminates flatulence, due to the fermentation of feces, flames the walls and normalizes the functioning of the intestine, especially the colon.

How to use

  • Titrated dry extract: 60-120 mg is the daily dosage to be taken between meals.
  • Blueberry decoction: 70 grams of berries boiled in 1 liter of water for at least 5 minutes.
  • Mother Tincture: 40 drops twice a day in a glass of water to stimulate gastric functions, and as an antiseptic
  • Blueberry Juice: a spoonful in the morning on an empty stomach to counteract the problems of microcirculation.
  • Young jets glycerin macerate: 40-50 gc in two daily doses, away from meals, as an anti-inflammatory and regulator of intestinal motility


The dry extract of bilberry has a diuretic action and can favor the formation of kidney stones from oxalates and phosphates in those who are predisposed to it. Thanks to its hypoglycemic action, its use is not recommended for those who are already undergoing drug therapy for the treatment of diabetes.

Description of the plant

Small shrub from a few to 50 cm tall. The leaves are oval or elliptical, have a serrated edge. The flowers are pendulous and usually solitary, the corolla is pinkish-white in color, they have a typical shape of an inverted jar, with petals welded together.

This form is common to all Ericaceae. The fruits have the appearance of berries, but in reality they are false berries, like bananas and watermelons, because they originate – as well as from the ovary – from sepals, petals and stamens.

The habitat of the blueberry

It grows in the submontane and mountainous area, is frequent in the Alps and is found in the Apennines up to Abruzzo; it is found in the woods and moors.


In the Nordic tradition, the blueberry was considered a plant capable of protecting against bad luck. In Scandinavia its branches were used in the ceremony of the “Little Yule” (December 13), a rite associated with the star of the winter solstice, known in the Nordic tradition as “torch bearer”.

A prescription 

1 tablespoon of mother juice (squeezing the berries without adding water and sugars) in half a glass of water, in the morning on an empty stomach, for problems related to microcirculation.

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