Generic Name: bilberry (BILL beh ree)
Medically reviewed on March 5, 2018
What is bilberry?
Bilberry is a plant also known as Airelle, Arándano, Black Whortles, Bleaberry, Blueberry, Brimbelle, Burren Myrtle, Dyeberry, Gueule Noire, Huckleberry, Hurtleberry, Mauret, Myrtille, Raisin des Bois, Trackleberry, Vaccinium myrtillus, Whortleberry, Wineberry, and other names.
Bilberry has been used in alternative medicine as a possibly effective aid in treating circulation problems caused by chronic venous insufficiency, and eye problems caused by diabetes or high blood pressure.
Bilberry has also been used to improve night vision. However, research has shown that bilberry may not be effective in treating this condition.
Other uses not proven with research have included treating menstrual pain, glaucoma, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, osteoarthritis, gout, chronic fatigue syndrome, urinary problems, and other conditions.
It is not certain whether bilberry is effective in treating any medical condition. Medicinal use of this product has not been approved by the FDA. Bilberry should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.
Bilberry is often sold as an herbal supplement. There are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for many herbal compounds and some marketed supplements have been found to be contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.
Bilberry may also be used for purposes not listed in this product guide.
Follow all directions on the product label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.
Before taking this medicine
Ask a doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider if it is safe for you to use this product if you have:
diabetes (bilberry can lower your blood sugar).
It is not known whether bilberry will harm an unborn baby. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are pregnant.
It is not known whether bilberry passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without medical advice.
How should I take bilberry?
When considering the use of herbal supplements, seek the advice of your doctor. You may also consider consulting a practitioner who is trained in the use of herbal/health supplements.
If you choose to use bilberry, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. Do not use more of this product than is recommended on the label.
The use of bilberry when eaten as a food in normal amounts is considered likely to be safe.
Bilberry is possibly unsafe if you take it in high doses or for a long time.
Do not use different forms (tablets, liquid, tincture, teas, etc) of bilberry at the same time without medical advice. Using different formulations together increases the risk of an overdose.
Call your doctor if the condition you are treating with bilberry does not improve, or if it gets worse while using this product.
If you need surgery or dental work, stop taking bilberry at least 2 weeks ahead of time.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra bilberry to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking bilberry?
Avoid using bilberry together with other herbal/health supplements that can also lower your blood sugar. This includes devil's claw, fenugreek, garlic, guar gum, horse chestnut, Panax ginseng, psyllium, Siberian ginseng, and others.
Avoid using bilberry together with other herbal/health supplements that can also affect blood-clotting. This includes angelica (dong quai), capsicum, clove, danshen, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, horse chestnut, Panax ginseng, poplar, red clover, turmeric, and willow.
Avoid using bilberry together with other herbal/health supplements that contain chromium, such as brewer's yeast, cascara, and horsetail.
Bilberry side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Although not all side effects are known, bilberry is thought to be possibly safe when taken for a short period of time.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect bilberry?
Do not take bilberry without medical advice if you are using any of the following medications:
insulin or oral diabetes medicine; or
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with bilberry, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this product guide.
- Consult with a licensed healthcare professional before using any herbal/health supplement. Whether you are treated by a medical doctor or a practitioner trained in the use of natural medicines/supplements, make sure all your healthcare providers know about all of your medical conditions and treatments.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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