Vaccinium myrtillus

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-03-18 (EDT)

See Also Botanical Monographs

Bilberry (Vaccinum myrtillus) is best known as a herb for eye health. To explore the characteristics, medicinal uses and prescribing considerations of this herb in more detail, check out the references indicated. [1], [2]



Medicinal Uses:


  • Eye Health
  • Other Uses
  • Acute or chronic dysentery/summer diarrhea due to ingestion of contaminated water
  • Mouth or throat ulcers, aphthous ulcers (gargle, take internally)
  • Cystitis with urgency and anuria or oliguria (better efficacy in alkaline pH)
  • Diabetes mellitus, glucose in the urine, hyperglycemia (as tea three times daily or a tincture)

Fresh Berry

Dried Berry

  • Diarrhea in infants and adults (dried or made into a decoction, Sig. 1 Tbsp every 1-3 hours); also take for acute emesis (vomiting)
  • Stomatitis, gingivitis, chronic pharyngitis, glossitis, periodontitis, smoker's cough (infusion form the dried better, gargle, or consume internally)
  • Degenerative retinal disease, atherosclerosis


Prescribing Considerations

The information provided is intended to augment the treatment from a naturopathic doctor or other trained medical professional. Although most herbs are generally safe, it is recommended that you avoid self-prescribing especially when there is an underlying ongoing medical condition, if you are on any prescription medications or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Formulations and Preparation

  • Tincture - Leaf 30 drops three times daily
  • Dried berry - 20-60g once daily (~1/4 cup)
  • Berry - 15g, boil 3 Tbsp in 500mL of water for 10 minutes, drink 1 glass daily; also beneficial to buy and freeze blueberries, can consume juice from berries
  • Decoction - Leaf, 1-3 Tbsp/0.5L of water, boil for 10 minutes, let leaves steep for a few minutes as they are quite leathery, strain, drink three times daily
  • Standardized extract - 25% anthocyanidin content, 160-250mg daily
  • Topical - 10% decoction of berry


The safety and prescribing considerations for Bilberry include: [3], [4]

  • Generally regarded as safe.
  • Side-effects are generally not seen.
  • Drug-Herb Interactions. [3]
  • Antiplatelet Thromboprophylactics (e.g., Aspirin) - Potential or theoretical adverse interaction of uncertain severity, improbable interaction; Vaccinum potentially interacts with antiplatelets causing an additive pharmacodynamic increase in antiplatelet activity. This may theoretically increase the likelihood of bleeding disorders related to disturbances in primary hemostasis.


  1. Boon Heather, Smith Michael (2009) 55 Most Common Medicinal Herbs: The Complete Natural Medicine Guide Second Edition Institute of Naturopathic Education and Research, CCNM Toronto.
  2. Godfrey Anthony, Saunders Paul, Barlow Kerry, Gowan Matt (2011) Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine, Advanced Botanical Medicine. V3 CCNM Press, Toronto.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Stargrove Mitchell Bebell, Treasure Jonathan, McKee Dwight L (2008) Herb, Nutrient and Drug Interactions: Clinical Implications and Therapeutic Strategies.
  4. Brinker Francis (2010) Herbal Contraindications and Drug Interactions: Plus Herbal Adjuncts With Medicines, 4th Edition Eclectic Medical Publications.