What: Bilberry is any of several species of low-growing shrubs in the genus Vaccinium (family Ericaceae), bearing edible berries. The species most often referred to is Vaccinium myrtillus L., but there are several other closely related species (Wiki).
Bilberry fruit contains dense levels of anthocyanin pigments which experimental studies have shown possible links to lowered risk for diseases of the heart, cardiovascular system, eyes, and certain cancers. Bilberry extract has been used historically as a tonic to prevent some infections and skin diseases. Today the fruit is used to treat gastrointestinal issues, menstrual cramps, eye problems, varicose veins, and other circulatory problems. This does not include Bilberry leaf extract, which is used to treat entirely different condition (NCCAM).
Origin: Bilberries are found in very acidic, nutrient-poor soils throughout the temperate and subarctic regions of the world. They are closely related to North American wild and cultivated blueberries and huckleberries in the genus Vaccinium. One characteristic of bilberries is that they produce single or paired berries on the bush instead of clusters, as the blueberry does. The fruit can be eaten or made into extracts for topical use.
Products Found In: Facial moisturizers, treatments, anti-aging skincare, facial cleansers, toners/astringents, acne treatments, exfoliants, skin fading/lighteners, eye creams. (EWG).
Toxicity: Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) is generally classified as non-toxic or harmful. (EWG).