What is it?
Be careful not to confuse blueberry with bilberry. Outside of the United States, the name "blueberry" may be used for a plant called "bilberry" in the U.S.
Blueberry is used for preventing cancer, cataracts and glaucoma and for treating ulcers, urinary tract infections (UTIs), multiple sclerosis (MS), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), colic, fever, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids. Blueberry is also used for improving circulation and memory, and as a laxative. Blueberry is used for high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, arthritis in children, and to improve movement in the elderly. It is also used to improve night vision.
Some women use blueberry for labor pains and as a tonic after miscarriage. Some men use blueberry along with other ingredients for Peyronie's disease, which involves the build-up of scar tissue in the penis.
The dried fruit and leaves are used for diarrhea.
Tea made from the dried leaves is used for sore throat and swelling (inflammation) of the mouth or the skin lining the throat.
Blueberry, along with other ingredients, is applied to the skin for the treatment of skin changes associated with diabetes.
Health providers have used blueberry juice as a contrast agent in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Contrast agents make it possible for radiologists to see and interpret the images.
Some people inhale the fumes of burning dried blueberry flowers for treatment of insanity.
How effective is it?
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for BLUEBERRY are as follows:
Possibly ineffective for...
- High blood pressure. Most research shows that taking blueberry does not reduce blood pressure.
Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...
- Loss of independence in elderly people. Early research shows that eating frozen blueberries can improve foot placement and balance in elderly people. This suggests that eating blueberries might help elderly people walk around. But eating blueberries doesn't seem to improve strength, mental function, or walking speed in elderly people.
- Arthritis in children (juvenile arthritis). Early research shows that drinking blueberry juice daily while using the medication etanercept reduces symptoms of arthritis better than the medication alone. Drinking blueberry juice might also reduce side effects caused by etanercept.
- Memory. Early research shows that drinking a single blueberry beverage does not significantly improve memory in children.
- Bad circulation.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
- Labor pains.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS).
- Peyronie's disease (build-up of scar tissue in the penis)..
- Preventing cataracts and glaucoma.
- Sore throat.
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs).
- Varicose veins.
- Other conditions.
How does it work?
Are there safety concerns?
Special precautions & warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Blueberry fruit is LIKELY SAFE when used in amounts commonly found in foods. But not enough is known about the safety of the larger amounts used for medicine. Stick to normal food amounts if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Diabetes: Blueberry might lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use blueberry products. The dose of your diabetes medications may need to be adjusted by your healthcare provider.
Surgery: Blueberry might affect blood glucose levels and could interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using blueberry at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Are there interactions with medications?
- Buspirone (BuSpar)
- The body breaks down buspirone (BuSpar) to get rid of it. Blueberry might decrease how fast the body gets rid of buspirone (BuSpar). However, this does not seem to be a concern in humans.
- Flurbiprofen (Froben)
- The body breaks down flurbiprofen (Froben) to get rid of it. Blueberry might decrease how fast the body gets rid of flurbiprofen (Froben). However, this does not seem to be a concern in humans.
- Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
- Blueberry leaves and fruit might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking blueberry leaves or fruit along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?
- Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar
- Blueberry might lower blood sugar. Using it along with other herbs and supplements that have the same effect might cause blood sugar to drop too low in some people. Some of these products include devil's claw, fenugreek, guar gum, Panax ginseng, and Siberian ginseng.
Are there interactions with foods?
- Drinking milk along with blueberries might lower the potential health benefits of blueberries. Separating the ingestion of blueberries and milk by 1-2 hours might prevent this interaction.
What dose is used?
To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.
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