I love hedgerows – they are full of life, and can also be a great natural food source! In this blog, here’s an introduction to a fruit that’s often found in moorland hills and hedgerows that’s worth a look….the Bilberry.
What are they?
Also sometimes known as “Whortleberries”, Bilberries are a fruit that’s related to Blueberries, and they’ve been used for centuries – not just as a foodstuff, but also for their health properties.
Full of anti-oxidants, Bilberries are thought to help protect cells in the eye. Following anecdotal evidence – including from none other than British Royal Air Force pilots who said eating Bilberries before night-time flying improved their night vision in the 1940’s, there have been several trials to assess whether this is the case. Some of these trials have suggested that can indeed be a reduction in deterioration of eye health.
Bilberries are used to help with preventing macular degeneration and cataract formation.
Bilberries can also affect blood sugar levels and so is thought to have a role in helping diabetic pets. But it is essential that if your pet has diabetes that you get your Veterinary Surgeon to approve the use of Bilberries (or any other herb) before using, to prevent any complications arising.
The flavinoids in the fruit are also believed to help with improving circulation, and so it can also be found in some herbal supplements to help with Cushings Disease and Laminitis.
How to use?
The ripe fruit and leaves are used, often crushed into a supplement or as a tincture.
If your animal is unwell in any way, always get your Veterinary Surgeon to examine him/her to make sure a professional diagnosis is made and the most appropriate treatment can be put in place.
Would you like more information on other holistic approaches to animal health? Have a look at the Taranet website for advice