Berries For Diabetes? How To Use Bilberry For Diabetes

Many people with diabetes look for natural ways to manage their disease. Of course a proper diet and exercise plan are essential, but many look for other natural methods of diabetes management. One possible herb that has been used for diabetes is bilberry, also known as Vaccinium myrtillus.

How Bilberry Works

Bilberry is thought to work for diabetes because its leaves contain polyphenols, tannins, flavonoids, and a high concentration of chromium. Preliminary evidence suggests that bilberry leaf extract may lower blood glucose, as well as triglycerides and cholesterol. In addition, specific chemicals called glucokinin and neomirtilline have been identified in bilberry leaf and are theorized to lower blood glucose. Finally, the flavonoids in bilberry leaf are thought by some researchers to be helpful in diabetic circulation disorders.

Generally Recognized As Safe But Not Without Risks

Although classified as generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration, using bilberry is not without risks. Death can occur if chronically taken at doses of 1/5mg/kg/day or higher. It should also be avoided in pregnant or lactating women. In addition, it may not be sufficient or appropriate treatment. In addition it may also interact with diabetic medications. Use of bilberry should only be considered under the supervision of a medical doctor.

Ways To Use Bilberry

If your healthcare provider has approved use of bilberry, there are a variety of ways to take it. A typical dose of dried, ripe, bilberries is 20 to 60 grams daily. It can also be prepared as a drink. 5 to 10 grams or 1-2 teaspoons of mashed berries should be mixed in cold water, brought to a boil, and allowed to simmer for 10 minutes before straining. In addition, bilberry tea can be prepared using 1 gram of finely chopped dried leaf in 150 ml of boiling water for 5-10 minutes and then straining. Capsules of the leaf extract are also commercially available.

Avoid Taking bilberry With Some Medications and Herbs

The evidence for the use of bilberry to manage diabetes blood sugar level is still preliminary. Theoretically it works to lower blood sugar and so should be avoided with other herbs or medications that also lower blood sugar. Avoid taking bilberry with antidiabetic drugs and insulins, as well as devil's claw, fenugreek, garlic, guargum, horse chestnut, Panax ginseng, psyllium, and Siberian ginseng. Only use bilberry as part of a plan approved of by your healthcare provider.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/202.html

http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/bilberry-herbal-remedies.htm

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2007

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