Vaccinium myrtillus

A shrubby perennial growing to 1m (3ft) in height. The bright green leaves are oval, finely serrated and leathery to touch. Stems branched and erect. The bell-shaped flowers are red/pink to red/white and singular blooming in spring. Fruit is blue-black, sweet tasting and juicy.

Family: Ericaceae

Which probiotic is it in?: Blueberry/Bilberry is a key herb in Sustain.

Habit and cultivation: Native to the woodlands of Northern England, Europe and North America. Propagated from cuttings and division in autumn. Frost resistant but drought tender.

Actions (known for): Anti-galactagogue, anti-inflammatory, anti-oedematous, antioxidant, anti-platelet, astringent, vasoprotective.q


Gathered by Native Americans who believed that the berries were sent by the Great Spirit during times of famine to feed their children and therefore revered as a sacred plant. Historically used in the treatment of scurvy, lingering coughs, discharges or bleeding generally. Utilised as a dye for cloth, in soups and stews and as a rub for meat.

Parts used:


Constituents (bio available chemicals):

Anthocyanidins (flavonoid), arbutin (flavonoid), ericolin (flavonoid), myrtillin (flavonoid), tannins. Alkaloids (myrine).

Nutritional constituents:

Vitamins: C, E, K. Minerals: manganese, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium


Capillary fragility, bleeding gums, night blindness, nose bleeds, retinal damage, spider veins, varicose veins, visual fatigue. Topically: wounds, ulcers and infections.


Liquid extract (1:1): 20-40ml per week. Decoction: 2-4g dried herb 3 x daily.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia

Cautions for therapeutic doses

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