Bilberry Nectar historical use
Similarly to several wild animal species, it is presumable that the human consumption of wild bilberries (vaccinium myrtillus) is very ancient and could even drive us back to pre-historical times. This fact is confirmed by findings in several archaeological sites. In Tyrol, a body of an Iceman found in 1991 confirm the existence of pollen from vaccinium sp. in the digestive tract.
The first known use of wild bilberries, concerning health, bring us back to the XIII century, when the physician and Benedictine abbess St. Hildegard of Bingen made reference to it.
The next references about uses of bilberries, related to its health value, date from the early 16th century, when German herbalists claimed of its use to treat bladder stones, as well as lung and liver disorders. The fruit of “myrtillus” was also included in the first Amsterdam Pharmacopeia in the first half of the XVII century. References are also found of several traditional uses of bilberries, even before the 16th century, to treat diarrhoea, haemorrhoids, gastrointestinal inflammation and urinary disorders.
During the Second World War, RAF pilots reported that after eating bilberry jam their night vision improved significantly. After this, during the second half of the 20th century, extensive research was carried out about the composition and healthy properties of bilberries, namely about its antioxidant power and its effects on eyes, blood and vascular system. It has been found that many of the healthy properties of bilberries are linked to its high anthocyanin content (the highest among vaccinium species) as well as other flavonoids and phenols.
Recently, due to its healthy properties, bilberries are also available dried, in powder, in extracts or as pressed juices. But, when first choice fruits are available, why should one skip the fantastic taste of fresh wild fruit, packed with the balance of all its original nutrients?
BETULUM – Wild Bilberry Nectar, the purity of the forest “packed” in a bottle.