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What is a bilberry?

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Quick Answer

The bilberry is a Northern European perennial shrub that is similar to the blueberry, cranberry and huckleberry. Due to their beneficial contents, the medical community frequently uses bilberries to treat a broad array of conditions.

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Full Answer

The 16-inch bilberry, with its wrinkled, black berries and its sharp, green branches, resembles the American blueberry in both appearance and taste. The pigments and key compounds within the bilberry, known as anthocyanosides, possess antioxidant properties that make them useful in preventing and treating illnesses, including macular degeneration, heart disease and cancer. Damaging particles known as free radicals lead to such diseases in the first place, and the antioxidants found in bilberries find these particles and can either prevent or reverse their damage to the body's cells. Bilberry fruit also contains tannins, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

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