• Bilberries
  • Bilberries
  • Bilberries




Name of the plant Vaccinium myrtillus
Part of the plant used Berries

Vaccinium myrtillus is a small deciduous shrub belonging to the Ericaceae family. The genus Vaccinium comprises almost 200 species which are most commonly found in Europe, Asia and Northern America. European Bilberry grows wild to a height of six to twenty-four inches and often forms large, dominant colonies.


Linnea extract is obtained exclusively from the fruits of shrubs native to the wilds of Northern and Eastern European Countries, which are recognized to have the most effective active substance composition.

Fruits are widely harvested and checked carefully prior to shipment. Bilberries fruits are soft and juicy and thus highly susceptible to damage. Linnea staff is present on site to monitor all procedures involved in harvesting, cleaning, refrigerating, storing and transporting the fruits and to guarantee raw material quality from harvest to delivery.

Technical Description
Name of the plant Vaccinium myrtillus L.
Part of the plant used Berries
Description Fresh Bilberry Fruit Dry Extract, Refined and Standardised
CAS number 84082-34-8
Appearance Dark-violet, amorphous and hygroscopic powder
Solubility Insoluble in acetone and chloroform, partially soluble in water
Storage Preserve in tight container, protected from light, heat and humidity.

Structural Formula

Bilberry extract contains anthocyanosides, tannins and flavonoids that have been largely studied for their antioxidant effects protecting against free radical damage. [1]
Anthocyanins and other phenolics from bilberry up-regulate defences against oxidative stress, influencing genes controlled by the antioxidant response element, [2] inhibiting the enzymes that cause the degradation of collagen fibres and promoting biosynthesis. The resulting effect is the decrease in capillary permeability and fragility and the inhibition of platelet aggregation. Bilberry constituents prevent the release and synthesis of pro-inflammatory compounds. [1,2,3]

The documented effect on night vision is mainly related to the recovery of rhodopsin, which improves ocular blood flow and lowers intraocular pressure, favourably modifying several enzymatic parameters involved in retina damage. [4]

Bilberry fingerprint

HPLC profile of Bilberry extract shows a typical fingerprint characterized by the 15 major constituents.

Linnea Bilberry Fruit Dry Extract EP

European Pharmacopoeia Standard

Common Applications and Evidence

Eye health and vision improvement

Taken orally, Bilberry extract improves visual acuity in healthy individuals and it is a valid support in the treatment of eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma and myopia. [4,5,6] In severe eye diseases (retinopathy, glaucoma and toxic amblyoplia), anthocyanosides mitigate retinal vessel abnormalities and help to prevent visual field disorders. [6,7,8] They are effective in preventing and inhibiting the development of the early stages of diabetic retinopathy. [8,9] Significant improvements have been observed in ophthalmoscopic and angiographic parameters of patients receiving Bilberry for one month. [8,9]

Vasoprotective activity

Epidemiological investigations have indicated that anthocyanins consumption through the intake of products such as bilberry juice, red wine or Bilberry extract reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. [10,11] Bilberry preparations are used in the prevention and as adjuvants in the treatment of vascular and blood disorders such as varicose veins, thrombosis and angina. [12,15] Clinical trials have shown improvements in patients with lower limb varicose veins, thocyanosides had a vasoprotective effect, combating reduced capillary resistance symptoms such as petechiae, bruising and faecal occult blood. [10,11,12,13]

Antiulcer and astringent activity

For its content in tannins, bilberry extract is used as astringent and to treat diarrhoea. In animal models of gastric ulcers, cyanidin chloride contained in Bilberry extract showed antiulcer activity. [14] Bilberry extract is used against haemorrhoid of pregnant women as totally natural product, [13] it is also used in ENT surgery to reduce intra-and post-operative bleeding and to prevent the onset of haemorrhagic complications, by reducing the idiopathic epistaxis caused by abnormal capillary fragility. [14,15]

Free radical scavenging, antioxidant and chemopreventive activities

Anthocyanins have demonstrated an inhibitory effect on the growth of some cancer cells and, due to their global chemoprotective effect, they are recommended in the prevention of a range of diseases (atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and chronic inflammation). [10,16] Bilberry extract plays an important role in protecting against restraint stress-induced liver damage by both scavenging free radicals and inhibiting lipid peroxidation. [10,16] Free radical quenching activity has been determined by the ORAC test measuring the antioxidant capacity. Bilberry exhibited the most potent antioxidant activity (44.6 ± 2.3) among different berries species. [16,17,18]

Bibliografic References
  1. Monograph. Vaccinium myrtillus (Bilberry). Altern Med Rev. Oct; 6(5):500-4. (2001)
  2. Anthocyanosides and microvessel walls: new findings on the mechanism of action of their protective effect in syndromes due to abnormal capillary fragility. Minerva Med; 68(52):3565-3581 (1977). Mian E.
  3. Anthocyanins in Cardiovascular Disease. Developing Solutions, LLC, Washington, American Society for Nutrition. Adv. Nutr. 2: 1–7 (2011). Taylor C. Wallace
  4. Effects of Mirtogenol on ocular blood flow and intraocular hypertension in asymptomatic subjects. Mol Vis (2008); 14:1288-1292. Steigerwalt, R. D., Gianni, B., Paolo, M., Bombardelli, E., Burki, C., and Schonlau, F.
  5. Anthocyanosides in the treatment of retinopathies. 1981 May; 178(5):386-9. Scharrer A, Ober M. Klin Monbl Augenheilkd.
  6. Monitoraggio perimetrico di soggetti miopi in trattamento farmacologico a lungo termine con un'associazione tra antocianosidi e vitamine. Boll. Ocul. 1990, 69 (1), 57-71. Gandolfo E. Natural Therapies for Ocular Disorders Part Two
  7. Cataracts and Glaucoma. Altern Med Rev. 126: 10619- 10631. Kathleen Head, ND (2004).
  8. Diabetic and hypertensive retinopathy therapy with Vaccinium myrtillus anthocyanosides (Tegens). Double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Ann Ottalmol Clin Ocul 1987;113:1173. Perossini M, et al.
  9. Diabetic cataracts and flavonoids. Science 1977;195:87-89. Varma SD, Mizuno A, Kinoshita JH.
  10. Studies on Vaccinium myrtillus anthocyanosides. I. Vasoprotective and anti-inflammatory activity. Arzneim Forsch 1976; 26:829-832. Lietti A, Cristoni A, Picci M.
  11. Anthocyanin supplementation improves serum LDL- and HDL-cholesterol concentrations associated with the inhibition of cholesteryl ester transfer protein in dyslipidemic subjects. Am J Clin Nutr.; 90(3):485-92. Epub 2009 Jul 29. QinY,XiaM,MaJ,HaoY,LiuJ,MouH,CaoL,LingW(2009).
  12. Effects of Vaccinium myrtillus anthocyanosides on arterial vasomotion. Arzneim Forsch 1991; 41:905-909. Colantuoni A, Bertuglia S, Magistretti MJ, Donato L.
  13. Contributo al trattamento delle flebopatie da stasi in gravidanza. Minerva Ginecol. 1980, 32, 1-10. Grismondi G.L.
  14. Antiulcer and healing activity of Vaccinium myrtillus anthocyanosides. 1987 Feb; 42(2):29-43. Cristoni A, Magistretti MJ. Farmaco Prat.
  15. Gli antocianosidi da Vaccinium Myrtillus nella cura delle flebopatie da stasi degli arti inferiori. Gaz. Med. It. 1980, 139, 217-224. Tori A.
  16. Molecular Mechanisms Behind the Chemopreventive Effects of Anthocyanidins. J Biomed Biotechnol. (5): 321– 325 (2004). De-Xing Hou, Makoto Fujii, Norihiko Terahara, and Makoto Yoshimoto.
  17. Antioxidant capacity as influenced by total phenolic and anthocyanin content, maturity, and variety of Vaccinium species. J Agric Food Chem. 46: 2686- 93. (1998) Prior RL, Cao G, Martin A, Sofic E, McEwen J, O'Brien C, Lischner N, Ehlenfeldt M, Kalt W, Krewer G and others.
  18. Bilberry juice modulates plasma concentration of NF- kappaB related inflammatory markers in subjects at increased risk of CVD. Eur J Nutr. 2010 Sep; 49(6):345-55. Karlsen A, Paur I, Bøhn SK, Sakhi AK, Borge GI, Serafini M, Erlund I, Laake P, Tonstad S, Blomhoff R