Blueberries are native to North America but are now grown around the world. Native Americans ate blueberries, and by drying them in the sun and sometimes pulverizing them, they were able to use them throughout the year. In addition to the fruit, blueberry roots and leaves were also used in teas, particularly to help women relax during childbirth. Native Americans introduced Europeans to this fruit.
Blueberries have high antioxidant levels due to the presence of anthocyanins, which are the pigments many plants produce to attract the birds and insects necessary for pollination. Lowbush (wild) blueberries have higher levels of certain antioxidant compounds than highbush varieties.
In addition to antioxidant properties, limited research suggests that blueberries may also provide anti-inflammatory effects and help maintain the health of the brain. Also, according to limited studies, Blueberin™, which contains extract from blueberry plants and components from bayberry, as well as a combination of blueberry and sea buckthorn, may help manage diabetes. At this time, however, there is a lack of human evidence in support of any clinical use of blueberries. Further research is required.
3,4-Caffeoylquinic (chlorogenic) acid, anthocyanins (cyanidin-3-O-beta-arabinose, cyanidin-3-O-beta-galactoside, cyanidin-3-O-beta-glucoside, delphinidin-3-O-beta galactoside, malvidin-3-O-beta-arabinose, malvidin-3-O-beta-galactoside, malvidin-3-O-beta-glucoside, and peonidin-3-O-beta-arabinose), Blue Ridge blueberry, bluecrop, blueray, Brightblue, Brightwell, Canadian blueberry, Cape Fear, carotenoids (zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, lutein, and cryptoxanthin), Caucasian blueberry, Chai Cherniki, chlorogenic acid, cinnamic acids, cultivated blueberry, cyanidin, cyanidin-3-rutinoside, Cyanococcus, delphinidin-3-arabinoside, delphinidin-3-galactoside, delphinidin-3-glucoside, diabetic tea, ellagic acid, flavan-3-ol monomer (+)-catechin, flavan-3-ol monomer (-)-epicatechin, Friendship, Gulf Coast blueberry, half-high, highbush blueberry, high-bush blueberry, iron, Jersey blueberry, lowbush blueberry, low-bush blueberry, malvidin-3-arabinoside, methoxyl pectin, myricetin-3-arabinoside, myrtillin, Northblue, northern highbush, Northland, O'Neal, ortho-benzoyloxyphenyl acetic acid ester, patriot blueberry, peonidin, phenolics (anthocyanins, flavonols, flavanols, ellagitannins, gallotannins, proanthocyanidins, and phenolic acids), phenylalanine ammonia-lyase, petunidin-3-galactoside, petunidin-3-glucoside, piceatannol, Polaris, Powderblue, proanthocyanidins, procyanidin, pterostilbene, quercetin-3-arabinoside, quercetin-3-glucoside, rabbit-eye blueberry, raisin-type lowbush blueberry, resveratrol, southern highbush, Star, stilbenes, Tifblue, Top Hat, triterpenoids (ursolic acid and its esters), V. angustifolium, V. angustifolium Ait., V. boreale, V. caesariense, V. corymbosum, V. darrowii, V. elliottii, V. formosum, V. fuscatum, V. hirsutum, V. koreanum, V. myrsinite, V. myrtilloides, V. pallidum, V. simulatum, V. tenellum, V. virgatum, vaccihein A, Vaccinium, Vaccinium arctostaphylos, Vaccinium ashei, velvet leaf blueberry, wild blueberry.
Note: The family Ericaceae contains the genus Vaccinium, which includes a section called Cyanococcus, composed of several species of blueberries. Other species of Vaccinium, however, are not included in the section Cyanococcus. They include cranberries, huckleberries, bilberries, and deerberries.
Selected combination products: Blueberin™ (blueberry extract, chlorogenic acid, myristic acid), BlueBerry, Maxim01 Solutions®, OptiBerry®, Radical Fruits®, TrueBlue®, Evelle.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Results from preliminary studies suggest that consuming blueberries, including freeze-dried blueberries, increases antioxidants in the blood. However, the processing of blueberries into juices may degrade some of those properties, as similar results were not found in all studies. Further research is needed before conclusions can be drawn.
Cardiovascular disease risk
The effect of blueberries on cardiovascular disease risk factors is not clear, due to a lack of well-designed studies. Further research is required.
Limited research suggests that blueberries may be useful in lowering glucose (blood sugar) or modifying other factors associated with diabetes. However, blueberries may increase blood sugar levels. Further research is required before blueberry may be suggested for individuals with diabetes.