The bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus/Myrtilli fructus) belongs to the heather family (Ericaceae). It is endemic to the temperate climate zones of Northern Europe and Asia and thrives in semi-shady locations such as deciduous and coniferous forests. The strong, bluish violet colour of bilberries are indicative of the high amount of potent phytochemicals they contain.
Well-known herbalists such as Pastor Künzle (Chrut & Uchrut) and Hildegard from Bingen (Liber compositae medicinae) were aware of the power of these small blue berries centuries ago. Back then, just like today, the fruits of the plant were used primarily, but the leaves were appreciated in herbalism as well. The plant is used both fresh and dried.
Since then, bilberries have gained wider attention and were more recently included in a number of renowned national and international monographs such as ESCOP and WHO.