Aphrodisiacs are substances which are supposed to stimulate sexual desire among humans. Such substances may range from foods and herbs to animal parts and even marine creatures. While popular notion of aphrodisiacs evoke a magical and heightened effect on sexual performance, more often than not, the substances work by alleviating certain medical disorders and supplying nutrients essential for a healthy sex life. Bilberry is one such fruit which has enjoyed a long reputation of being an aphrodisiac because of its medicinal properties.
This is the fruit of a low-growing shrub in the temperate and sub-arctic regions of the world. While the botanical name of the shrub is Vaccinium myrtillus, it is known by a plethora of local names like blaeberry, whortleberry, whinberry, myrtle blueberry and faughan.
Bilberry works as an aphrodisiac
The secret of bilberry’s aphrodisiacal properties lies perhaps in its beneficial effect on the circulatory system of the body. Several clinical studies have shown that bilberry extracts are useful in the treatment of circulation disorders, varicose veins and other venous as well as arterial problems. Good circulation is essential for the free and uninterrupted supply of blood to the sex organs. Among men this is a crucial factor for the attainment and maintenance of erection and prevention of erectile disorders.
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Like most other berries, bilberry too is a powerhouse of several vitamins like A and C – nutrients essential for sexual health. Vitamin A is not only proven to be good for the eyesight but is also known to rev up the circulatory system of the body. Effective circulation as mentioned above is necessary for reaching oxygen-rich blood to the sex organs and hence vital for make sexual performance. Vitamin C is well-proven to fight infections which would otherwise weaken the body and make it incapable of enjoying sex. Additionally vitamin C is also an important factor in the proper working of the sex organs. Bilberry leaf is also rich in fatty acids, bioflavonoids, iron, zinc, and phosphorus besides containing loeanolic and ursolic acids, magnesium, selenium, and trace amounts of sodium & calcium. In this way, nutrients which build up the immune system of the body and help it to combat infections are indirect but important aids to sexual health.
Berries are rich sources of antioxidants which help the body to fight the effects of aging internally as well as externally. Antioxidants are chemicals which protect the body from damage by free radicals and hence help it to look and feel younger for a longer period of time. Bilberry like cranberries and strawberries is a potent source of antioxidants which enable the body to maintain its vigor and vitality besides strengthening the immune system and protecting it from infections. Bilberry like other berries gains its antioxidant property from the presence of a complex of chemicals known as anthocyanins which give the berries its rich dark color. Several studies into chemical constituents of Bilberry have shown that the fruit contains over 15 kinds of anthocyanosides, one of the highest concentrations of anthocyanins comparable to cranberries and blueberries. Some of the anthocyanins present in bilberries are cyanidin - the highest among the anthocyanins, delphinidin, petunidin, malvinidin and peonidin. These various types of anthocyanins are responsible for the making the fruit a potent tool in fighting infections as well as the effects of aging – conditions necessary to have a healthy sexual experience.
The chemical compounds present in Bilberry are also being studied for their ability to fight cancerous cells. In fact according to a study carried out by scientists at the Department of Pharmacy Sciences, Creighton University Medical Center, Omaha, NE it was found that bilberry extract in combination with extracts of other berries like cranberries, raspberries, wild blueberries, elderberries and strawberries could decrease tumor growth by as much as 50%. Yet another striking therapeutic effect of bilberry is the area of vision disorders and it is particularly useful in treating eye strain, visual acuity, day and night blindness, retinal disturbances, myopia, pigmentary retinitis and diabetes-induced cataract. Though not directly leading to the enhancement of male libido these therapeutic effects of bilberry nevertheless contribute to an overall healthy body which is necessary for a healthy sex life.
Since it is a fruit, bilberry can be consumed in a raw form or made into jams, fools juices and pies. However it is softer and juicier than blueberries which makes it difficult to transport. Hence in the fresh form, it is available only at select gourmet stores in the producing regions. In the frozen form, however bilberries can be got all through the year at stores in Europe and North America. In order to obtain the most of its nutritional and therapeutic properties, bilberry is generally taken as an extract the liquid form or as capsules. The usual dosage for fresh berries is 55 to 115 grams three times a day and for dried berries it is 4 to 8 grams with water twice a day. For the liquid extract, it is 5 to 15 drops twice daily or as advised by a herbal practitioner.
How safe is use of bilberry
Taken in limited quantities, bilberry does not appear to have side effects. However it too much of the fruit is eaten, like any other berry it might lead to digestive problems. By itself, bilberry extracts are not recommended for very long use. Herbal practitioners usually suggest taking a break of a week after every two to three weeks of using bilberry extracts.
In popular imagination berries with their exotic colors and intense flavors are natural choices for aphrodisiacs. Bilberry too looks attractive with its vivid blue color and is cherished for its sweet-sour flavor. In fact bilberry has a long history of being used as a flavoring agent for sorbets, desserts and liqueurs. The sensual appeal of the fruit combined with its many medicinal properties makes it a valuable aid in stirring the erotic imagination of lovers besides making the body fit and ready for amorous pleasures.