Scientific name: Vaccinium corymbosum
Description: Blueberries specifically the northern highbush blueberries are native to North America. They are perennial, deciduous, woody shrubs which are slow-growing, upright, multi-stemmed and spreading branches. Blueberry trees have flowers that are long bell- or urn-shaped white to very light pink; dark glossy green leaves that turns to brilliant red, orange, yellow, purple and/or burgundy during autumn. The fruits are 6.4–12.7 mm diameter blue-black berries.
Blueberries are eaten fresh or sold processed as individually quick frozen (IQF) fruit, purée, juice, or as jellies and jams.
Parts used: fruits/berries, leaves
Blueberries are low in calories yet packed with vitamins especially vitamin C, potassium, manganese, copper, iron and zinc. Blueberries are among the highest anti-oxidant value fruits, it is also rich in dietary fiber, anthocyanins and various phytochemicals.
Medicinal properties and uses:
Blueberries have a number of medicinal properties that have been used for generations to treat and prevent digestive orders, improve circulation, maintain eye health, and reduce inflammation.
Antioxidants have been shown to help prevent a number of long-term illnesses such as heart disease, high blood cholesterol, cancer and eye disorders such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration. Blueberries are also brain boosters and can help with memory loss and increased circulation, which may help to combat the start or progression of degenerative diseases like Parkinsons and Alzheimers. It is also a laxative and helps to treat diarrhea, ulcers, urinary tract infections (UTIs), arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), colic, fever, varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.
Vitamin C aids the formation of collagen, maintains healthy gums as well as a healthy immune system. helps maintain healthy gums and capillaries, and promotes iron absorption and a healthy immune system.
Traditionally, blueberry leaves have been used to control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.