They are a staple of Welsh summers – whinberries grow wild on the hills and valley sides and will be perfectly ripe in just a few weeks.
To those outside Wales, they are known as bilberries, blaeberries or whortleberries. Getting purple juice on your fingers is worth it for the taste alone – but here are 5 health reasons why we should be foraging for them:
- They have been found to be good for the eyesight. It is said that the R.A.F. pilots were given whinberry preserves to eat before they flew on night missions, as it was thought that they cured “night blindness.” Modern clinical trials have shown that they are very good for the eyes the berries contain anthrocyanosides which have been found to boost the production of rhodopsin; a pigment which improves night vision.
- People suffering from anaemia were given the fresh berries to eat because of their iron content.
- Glucoquinines in the fruit help to lower blood sugar levels.
- Anthrocyanosides are plant pigments that have excellent antioxidant properties and can combat free radicals in the body which damage cells – they are found in abundance in whinberries.
- The dried fruit has been used to treat diarrhoea, nausea and indigestion and a gargle of the fresh juice soothes sore throats and mouths.