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Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) is a small (15-30 cm high) perennial shrub of the cowberry family. Blueberry stems are smooth, branched, the rhizome is long, creeping, elliptical leaves with a smooth light green color, sparse hairs and edges in the form of cloves, 1 to 3 cm long.
It blooms in late spring - early summer in solitary greenish-white flowers, ripens in July - August. Blueberries are black in color with a shimmering bluish-gray shiny coating on the outside and dark red on the inside.
Blueberry got its name from its black berries. Which are not only black themselves, but also tend to blacken the mouth of the one who eats them. The people have long noticed this property of blueberries and invariably gave them names with a common etymological root "black": blackberry, blackberry, blueberry, blackberry, etc.
Blueberries grow well only in natural conditions. Where the soil cover is not disturbed. Favorite blueberry subsoil is sour, stony loamy.
Blueberries can only be found in the Northern Hemisphere. This is true, but it grows everywhere: from the Arctic to the Mediterranean Sea, but it especially loves coniferous and mixed wet or swampy forests of the Russian North, eastern and western Siberia, the Far East. Perhaps that is why blueberries are called "Russian berries".
Blueberries should be picked in dry weather and preferably by hand. Wet after dew, fog or past rain, the berry wrinkles easily, but the dry one remains elastic and strong. Shoots with blueberry leaves are harvested before the end of fruiting, thereby preserving in them as many healthy substances as possible.
Blueberries have a beneficial effect on vision, improve its acuity and blood supply to the retina. In fact, by increasing the acidity of gastric juice, blueberries have a beneficial effect on digestion and metabolism, and remove harmful elements from the body. As an additional remedy, together with antibiotics, blueberries are used for vitamin deficiencies and dysentery. Fresh blueberries are useful for rheumatism and many skin diseases. Blueberries are especially useful for patients with diabetes mellitus, as it helps to reduce blood sugar.
Blueberries improve memory. Scientists from Peninsula Medical School came to this conclusion quite recently, when, after twelve weeks of experiments, they found out that phytochemicals contained in blueberries, flavonoids, normalize the connection between nerve cells, improve memory and concentration of human attention.
Dried blueberries are just as healthy as fresh ones. Dried blueberry leaves contain organic acids and vitamin C, while fruits are just a storehouse of all kinds of vitamins: they contain various sugars (glucose, fructose, sucrose), essential oils and numerous trace elements.
Blueberries are used as a natural coloring agent. Previously, ripe blueberry fruits were used to make purple and purple paint for painting, and in conjunction with other dyes, for dyeing fabrics. The yellow and brown colors from blueberry leaves and shoots were used for coloring the skins. In modern times, the juice obtained from blueberries is used as a food coloring for soft drinks and fruit and berry wines.
Blueberry honey is delicious. Indeed, during flowering, bees are able to collect up to 2.5 kilograms of honey from blueberry flowers in one day. Blueberry honey is very aromatic and differs from other honeys in its reddish hue.