The blueberry has long had a reputation for containing antioxidants and having many nutritional benefits for the body. What most people don't know is that the leaf of the blueberry plant has many nutritional benefits as well.
Reducing Blood Sugar
People who take blueberry leaf extract in supplement form can cut their blood sugar totals by up to one-fourth, according to several studies. Patients with Type 2 diabetes have experienced significant blood glucose reductions as a result of blueberry leaf extract in several studies.
So how does it work? The extract has caffeoylquinic acid, which keeps one of our enzymes from turning food-based sugars into blood sugar. If less sugar becomes blood sugar that keeps levels down.
Fighting Inflammation in the Body
Blueberries and cherries both have anthocyanins (if you recognize the word “cyan” in there, you'll notice that these are the chemicals that make blueberries blue), which not only give pigment but also combat inflammation, and can also counteract diabetes-related damage to retinal blood vessels – which happens to be the number one cause of blindness in the U.S.
If you eat blueberries, your triglyceride totals will go down – a research-proven fact. Fewer triglycerides mean less cholesterol and less risk of heart disease.
Preventing Brain Disorders
There are studies suggesting that a blueberry leaf extract regimen can help keep you from developing Alzheimer's disease, other mental illnesses, and can reduce damage from strokes, all based on anti-inflammatory properties.
Fighting Hepatitis C
A research study demonstrated that a concentrated proanthocyanidin in blueberry leaf extract combats viral replication of hepatitis C – and the related ingredient of that proanthocyanidin is epicatechin, a nutrient also found in green tea and grapes, as well as other fruits.
If you want to augment the effect of the extract, you can juice fresh blueberries, and add the juice to green tea. You can also steep them in hot water – or add blueberries to blueberry leaf tea.
When it comes to antioxidant properties, there are few fruits that rival the blueberry. Taking the leaf extract can concentrate the effects for you. As with any nutritional supplement, though, talk to your doctor before beginning an extended regimen, in case there are any health risks specific to your situation.