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Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)

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Also listed as: Vaccinium vitis-idaea, Alpine cranberry
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Alpine cranberry, anthocyanin, cowberry, cranberry, Ericaceae (family), evergreen, mountain cranberry, periwinkle leaf extracts, red berries, red bilberry, red whortleberry, Vaccinium vitis-idaea, Vaccinium vitis-idaea L, Vaccinium vitis-idaea cv. Amberland, Vaccinium vitis-idea.

Background
  • Lingonberry is a food native to Scandinavia. Lingonberry has shown antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in laboratory studies.
  • Lingonberry has been used as a food and as a traditional medicine to treat inflammatory diseases and wounds in Sweden.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Cranberry juice is commonly used to prevent and treat urinary tract infections. One clinical trial using a combination of cranberry and lingonberry juice found that this was more effective. Higher quality research comparing lingonberry juice or cranberry-lingonberry juice to cranberry juice alone is needed before a recommendation can be made.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Anthelmintic (expels worms), antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitussive (cough suppressant), antiviral, cancer, expectorant (encourages coughing-up of mucus), food uses, male contraception, periodontal (gum) disease, viral encephalitis (tick-borne), wound healing.

Dosing

Adults (over 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for lingonberry supplements in adults.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for lingonberry supplements in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) or its constituents.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Lingonberry is likely safe when used in food amounts.
  • Lingonberry may not be safe in male patients in couples who are trying to become pregnant.
  • There are few adverse effects associated with lingonberry reported in the available literature. However, one animal study indicates that Vaccinium vitis leaf extract may have adverse effects on the male reproductive system.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Vaccinium vitis leaf extract may have negative effects on fertility. Lingonberry should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Extracts from dry red bilberry fruit (Vaccinium vitisidaea L.) may expel or destroy intestinal worms. Use cautiously with medications that expel worms (anthelmintics), due to possible additive effects.
  • Lingonberry may have antibacterial effects. Use cautiously with antibiotic medications, due to possible additive effects.
  • Lingonberry may have anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Lingonberry may have anti-cancer (antineoplastic) effects. Use cautiously in patients taking medications for the prevention or treatment of cancer, due to possible additive effects.
  • Lingonberry may have antioxidant activity.
  • Lingonberry may interact with cough suppressant medications; use cautiously.
  • Aqueous (water) extracts of Vaccinium vitis-idaea berries may have antiviral activity. Use cautiously with antiviral medications, due to possible additive effects.
  • Vaccinium vitis leaf extract may have negative effects on the reproductive system. Caution is advised in males who are part of couples trying to become pregnant.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Extracts from dry red bilberry fruit (Vaccinium vitisidaea L.) may expel or destroy intestinal worms. Use cautiously with herbs and supplements that expel worms (anthelmintics), due to possible additive effects.
  • Lingonberry may have antibacterial effects. Use cautiously with herbs and supplements with antibacterial activity, due to possible additive effects.
  • Lingonberry may have anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Lingonberry may have anti-cancer (antineoplastic) activity; use cautiously with herbs and supplement used to prevent or treat cancer, due to possible additive effects.
  • Lingonberry may have antioxidant activity.
  • Lingonberry may interact with herbs and supplements taken as cough suppressants.
  • Aqueous (water) extracts of Vaccinium vitis-idaea berries may have antiviral activity. Use cautiously with herbs and supplements with antiviral activity, due to possible additive effects.
  • Vaccinium vitis leaf extract may have negative effects on the reproductive system. Caution is advised in males who are part of couples trying to become pregnant.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Ehala S, Vaher M, Kaljurand M. Characterization of phenolic profiles of Northern European berries by capillary electrophoresis and determination of their antioxidant activity. J Agric Food Chem 8-10-2005;53(16):6484-6490.
  2. Ek S, Kartimo H, Mattila S, et al. Characterization of phenolic compounds from lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea). J Agric Food Chem 12-27-2006;54(26):9834-9842.
  3. Eriksson NE, Moller C, Werner S, et al. Self-reported food hypersensitivity in Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, and Russia. J Investig.Allergol.Clin Immunol 2004;14(1):70-79.
  4. Erlund I, Freese R, Marniemi J, et al. Bioavailability of quercetin from berries and the diet. Nutr Cancer 2006;54(1):13-17.
  5. Ho KY, Tsai CC, Huang JS, et al. Antimicrobial activity of tannin components from Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. J Pharm Pharmacol 2001;53(2):187-191.
  6. Jepson RG, Mihaljevic L, Craig J. Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections. Cochrane.Database.Syst.Rev 2004;(1):CD001321.
  7. Kallio H, Nieminen R, Tuomasjukka S, et al. Cutin composition of five finnish berries. J Agric Food Chem 1-25-2006;54(2):457-462.
  8. Kontiokari T, Sundqvist K, Nuutinen M, et al. Randomised trial of cranberry-lingonberry juice and Lactobacillus GG drink for the prevention of urinary tract infections in women. BMJ 6-30-2001;322(7302):1571.
  9. Sarkola T, Eriksson CJ. Effect of 4-methylpyrazole on endogenous plasma ethanol and methanol levels in humans. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2001;25(4):513-516.
  10. Sun H, Wang X, Huang R, et al. [Determination of arbutin in the herbs of Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. by RP-HPLC]. Zhongguo Zhong.Yao Za Zhi. 1997;22(9):555.
  11. Viljanen K, Kylli P, Kivikari R, et al. Inhibition of protein and lipid oxidation in liposomes by berry phenolics. J Agric Food Chem 12-1-2004;52(24):7419-7424.
  12. Wang SY, Feng R, Bowman L, et al. Antioxidant activity in lingonberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea L.) and its inhibitory effect on activator protein-1, nuclear factor-kappaB, and mitogen-activated protein kinases activation. J Agric Food Chem 4-20-2005;53(8):3156-3166.
  13. Wang X, Sun H, Fan Y, et al. Analysis and bioactive evaluation of the compounds absorbed into blood after oral administration of the extracts of Vaccinium vitis-idaea in rat. Biol Pharm Bull. 2005;28(6):1106-1108.
  14. Wu QK, Koponen JM, Mykkanen HM, et al. Berry phenolic extracts modulate the expression of p21(WAF1) and Bax but not Bcl-2 in HT-29 colon cancer cells. J Agric Food Chem 2-21-2007;55(4):1156-1163.
  15. Zheng W, Wang SY. Oxygen radical absorbing capacity of phenolics in blueberries, cranberries, chokeberries, and lingonberries. J Agric Food Chem 1-15-2003;51(2):502-509.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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