These popular berries have been a food staple for humanity for the past 4000 yeas and had and still have a host of different uses from a treatment for scurvy, to leather dye. The 17th century English herbalist Culpeper was a great fan of bilberries and lamented the fact they were not used more in the medicine of his time. One of his recommended uses for bilberries was for "staying of the fluxes" meaning to soothe vomiting and diarrhoea. Russian folk medicine also describes their use for gastric colitis and other stomach conditions, one such may have involved the elimination of the Guardia parasite found in both humans and animals, which cause persistent diarrhoea. Modern research suggests that bilberry and a number of other berries are capable of minimising and possible eradicating Giardia. Both Russian folk medicine and western herbal medicine describe bilberries helping to balance blood sugar. The leaves of the bush have also been used for this purpose. Bilberries have a reputation for helping to maintain good eyesight and general good eye health. Their ability to strengthen the capillary wall, has made them a popular choice for herbalists as a treatment for varicose veins They are one of the richest sources of edible anthocyanins; a group of antioxidant flavonoids which help prevent cell damage. As a food bilberries are used to produce delicious jams, desserts, in baking, to make bilberry wine and flavouring liquors.