Also known as
Arctostaphylos uva ursi, bearberry, and Kinnikinnick
Before there were antibiotics, doctors prescribed uva ursi to treat urinary tract infections. Closely related to cranberry and blueberry, uva ursi is a low-lying evergreen perennial bush whose berries are a favorite of bears, hence the name "bearberry." However, it is the leaves that are used medicinally.
Arbutin, hydroquinone, tannins, iridoids, flavonoids, volatile oils, ursolic, malic and gallic acids.
Dried leaves and stem fragments.
Traditionally used as a tea or tincture. Frequently combined with buchu, cleavers, dandelion leaf, parsley fruit, or juniper berries. May also be taken in capsule form.
Uva Ursi is a diuretic, urinary antiseptic, and astringent. It does not kill the bacteria that cause urinary tract infection. Instead, it releases complex polysaccharides that keep the bacteria "rooting" in the lining of the bladder and urethra, allowing the infectious microorganisms to be flushed away with the flow of urine. Most authorities on herbal medicine note that uva ursi is more effective when the urine is alkaline, that is, when plant foods (especially leafy greens and dried foods) are eaten in greater quantities than animal foods (smoked fish and hard cheese causing the greatest acidity). In addition to treating urinary tract infections (for which it is approved by the German Commission E), uva ursi has been reported effective against chronic diarrhea, E. coli, high blood pressure, and cold sores, herpes and vaginal infections.
Cranberry juice sweetened with sugar cancels out the benefits of uva ursi, although unsweetened cranberry juice, cranberry extracts, and whole cranberries (served without sugar) do not. Do not take vitamin C on days you take uva ursi; vitamin C cancels out its effects. Uva ursi is only appropriate for short-term use, no more than two weeks at a time, no more than 5 times a year. Uva ursi should not be taken by young children, pregnant or nursing women, or by persons with severe liver or kidney disease.
For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.