Native to Spain and known in England as bearberry, uva ursi is low-lying ground cover that grows in sandy soil in Europe and North America. North Indians have long used it mixed with tobacco in a smoking mixture called kinnickinnik. The medicinal part of the plant are the leaves, which grow about an inch long and are dried before use.
Potential Health Benefits
Traditionally, and currently, uva ursi leaf is employed to help support urinary tract health concerns, and is approved for that purpose by Commission E. Uva ursi is also a key ingredient in herbal weight-loss formulas because it has a diuretic effect. Bear in mind that water-loss doesn't translate into long-term weight loss; more exercise and fewer calories are the most effective parts of any weight-loss plan.
Uva ursi has a disinfectant effect, thanks to its active ingredient, asbutin, which is transformed in the urinary tract into hydroquinone. Uva ursi gets its diuretic properties from ursolic acid. Uva ursi is also high in astringent tannins. Another constituent, allantoin, is the active ingredient in skin creams such as Herpicin-L Cold Sore Lip Balm, but Commission E doesn't address this use of the herb and its derivatives.
How to Use the Herb
Commission E recommends average daily doses of 3 grams of the herb in 2/3 cup of water taken up to 4 times per day, or 400-840 milligrams of water-free arbutin. Uva ursi leaves must be soaked overnight to neutralize their harsh tannins.
Several herbals point out that uva ursi works best when one's urine is alkaline; so, eat noncitrus fruits and vegetables if you're taking this drug, or use a little sodium bicarbonate to ensure alkalinity. Avoid acid-rich foods such as cranberry juice, citrus fruits, and sauerkraut.
If you're using the herb to lose weight, be sure to replace the potassium that diuretics drive out of the body; eating bananas is an easy, tasty way of doing that.
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Stir 1/4 of a teaspoon into a glass of water and consume 3 times daily, with meals.
Not for prolonged use without consulting a health practitioner.
May cause green color in urine.
Discontinue use if nausea or upset stomach occurs.
Contraindicated in kidney disorders and irritated digestive conditions.
Uva ursi shouldn't be used by lactating women or by pregnant women, as it can cause uterine contractions, or by children under 12.
Commission E warns that the herb can cause nausea and vomiting in persons with sensitive stomachs. There are no known interactions with other drugs.
The commission cautions that "Medications containing arbutin should not be taken for longer than a week or more than 5 times a year without consulting a physician."
More Photographs - Uva Ursi Leaf (Bearberry) Powder
End of More Photographs - Uva Ursi Leaf (Bearberry) Powder
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease. If conditions persist, please seek advice from your medical doctor. Information provided at ZooScape.com relies partly on Traditional Uses. The essence of the current American rule on Traditional Uses is, as stated by FTC, "Claims based on historical or traditional use should be substantiated by confirming scientific evidence, or should be presented in such a way that consumers understand that the sole basis for the claim is a history of use of the product for a particular purpose."