Arctostaphylos uva ursi (L.) Sprengel (Ericaceae), commonly called Bearberry (Arctostaphylos is Greek for bearberry). In French, it is Rasin d'ours or Busserole; in German, Bärentraube and, Bärentraubenblätter.
Supports are made from the dried leaves. The plant is a trailing perennial ground cover that resembles cranberry. Even though it is the berries that attract bears, they are not thought to have any health value. Only the leaves are used for healths. Uva ursi grows in most temperate climates. It probably came originally from northern Asia.
The Greeks and Romans used this shrub to help support urinary tract symptoms, and the practice continued well on into the Middle Ages. As herbal supportives have become more popular, there has been renewed interest in using uva ursi to help support an assortment of urinary tract afflictions.
Traditional Support Uses
Urinary tract anti-inflammatory
Commission E Recommendations
Uva ursi can be used to help support inflammation of the urinary tract.
The active ingredients are thought to be a molecule called arbutin, and a related compound called hydroquinone, along with tannins and flavonoids. If the urine happens to be alkaline, arbutin and hydroquinone assume an active form that can fight the growth of bacteria. This means that to get the maximal effect, bicarbonate, or something similar, has to be taken along with the uva ursi. There is also some evidence that uva ursi extracts might help to dissolve or fight uric acid kidney stones. Unfortunately, the vast majority (85 percent) of kidney stones are made of calcium, not uric acid. Even more unfortunate is the fact that there are no clinical trials to back up any of these claims.
Grases F, Melero G, Costa-Bauza A, Prieto R, March JG. Urolithiasis and phytotherapy. mt Urol Nephrol 1994;26(5):507-1 1.
Matsuda H, Tanaka T, Kubo M. [Pharmacological studies on leaf of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng. III. Combined effect of arbutin and indomethacin on immuno-inflammation]. Yakugaku Zasshi 1991;111(4-5):253-8.
Matsuda H, Higashino M, Nakai Y, linuma M, Kubo M, Lang FA. Studies of cuticle drugs from natural sources. IV. Inhibitory effects of some Arctostaphylos plants on melanin biosynthesis. Biol Pharm Bull 1996;19(1):153-6.
Ritch-Krc EM, Thomas S, Turner NJ, Towers GH. Carrier herbal health: traditional and contemporary plant use. J Ethnophrmcol 1996;52(2):85-94.
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More Photographs - Uva Ursi and Dandelion Combination - 450 mg
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* 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."