ALBANIA. Uva Ursi (Arctostaphylus uva-ursi) Leaf, Certified Organic
Common names: Bearberry, Bear Grape, Hogberry, Kinnikinnik, Pinemat Manzanita, Ptarmigan Berry, Sandberry, Busserole, Faux Buis, Sagackhomi
Uva Ursi is a small woody evergreen flowering ground cover, growing up to 12 inches high. It grows all over the northern regions of the world, in North America, Europe, and Asia, and at higher altitudes further south.
Native Americans ate the berries; smoked the leaves; and used the leaves in medicinal teas, as an eyewash, hair wash, and mouthwash, and especially for bladder and kidney issues. Bearberry is well established as an herbal treatment for urinary tract infections and inflammations: cystitis, urethritis, mild nephritis, bedwetting, and prostatitis. It is widely known as a urinary antiseptic, antibacterial, astringent, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, tonic, oxytocic, hemostatic, astringent, and demulcent herb.
Uva Ursi's antimicrobial action is attributed to arbutin, a hydroquinone glycoside that converts to hydroquinone in alkaline urine. (Cranberry juice may decrease the effect of Uva Ursi, and sometime baking soda is given with the herb to alkalize acidic urine.) It also contains allantoin, tannins, and beta carotene.
As of 1982, hydroquinone had been classified by the FDA as GRASE (generally recognized as safe and effective), and the compound is found in propolis, a resin produced by bees and included in many natural products, and in castoreum, a beaver secretion used as perfume ingredient and food additive. More recently, concerns have been raised about hydroquinone’s safety for longterm use, although studies published in 2013 and 2014 appear to confirm its safety and effectiveness as a medicine for UTIs. (As we note elsewhere, self treatment for urinary tract infections is not recommended.) Uva Ursi should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.