Latin name: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Other name: uva ursi
What is Bearberry?
The uva ursi herb, which is more commonly known as bearberry, is a small evergreen shrub that grows in cool temperate regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. The leaves of the plant are used in herbal medicine.
What are the health benefits of Bearberry?
The astringent leaves of the bearberry shrub are used to treat diarrhea, dysentery, as well as bladder and urinary tract infections. Early European settlers in the Americas made a tea from the leaves to use as an astringent to treat nephritis, kidney stones, and diseases of the urinary system. Bearberry was long used as a urinary antiseptic by physicians; it was in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1926. Bearberry contains chemicals that kill or inhibit bacteria in the urinary tract.
What are the guidelines for taking Bearberry?
Dried bearberry leaves are formulated in capsules, tablets, teas, and tinctures. In Europe, coated tablets that dissolve in the intestinal tract—instead of the stomach—are available, which helps minimize the potential side effects of taking bearberry. The leaves should contain 6% or more of arbutin for reliable results.
Are there any precautions for taking Bearberry?
Bearberry is high in tannins, which can produce stomachaches, nausea, and vomiting. Thus, if you have a weak stomach, avoid bearberry. Overuse may cause liver damage. It is not to be taken during pregnancy and generally not recommended for children. Use should not be continued for more than a week except under the direction of a physician.
Where can I find Bearberry?
Bearberry can be found at natural food stores, online, and at Western herbal pharmacies.
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