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Uva Ursi Leaf, (Arctostaphylos spp., including A. alpina, A. glauca, A. manzanita, A. nevadensis, A. polifolia, A. pungens, A. rubra, A. uva-ursi) Powder Bulk
Ericaceae (Heath Family)
The genus name Arctostaphylos is from the Greek arcto, meaning "bear," and staphyles, meaning "bunch of berries or grapes," hence the common name bearberry. The species name uva-ursi also translates as bearberry, deriving from the Latin uva, meaning "grape," and ursi, meaning "of the bear." The common name manzanita is Spanish for "little apple," as the berries look like the apples.
Range of Appearance
Uva-ursi is a small, low-growing evergreen shrub native to Asia, Europe, and North America. It is often found growing in woodlands at elevations of up to 10,000 feet in coarse, gravelly soil. The tips of the shrub grow upright to a height of 20 inches, at the most. The stems trail, forming a carpet. The leaves are alternate, obovate, shiny on top, and paler below, and they have a leathery texture. The pale pink, bell-shaped flowers grow in terminal clusters. The fruit is a small scarlet berry with mealy pulp.
Leaf (primarily), fruit (rarely)
Antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral, astringent, bladder tonic, demulcent, diuretic, genitourinary antiseptic, lithotriptic, parturient, vasoconstrictor
Uva-ursi has been used by European herbalists to treat kidney problems since the Middle Ages. In North America, the Cheyenne and Sioux used it to promote labor contractions, and it was included in the United States Pharmacopoeia from 1820 until 1936. Uva-ursi clears heat and toxins, reduces inflammation, stimulates kidney activity, and curbs infection. In the urinary tract arbutin, one of this herb's constituents, is converted to hydroquinine, which helps to alkalinize the urine, thereby inhibiting urinary tract infection. Uva-ursi also soothes and promotes the healing of urinary tissue.
Uva-ursi is used in the treatment of bedwetting, bladder infection, bladder stones, blood in the urine, Bright's disease, bronchitis, cystitis, diabetes, diarrhea, dysmenorrhea, dysuria, endometriosis, enuresis, gallstones, gonorrhea, herpes, incontinence, kidney infection, kidney stones, leukorrhea, nephritis, pelvic inflammatory disease, pulmonary edema, syphilis, urethritis, and urinary tract infection. It also can be used to prevent postpartum infection.
Topically, uva-ursi can be made into a compress, poultice, or wash to treat boils, bruises, burns, hives, poison ivy or oak, skin rash, sprains, thrush, and wounds. It can be used as a mouthwash to treat canker sores, thrush, and weak gums; as a hair rinse to treat dandruff; as a douche to treat vaginal infections and ulcerations; and as a sitz bath after childbirth to prevent excessive bleeding and promote tissue repair.
The leaves are not generally considered edible, aside from making tea. The berries can be eaten raw or cooked. They are bland, but they do help quench thirst and stimulate saliva flow and can be used as survival food. They are best, however, when mixed with other foods such as fruits or juices.
Uva-ursi is used to tan leather in Scandinavia. Not coincidentally, it also can be prepared as a foot soak to help toughen the feet, which can be useful for hikers. The leaves are sometimes included in smoking mixtures. The leaves yield a yellowish brown dye. The mashed berries were once applied as a waterproofing agent on cedar baskets.
Calcium, chromium, iron, potassium, selenium, glycosides (arbutin, ericolin), flavonoids (quercitin, myricacitrin), allantoin, tannins, ellagic acid, gallic acid, malic acid, ursolic acid, resin (ursone)
Use for ideally no longer than one week (take a one week break and then resume, if needed). Large or frequent doses may be irritating to the stomach mucosa and could possibly cause nausea and vomiting. Long-term use may be constipating; it can be beneficial to combine it with a demulcent herb such as cornsilk, or marshmallow root.
Avoid during pregnancy, as uva-ursi may decrease circulation to the uterus. Arbutin inhibits the breakdown of insulin and should be used cautiously by those that are hypoglycemic. It can turn urine a greenish color, due to the hydroquinone, though this effect is not harmful.
Plant details were provided by iPlant by Brigitte Mars.
Hyperlink it to https://brigittemars.com/iplant-app/