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erbal Medicine Materia Medica


© David L. Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi


Names : Uva Ursi

Habitat : Britain, Central and Northern Europe, North America.

Collection : The evergreen leaves may be collected throughout the year, but preferably in spring and summer.

Part Used : The leaves.

Constituents :

  • Hydroquinones; mainly arbutin (hydroquinone[[beta]]-glucoside) and methylarbutin
  • Iridoids, monotropein
  • Flavonoids, quercitrin, isoquercitrin, myricacitrin and others
  • Miscellaneous; tannins, volatile oil, ursolic, malic and gallic acids.
Actions : Diuretic, astringent, anti-microbial, demulcent.

Indications : Uva Ursi has a specific antiseptic and astringent effect upon the membranes of the urinary system. It will generally soothe, tone and strengthen them. It is specifically used where there is gravel or ulceration in the kidney or bladder. It may be used in the treatment of infections such aspyelitis and cystitis or as part of a holistic approach to more chronic kidney problems. It has a useful role to play in the treatment of gravel or a calculus in the kidney. With its high astringency it is used in some forms of bedwetting. As a douche it may be helpful in vaginal ulceration and infection.

Ellingwood gives the following specific symptomatolgy: "Its direct influence is upon relaxed conditions of the bladder walls, to which it imparts tone and induces normal contraction. It restrains excessive mucous discharges. "He recommends for these indications: " ulceration of the bladder, cystitis, pyelitis, pyelonephritis, gonorrhea."

Combinations : Uva Ursi may be combined with Couchgrass and Yarrow for infections of the urinary tract.

Preparations & Dosage : Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto l-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried leaves and let infuse for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. Tincture: take 2-4ml of the tincture three times a day.

Citations from the Medline database for the genusArctostaphylos

Bearberry (Uva-Ursi) Jahodar L Jilek P Paktova M Dvorakova V [Antimicrobial effect of arbutin and an extract of the leaves of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi in vitro]

Cesk Farm 1985 Jun;34(5):174-8 (Published in Czech)Jahodar L Leifertova I Lisa M Investigation of iridoid substances in Arctostaphylos uva-ursi.

Pharmazie 1978 Aug;33(8):536-7Kubo M Ito M Nakata H Matsuda H [Pharmacological studies on leaf of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng. I.Combined effect of 50% methanolic extract from Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.)Spreng. (bearberry leaf) and prednisolone on immuno-inflammation]

Yakugaku Zasshi 1990 Jan;110(1):59-67 (Published in Japanese)Matsuda H Nakata H Tanaka T Kubo M [Pharmacological study on Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng. II. Combinedeffects of arbutin and prednisolone or dexamethazone onimmuno-inflammation]

Yakugaku Zasshi 1990 Jan;110(1):68-76 (Published in Japanese)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 Apr-May;111(4-5):253-8 (Published in Japanese)

About The Author
Whilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary......more
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