The herb Uva Ursi has been acknowledged by herbal practitioners for a long time now. Also known as bearberry (due to its berries being favorite of bears), uva ursi is a shrub with rooting branches and white, pink-flushed flowers. It is usually 4 to 6 inches high. Uva Ursi has glossy, spherical, red fruits.
The beneficial parts of the uva ursi herb are the leaves and the stem fragments. Active constituents of the uva ursi herb are phenolic glycoside or arbutin (which is a powerful astringent with antiseptic properties), as well as hydroquinone derivatives (which is a powerful anti-microbial agent) and tannins, hyperoside, monotropein and triterpenes.
Uva ursi contains compounds that can act as an irritant. It is best that uva ursi NOT be taken by pregnant women and children. People with severe kidney and liver diseases should likewise refrain from taking uva ursi without clearance from their physicians.
To make this tea, steep about 1½ grams of dried uva ursi leaves in boiling water for about 20 to 30 minutes. However, since the leaves of the uva ursi plant are nearly impervious to water, the best method is overnight soaking in the hot water. Recommended dosage is thrice a day. Vitamin C and acidic fruit juices should not be taken when taking uva ursi tea.
Following are the acknowledged benefits of this tea:
- Used to treat urinary tract infection and vaginitis. Uva Ursi releases polysaccharides that keep bacteria in the bladder and urethra lining, thus allowing the microorganisms to get flushed out by urine. Greater effectivity is noted when the urine is alkaline (i.e. diet largely composed of plant food, as opposed to largely animal food).
- May also be used to treat kidney infections, accumulation of uric acid, and kidney stones.
- May be used in the treatment of bronchitis and nephritis.
- Has been used to treat back pains.
- Often used to treat cystitis, dysuria, pyelitis and lithuria.