Uva ursi or bearberry is a small evergreen shrub found in northern United States and Europe. The flowers are pink or white, growing in sparse terminal clusters, and the fruit is a bright red or pink. However it is the leaf that is used in herbal medicine.

Medicinal Properties of Uva ursi

Uva ursi’s most active ingredient is a glycoside called arbutin, but other compounds such as flavonoids, tannins, allantoin, caffeic acids, oils and resins are also present and contribute to the action of arbutin. This compound converts to hydroquinone in the urinary tract, which is a potent antiseptic. Uva ursi is diuretic, astringent and antibacterial in action.

Uva ursi Herbal Remedies

Our herbalists recommend uva ursi for the following disorders:

Cystitis
Non-specific urethritis
Urinary tract infection

Other Uva ursi Information

Herbalists often use Uva ursi in combination with Burdock and Cleavers to help with water retention and to cleanse the system. It is available in tablets and capsules.

Side Effects of Uva ursi

Uva ursi is safe and free of side effects, although large doses may cause cramping, nausea and vomiting in some people because of the high tannin content.

Uva ursi should not be taken if you are already used drug-based diuretics, as it will have an additive effect, and cause excess water loss.

The high tannin content of Uva ursi may block the absorption of many drugs. Ones to note are atropine, theophylline or medications that contain ephedrine or codeine. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist, but a general indication is that drinking high levels of tea is also not recommended with the medicine in question.

Uva ursi should be avoided during pregnancy and lactation.

Uva ursi should not be given to children under the age of 12 unless directed by a qualified herbalist.

When this article was written there were no other well-known negative drug interactions with the herb Uva ursi.