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A species of Arctostaphylos, Uva Ursi, is a small woody, evergreen shrub, ranging in heights of 5-30 centimeters.   More commonly referred to a bearberry, the small silky leaves remain green for 1 to 3 years before falling, and can be seen bearing red berries.   Stems will appear green in shaded areas, but as they grow old a brown color will be adopted.   During the spring seasons white and pink flowers will bud.


Uva ursi plants are found flourishing in northern latitudes such as Iceland, Siberia, Canada, and the Himalayas, but will conform to higher altitudes down south in areas of California, New Mexico, Spain, and Turkey.  Like many plants, specific regions will exhibit a scarcity, while native habitats will see abundance in this plant.


A glycoside, ether called arbutin is found in the bearberry, which demonstrates antimicrobial properties, thus aiding in the fight against infections and its historical use as an antiseptic.  Arbutin also displays mild diuretic properties used to treat cystitis, urethritis, and other urinary tract infections by reducing the accumulation of uric acid and

relieving the pain from bladder stones.   For centuries, folk medicine has promoted this herb for nephritis, kidney stones, and chronic diarrhea.  Another chemical compound found Uva Ursi is allantoin, commonly present in mammalian urine.   For this, herbal extracts from the plant allow it to be used as an astringent wash to soothe and repair damaged tissues with its ability to cause tissues to tighten and contract while limiting secretion from glands.


The dried herb should be limited to 2-4 g consumption per day, with a standardized amount of 400-800 mg arbutin extraction.  Children are not recommended to take Uva Ursi, as it can become toxic.  It is important to consult with a physician before using this as a supplement or for medicinal purposes.




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