Uva Ursi Review & Information
Uva ursi leaf is the medicinal part of a shrub that is indigenous to Europe. The name uva ursi means “bear’s grape”, and the shrub is so-named because bears like to eat the small red berries that grow on the uva ursi plant. Other names for uva ursi leaf include bearberry, hogberry and upland cranberry.
The medicinal use of uva ursi leaf dates back to the thirteenth century when it became popular among herbalists in Britain. This herb is best known for its use as a diuretic and is often recommended to ease fluid retention, swelling and bloating. Uva ursi is also used to treat bladder and kidney infections. It has both cleansing and analgesic properties that help to remove bacteria from the urinary track as well as ease the pain associated with bladder and kidney infections.
The active ingredient in uva ursi leaf is known as arbutin. This compound has antiseptic properties that are especially effective in eliminating infections caused by E. coli bacteria, the bacteria that often the cause urinary tract infections. Arbutin is also effective in preventing bleeding of the kidneys and urinary tract, and it can prevent kidney stones from developing by interfering with the build-up of uric acid (which causes the stones) in the urinary tract.
It is important to be aware that uva ursi leaf is only effective in treating urinary tract conditions if the urine is alkaline. In order to insure alkalinity of the urine, one should not consume acidic foods, including meat, vitamin C and fruit juice while taking uva ursi leaf. It is also advisable to drink water into which a half gram (1/4 teaspoon) of baking soda has been dissolved when taking uva ursi leaf to treat an infection.
Uva ursi leaf is available in capsule and tablet form and the amount consumed should be standardized to provide 400 to 800 mg of the active ingredient arbutin. There is also uva ursi tea for people who prefer drinking herbal teas to taking capsules and tablets.
Uva Ursi Side Effects: Is Uva Ursi Dangerous?
Uva ursi leaf should only be used as a remedy for acute conditions and should not be taken for more than 5 days. Because of concerns about the toxicity of uva ursi leaf, it is important that the herb be used with caution and only in moderation.
If symptoms of a urinary tract, bladder or kidney infection persist or include nausea, vomiting, fever or chills, a medical professional should be consulted. Pregnant women and women who are nursing should not use uva ursi leaf, and those with chronic kidney disease, ulcers or acid reflux disease should avoid it as well.
Further, children under twelve years old should not consume uva ursi leaf. There have been some reports that this herb aggravates the condition known as tinnitus (ringing in the ears). If this occurs and does not subside, use of the herb should be discontinued. In some cases, ingesting uva ursi leaf may turn urine green, but this effect is temporary and is not a concern.