Uva Ursi - Useful Herb for Kidney Disease

Uva Ursi

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi Ericaceae Also called Bearberry

Found in the mountainous parts oj Europe, Asia and America, uva-ursi is a small, low-growing shrub, with woody branching stems that trail along the ground. Its leathery, evergreen leaves are spatula-shaped, and are joined in early summer by clusters oj pretty, waxy-looking flowers - white lightly marked with red. Glossy bright red berries follow them in autumn.

Parts used

  • Leaves
  • As they are evergreen, the leaves can be picked at any time, though only the youngest are chosen.
  • Once dried in the open air, the leaves are used to make infusions or dry extracts for use in various powders, tinctures and capsules.


Uva-ursi contains phenolic glycosides, mainly arbutin, which the body are converts into antibacterial hydroquinones. Healing tannins and allantoin, and diuretic flavonoids are a Iso present.

Medicinal uses

A number of recent research projects have clearly demonstrated that when the phenolic glycosides in uva-ursi, especially arbutin, are converted to hydroquinone inside the body, they act as a powerful antibiotic. Uva-ursi has been shown to be effective for treating urinary tract infections, such as cystitis and urethritis, boils and abscesses infected with the Staphylococcus aureus bacterium, and also food poisoning and diarrhoea.

Uva-ursi is thought to be more effective in fighting the bacteria that cause urinary infections when the patient's urine is more alkaline than acidic. Therefore, during treatment with the plant, it is advisable to follow a strict diet, containing plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and only a small quantity of meat and dairy products. An alternative would be to take a regular dose of bicarbonate of soda.Animal research into uva-ursi has also demonstrated it ability to reduce inflammation.


For internal use

TO TREAT urinary infections INFUSION Put 3g of dried leaves, crushed to a powder, into a cup of boiling water. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes, then strain. Drink 3-4 cups a day.

TINCTURE (1:1 in 25% alcohol) Take 2-4ml a day.
LIQUID EXTRACT (1:1 in 25% alcohol) Take 1.5-4ml three times a day.
CAPSULES (100-200mg dry extract) Take 1-2 capsules, three times a day at mealtimes.



Uva-ursi can be grown from seeds planted in autumn, or cuttings planted in summer. Use moist, peaty to sandy soil. The plant will thrive in a sunny or lightly shaded plot.


  • Because uva-ursi is rich in tannins, which, in high doses, can cause liver damage, any course of treatment using the plant should not last longer than a week. Also, no more than five such courses should be taken in a single year.
  • The plant is not recommended as a treatment for people suffering from kidney disease.
  • The high tannin content of the plant can also cause nausea.
  • Avoid uva-ursi when pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Children under 12 years old should not be treated with uva-ursi.


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