Uva ursi is used primarily for urinary tract disorders, including infections of the kidney, bladder, and urethra; swelling (inflammation) of the urinary tract; increased urination; painful urination; and urine that contains excess uric acid or other acids.
Uva ursi is an herbal extract derived from the leaves of the Arctostaphylos, a small evergreen shrub, which has been used in Native American traditional medicine for treatment of urinary tract symptoms and as a diuretic. Treatment with extracts of uva ursi has not been specifically linked to serum aminotransferase elevations or to instances of clinically apparent acute liver injury.
Uva ursi is an herbal product derived from the fresh or dried leaves of the plant Arctostaphylos uva-ursi or bearberry, named for the grape-like clusters of orange berries that are commonly eaten by bears. Both Arctostaphylos and uva-ursi mean “grape of the bears”, the former in Greek and the latter in Latin. Uva ursi leaves contain several phytochemicals, including ursolic acid, tannic acid, gallic acid, oils, resins, hydroquinone glycosides (mainly “arbutin”), and flavonoids. The active component of uva ursi is suspected to be hydroquinone, and particularly arbutin and methyl arbutin which may have antiinflammatory and antiseptic activities that are excreted in the urine. Uva ursi has been used to treat dysuria, cystitis, urethritis, and kidney and bladder stones. It has also been recommended for inducing diuresis and to treat constipation. In addition, the leaves of Arctostaphylos have been dried and smoked as tobacco, while leaves and berries have also been used as food. While uva ursi has been used extensively in traditional medicine, there is no convincing medical evidence that it is effective in treating urinary tract infections or urinary symptoms. More recently, uva ursi has been included in multiingredient dietary supplements meant for a variety of conditions such as to induce weight loss, promote wellness, prevent the effects of aging and to increase energy and stamina. Uva ursi is typically available in tablets and capsules of 150, 455 and 505 mg and is taken one to three times daily. It can also be prepared as tea from dried leaves or a powdered extract.