Uva-Ursi

Uva-what??, Uva-ursi, a medicinal herb found indigenous to many countries, including northern America, Asia, and the British Isles.  It grows in Canada and as far south as New Jersey and Wisconsin.  It is also found in Scotland, especially in the highlands and is the badge of the Clan of Ross.

Latin name: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Picture taken near Akureyri, Iceland.

Showcasing some great herbs to have on hand for your herbal medicine cabinet,  Uva-ursi is one I have used several times.  It is easy to procure and keeps well.  It also goes by the name Bearberry.  This common name comes from the Greek arkton staphyle meaning “bear’s grapes”, referring to the notion that bears eat the bright red berries that ripen in autumn or early winter.

The dried leaves are the part used for healing, gathered from summer to fall.  Gather only bright green leaves in the morning after the dew has dried, and dry them.

Actions of Uva-ursi:  Diuretic, astringent, demulcent, anti-catarrhal, anti-microbial, tonic

Phytochemicals:  arbutin, beta-carotine, ellagic acid, gallic acid, hyperin, tannin (6%), oleanolic acid, quercetin, ursolic acid.

Nutrients:  calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C.

Uva-ursi can be used as tea, capsules, douche, or extract.  It is a specific in urinary upsets as it tones, soothes, and strengthens the mucous membranes of the urinary passages.  It has been used since the 13th century.

Uses:  kidney and bladder congestion or ulceration, cystitis, kidney stones, bed-wetting, prostate weakness, uterine hemorrhage, dysentery, hemorrhoids, chronic nephritis, anemia, Bright’s Disease, uterine ulceration, rheumatism, vaginal sores and infections.

Having alkaline urine will enhance the medicinal performance of Uva-ursi.  To achieve this go on a 3-day juice cleanse, eat only fruits and veges, and drink plenty of distilled water. 

I went on a lovely float trip with church friends and family, and came home with a severe bladder infection.  I had pain all the way home, a 4 hour drive.  Not only was I dealing with pain, I had blood in by urine, never a good sign.  When I got home I drank lots of water and ate a salad for supper.  I made a strong cup of tea using uva-ursi and corn silk, yes that dried stuff on corn.  I drank this right before I went to bed.  The next morning, to my utter amazement, I had no pain and my urine was completely clear!  I continued with salads and lots of water for the next 2 days, but I never experienced any more symptoms.  Herbal healing amazes me and every time I see how effective these plants are I am in awe.  The more I learn I realize how much I don’t know!  I also learned that drinking water while out on the water is essential!!

Only one herbal book I researched, and I have ALOT, cautioned using uva-ursi while pregnant.  So do your own research and please be careful.  Herbs seem harmless, but they do have powerful actions that stimulate or calm organ function.  However, don’t be intimidated by this.  If you are pregnant, use lots of 100% cranberry juice, distilled water, and teas made with: corn silk, parsley, juniper berries, or cleavers.  And don’t forget the best, fresh juiced garden carrot.

Learning to deal with everyday ailments at home is wonderful.  Just use common sense and read, read, read, and ask, ask, ask. 

Love life & breathe deep,

Angela

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