The Uva Ursi herb, of the genus Arctostapholys uva-ursi, most commonly known as Kinnikinnick and Bearberry, is an popular treatment for infections of the kidneys and bladder. Used for hundreds of years, Uva Ursi’s alternative names include upland cranberry, bear’s grape and mountain box. Although Uva Ursi is a relatively benign herb, individuals need to avoid taking due to possible interactions and conditions.
Uva Ursi has the following properties:
- Muscle relaxant
- Tonic for liver, pancreas and kidneys
Uva Ursi is most often associated with the treatment of urinary tract infections, kidney stones and nephritis. In fact, until antibiotics were discovered, Uva Ursi was the primary method of treating such infections.
Uva Ursi reduces the amount of uric acid present in the body, which relieves pain associated with kidney stones and bladder infections. In addition, the diuretic and antiseptic properties of Uva Ursi work as anti-inflammatory agents, decreasing pain associated with bladder infections, kidney stones and urethritis.
Uva Ursi’s anti-bacterial properties are associated with arbutin and hydroquinone; these chemical properties make Uva Ursi useful in the treatment of urinary tract infections as well as in recurrent cystitis, an infection resistant to antibiotics in people such as paraplegics.
The Uva Ursi is a covering shrub and its leaves are the only part of the plant used for medicinal purposes. Uva Ursi can be purchased in the form of crushed leaves or powder preparations and dried herbs available in capsule form or for teas.
Uva Ursi is known to interact with the following:
- Treatments that increase urine acidity
- Vitamin C
- Cranberry juice
- Citrus juices
- Anti-inflammatory Drugs
- Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Do not take Uva Ursi with these supplements or medications without first consulting a knowledgeable healthcare provider.
Herbs can interact with medications, other herbal preparations and tinctures, teas and supplements and should be taken under the supervision or recommendation of a healthcare professional.
Individuals with peptic or duodenal ulcers, gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and chronic kidney disease or infection should avoid taking the Uva Ursi herb, as should children and pregnant women.