Uva Ursi extract Artostaphylos uva-ursi Arbutin Bearberry Leaf Extract Uva Ursi is also known by the names Bearberry, Bear Berry, Kinnikinnik, Manzanita, Mountain Cranberry, Mountain Box, Arbutus, Chipmunk's Apples, and Hog Cranberry. Most commercial Uva Ursi is grown in Spain. Uva Ursi is a small perennial shrub that typically grows in elevations of about 6,000 feet. In Latin, Uva means "grape", and Ursi means "of the bear", hence the common name Bear Berry. Bears like eating the red berries, as did Native Americans. The Spanish name Manzanita means "little apple" as the berries look like the fruit. The parts of this herb used medicinally are the leaves and the berries. Uva Ursi leaf is widely used as a diuretic, astringent, and antiseptic. Folk medicine around the world has recommended Uva Ursi for nephritis, kidney stones, and chronic cystitis. The herb has also been used as a general tonic for weakened kidneys, liver or pancreas. In Scandinavia, the leaves are sometimes used to tan leather (because of its high tannin content). The berries can be cooked along with other foods. Raw, the berries are bland, but they do help to quench thirst and stimulate saliva flow, and can be used as a "survival food". The berries can also be made into a cider. The primary chemical constituents of this herb include glycosides (arbutin, methylarbutin, ericolin), allantoin, flavonoids (quercetin, myricacitrin), tannins, hydroquinone, ellagic acid, gallic acid, malic acid, and ursolic acid. It also contains vitamin A, iron, manganese, selenium and silicon. Uva Ursi contains a high concentration of arbutin, an antiseptic phenolic glycoside. Arbutin and other glycosides have diuretic & urinary antiseptic action. They relieve pain from bladder stones, cystitis, nephritis, and kidney stones. In the urinary tract, the arbutin constituent is converted in the body to hydroquinones & glucose which have antiseptic and disinfecting properties, and also helps alkalinize the urine. The hydroquinone may turn the urine green. Uva Ursi also contains allantoin which is well known for its soothing and tissue-repairing properties. Uva Ursi works best when one avoids acidic foods, such as citrus fruits & juices, cranberry products, sauerkraut, and vitamin C. This herb helps prevent postpartum infection. Uva Ursi is also helpful for chronic diarrhea. As a nutritional supplement and muscle relaxant, Uva Ursi soothes, strengthens, and tightens irritated & inflamed tissues. The herb neutralizes acidity in the urine, increasing urine flow, therefore reducing bloating & water retention, making it beneficial for weight loss. Uva Ursi's astringent properties may also assist in the treatment of some bed wetting problems. The common name Uva Ursi includes the species Arctostaphylos rubra and Arctostaphylos alpina, which are used interchangeably with Arctostaphylos uva-ursi.