Uva UrsiArctostaphylos uva-ursi
The uva ursi plant is a low-lying evergreen bush whose berries are a favorite of bears, hence the name "bearberry." However, it is the leaves that are used medicinally.
Uva ursi has a long history of use for treating urinary conditions in both America and Europe. Up until the development of sulfa antibiotics, its principal active component, arbutin, was frequently prescribed as a urinary antiseptic.
Uva ursa is widely marketed today for the treatment of bladder infections. However, it has not been proven effective for this condition, and there are significant safety concerns with its use. 5
What Is the Scientific Evidence for Uva Ursi?
Despite uva ursi's popularity for treating bladder infections, there is no meaningful evidence that it works. Two studies evaluated the antibacterial power of the urine of people who were taking uva ursi and found activity against most major bacteria that infect the urinary tract.
However, while such findings are interesting, what is really needed is a
Rather strangely, one study evaluated continuous use of uva ursi for
of bladder infections. This double-blind, placebo-controlled trial followed 57 women for one year.
European recommendations indicate that the dosage of uva ursi should be adjusted to provide 400 to 800 mg of arbutin daily. 9,10,11
Uva ursi should be taken with meals to minimize gastrointestinal upset. Uva ursi (based on its arbutin content) is thought to be most effective in alkaline urine,
There are significant safety concerns with uva ursi. The arbutin contained in uva ursi leaves is broken down in the intestine to another chemical, hydroquinone. This is altered a bit by the liver and then sent to the kidneys for excretion. 1
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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