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Botanical Agents

Uva Ursi (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)

14 years, 9 months ago

3563  0
Posted on Dec 30, 2005, 8 p.m. By Bill Freeman

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: A small evergreen shrub found in the northern U.S. and Europe, Uva ursi


A small evergreen shrub found in the northern U.S. and Europe, Uva ursi’s most active component is arbutin, which is found in its leaves and was at one time marketed as a urinary antiseptic and diuretic. Historically, Uva ursi has been used to treat bladder and kidney infections, kidney stones, and bronchitis. When given alone, arbutin is broken down by intestinal bacteria almost completely before it can have any effect. Other components in the Uva ursi plant, however, prevent this degradation.


The active ingredient in Uva ursi is the glycoside arbutin, which is present in fairly high amounts (up to 10%). Arbutin has been  shown to kill bacteria, such as Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus in the urine, thus it may be of use in treating urinary tract infections. Once in the body arbutin is converted into a molecule called hydroquinone &emdash; a powerful anti-microbial agent. Arbutin has also been shown to increase the antiinflammatory action of synthetic cortisone.


3 grams of Uva ursi in 150 ml of water as an infusion to be taken three to four times daily. 250-500 mg three times per day of the herbal extract in capsules or tablets (containing 20% arbutin) can also be taken. Uva ursi should not be used for more than fourteen days.

MAXIMUM SAFE LEVEL: Not established


Long-term (more than 2-3 weeks) use of Uva ursi is not recommended. Acidic agents such as cranberry juice, prune juice, and vitamin C (more than 500mg per day) should be avoided  when taking Uva ursi. Pregnant and lactating women should not take Uva Ursi.

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