Updated 18 February 2013

Uva Ursi

Uva Ursi has been used as a medicine by numerous indigenous people from northern latitudes since ancient times.


Natural Health Benefits of Uva Ursi (check the Evidence rating *)
*** Good Evidence of a health benefit.
** Some Evidence of a health benefit.
* Traditionally used with only anecdotal evidence.

  • Kidney Infection *
  • Bladder Infection *


Uva Ursi has been used as a medicine by numerous indigenous people from northern latitudes since ancient times. The leaves and berries were combined with tobacco and smoked by the Native Americans.
The berries were considered beneficial as a weight-loss aid. It was found in wide use for infections of all parts of the body because of its astringent, or “drying,” action.
It has in recent times been found to be effective in treatment of urinary tract infections of the kidneys or bladder.

Health Benefits

No human trials have been published confirming the effectiveness of uva ursi in people with urinary tract infections, most of the effectiveness is established through traditional use by herbalists.
Uva Ursi contains the glycoside arbutin, it comprises up to 10% of the plant by weight. Hydroquinone a powerful anti-bacterial agent, is derived from arbutin and methylarbutin.
It is this active constituent that is thought to be responsible for uva ursi’s ability to treat urinary tract infections.

Side effects?

Generally Uva Ursi is not recommended for long-term use.
The high tannin content in uva ursi, may cause some people to experience cramping, nausea, or vomiting.
Uva ursi should not be taken by pregnant or breast-feeding women, and should only be used in young children with the guidance of a doctor.

Herb – Drug Interactions

Avoid – Reduced Medication absorption / Adverse Effect. Uva Ursi is best avoided when taking these medications since the tannins may decrease the absorption and/or have adverse effects with the medication in the body.

  • Atropine
  • Codeine
  • Ephedrine
  • Pseudoephedrine
  • Diuretics
  • Theophylline
  • Triamterene

Where does Uva Ursi come from and what parts are used?

Uva Ursi is normally found in colder, northern climates; but today it is grown in many parts of the world. The leaf is used medicinally.

How much is usually taken?

Use of uva ursi should be limited to no more than 14 days.
The German Commission E monograph suggests 1/2–3/4 teaspoon (3 grams) of uva ursi steeped in about 150 ml of boiling water and drunk as an infusion three to four times daily.
Standardized extracts in capsules or tablets (containing 20% arbutin), 700–1,000 mg three times per day.
As a tincture, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) three times per day can be used.

(Zaakirah Rossier, Health24, updated October 2010)


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