BEARBERRY – leaf (Arctostaphylus uva-ursi)
The berries are a favourite food of bears, hence the name. Closely related to the cranberry and blueberry, it is actually the uva ursi leaves which are known for their effectiveness in treating both acute and chronic infections and inflammation within the urinary tract.
Uva ursi has been successfully used to alleviate cystitis (inflammation of the bladder), and is also applied to cases of urinary calculi (stones). The urinary antiseptic properties of uva ursi are attributed to a number of phytochemicals within it, most notably arbutin, which fight bacteria, encourage excretion and reduce inflammation. Also useful for geldings and stallions whose sheaths have become infected, or who have an overproduction of smegma.
Bearberry should only be taken short term (usually 7-10 days) – it is not for frequent or long-term use.