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Uva Ursi is also known as bearberry, kinnikinnick, and arbutus. The pink-red berries of uva ursi are a favorite fruit for bears.
Because uva ursi leaves often were mixed with tobacco and other herbs, the plant also is known as kinnikinnick, a Native American word that means, 'smoking mixture.' Despite its smoky name, its effect is typically a calming one: In fact, uva ursi is used to treat uncomfortable urinary issues.
Uva ursi is used primarily to treat urinary problems, including bladder infections. The herb is disinfecting and promotes urine flow. Uva ursi is particularly recommended to treat illnesses caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli), a bacterium that lives in the intestines and commonly causes bladder and kidney infections.
The glycoside arbutin is the main active constituent in uva ursi. Arbutin treats urinary problems most effectively when the urine is alkaline. For kidney infections or kidney stones, take the herb under the care of a naturopathic or other trained physician. There is some indication that the herb may also be effective against certain yeast (such as Candida species).
Uva ursi is recommended for pelvic pain that is cramping, heavy, and dragging. The herb is particularly indicated for chronic complaints, although it should not be used over a long time. Use it for chronic irritation, pain, mucus production, and weakness of urinary organs. Some side effects for uva ursi are nausea, vomiting, irritability, insomnia, and an increased heart rate. It is not recommended for those with high blood pressure and women who are pregnant to take uva ursi.
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