written by: Diana Cooper
• edited by: lrohner
• updated: 10/17/2010
Learn how to make a cup of organic loose uva ursi tea. Know what the health benefits are, what the recommended dose is and who should avoid drinking this tea.
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Uva ursi, more commonly known as bearberry, is a small evergreen shrub whose berries are a favorite of bears. The leaves from this plant have been used medicinally for many years, since the 2nd century. Before the discovery of antibiotics and sulfa drugs, uva ursi was commonly used to treat urinary tract infections. Constituents include arbutin, hydroquinone, volatile oils, tannins and flavonoids. Drinking a cup of organic loose uva ursi tea is one way of getting the benefits of this herb.
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Uva ursi is a diuretic, astringent and urinary antiseptic. It is used to treat infections of the urethra, bladder and kidneys. Instead of killing the bacteria responsible for the infections, it helps flush the bacteria out with the flow of urine. Uva ursi is approved by the German Commission E to treat urinary tract infections. It is most effective if taken at the first sign of infection.
An alkaline urine is required when taking uva ursi. If not, its antimicrobial properties will not work effectively. Taking some baking soda and avoiding acidic foods and vitamin C supplements can help keep the urine alkaline.
Uva ursi is also used to treat cystitis (bladder inflammation), kidney stones, painful urination and increased urination. When combined with the herbs hops and peppermint, it is said to treat compulsive bedwetting.
Uva ursi has also been used to treat vaginal infections, chronic diarrhea, constipation, high blood pressure, bronchitis, cold sores and herpes lesions.
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Side Effects & Precautions
Uva ursi is considered safe for most people when used appropriately for a short period of time. Reported side effects, which are generally mild, include irritability, stomach discomfort, nausea, vomiting, insomnia and a greenish-brown discoloration of the urine.
Large doses and/or long-term use can cause serious liver problems, eye problems, breathing problems, convulsions and death. Uva ursi should not be taken for more than one week at a time and should not be repeated more than five times in one year.
Children, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and people with high blood pressure, digestive problems, Crohn's disease, ulcers, kidney disease, liver disease or retinal thinning should not take uva ursi.
If taking medications, especially corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and lithium, consult with your health care provider before taking.
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To prepare a cup of organic loose uva ursi tea, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 heaping teaspoon of dried organic leaves, cover, steep for 15 minutes and strain. You can drink up to 4 cups a day.
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Mountain Rose Herbs: Uva Ursi Herb Profile - http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/learn/uva_ursi.php
Web MD: Uva Ursi - http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-350-UVA%20URSI.aspx?activeIngredientId=350&activeIngredientName=UVA%20URSI
University of Maryland Medical Center: Uva ursi - http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/uva-ursi-000278.htm
Vitamin for Life: Uva Ursi - http://www.vitaminforlife.com/Herb%20Uva%20Ursi.htm
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Image courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arctostaphylos_uva_ursi.jpg
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