Introduction of Uva Ursi:mountain cranberry or red bearberry.
✵The article gives records of the herb Uva Ursi, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source two plant species, ①.Arctostaphylos uva ursi L.Spreng., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of this plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of this plant species, the features of the herb Uva Ursi, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.
Uva Ursi(red bearberry).
English Name: Uva Ursi.
Latin Name: Arctostaphylos uva ursi L.Spreng.Also referred to as Arbutus uva ursi L. The related plants Arbutus adenotricha and Arbutus coactylis Fern et Macbr. have also been referred to as uva ursi by some authors.
Common Names: Arbutus, Arberry, bearberry, beargrape, hogberry, kinnikinnick, manzanita, mealberry, mountain box, mountain cranberry, red bearberry, redberry leaves, rockberry, sandberry, upland cranberry.
Property and flavor: the leaves have a bitter, astringent taste.
Brief introduction: The low-growing evergreen shrub develops in colonies throughout the Northern Hemisphere, from North America to Europe and Asia. Bright red or pink fruit the size of currants, as well as clusters of pink or white flowers, develop off the creeping stems. But it is the dark, fleshy, leathery dried leaves and extracts from them that are used medicinally. The plant is commonly known as bearberry in USA (the United States of America). Uva ursi remains one of the most important and commonly used urinary tract disinfectants in modern herbal medicine, widely used in the treatment of uncomplicated acute and recurrent urinary tract infections.
Botanical source: Common herbal classics defined the herb Uva Ursi as the leaves of the species (1).Arctostaphylos uva ursi L.Spreng. It is a plant species of the Arctostaphylos genus, the Ericaceae family (heath family). The leaves are used medicinally. This commonly used species is introduced:
(1).Arctostaphylos uva ursi L.Spreng.
Botanical description: Arctostaphylos uva ursi is a decumbent, creeping plant that grows up to 1.5 meters long with elastic, 5~15 cm tall, red-brown branches, the bark is reddish to brownish, peeling off, stems ascending at the tip, minutely hairy, sometimes glandular. The leaves are alternate, evergreen, coriaceous, short-petioled, spatulate-obovate, or wedge-shaped, egg to spoon-shaped, 1~3 cm long, 0.3~1.2 cm wide, rounded at tip, rarely pointed, narrowed basally, entire-margined, and slightly revolute. They are 12 to 30 mm long by 4 to 15 mm wide, glabrous, glossy, and evergreen, dark green on the upper surface, and paler on the undersurface. The underside is distinctly reticulate, and the midrib and the margins are often downy.
The flowers are on 3 to 12 short, hanging stalks, stalks are 2~5 mm long, straight or curved, and grow in the axils of hairy bracts, where they are in terminal clusters at equal length and distance on the terminal end of the stalks. The pedicle has 2 small, ciliate, oval-shaped leaves at the base with the subtending flower clusters. The calyx is 1 mm long, palmate, and has 5 membranous tips. The corolla is ovoid to jug-shaped, white, pinkish-white, reddish or pink-reddish with a red border, 4~6 mm long with 5 short tips rolled backward, 5-lobed. The 10 stamens are half the length of the corolla tube. The filaments are heavily thickened at the base. The crimson anthers have porous openings and a long, whiplike, curling appendage. The ovaries are 5~7 valved, and the style is longer than the stamens. The fruit or berry is bright red, 5~10 mm wide, the fruit has 5 to 7 stone seeds, 4 mm in length, which are kidney-shaped and also compressed at the sides.
Ecological environment: The plant grows in dry forests and exposed, often rocky, sites in the lowland to lower alpine zones. Arctostaphylos uva ursi is distributed in the Arctic Circle and widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere. In the low latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, it is only distributed in high-altitude mountains. Distribution in Europe from Iceland and Norway's Northern Cape, south to southern Spain, central Italy (Apennine Mountains), and northern Greece (Pindus Mountains). In Asia, it is distributed in the Siberian Arctic, south to Asia Minor, the Caucasus, and the Himalayas. In North America, it is distributed from the Arctic region of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland, south to California in USA(the United States of America), the Rocky Mountains in New Mexico, and the Appalachian Mountains in the northeastern USA.
Subspecies: There are four subspecies of Arctostaphylos uva ursi: ①. Arctostaphylos uva-ursi subsp. uva-ursi, it grows in and around the Arctic Circle. ②.Arctostaphylos uva-ursi subsp. adenotricha, it grows in the Sierra Nevada, USA. ③.Arctostaphylos uva-ursi subsp. coactilis, it grows in the North Coast, Central Coast, and San Francisco Bay Area of California, USA. ④.Arctostaphylos uva-ursi subsp. cratericola, is native to the mountainous regions of Guatemala at an altitude of 3,000-4,000 meters.
Ornamental value and common uses: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi is an evergreen plant with great ornamental value and can be used as an ornamental plant. It can also be used as a soil and water conservation plant to prevent soil erosion. Because the leaves of bearberry are rich in tannins, they have also been used for tanning leather in the past.
Characters of herbs: Uva-Ursi leaves are the fresh or dried leaves of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, which are gathered in the wild. The arbutin content is highest in December and January, and also when the leaves are dried rapidly.
Pharmacological actions: ①.antimicrobial and antiseptic; ②.mild diuretic action; ③.hyperpigmentation effects; ④.skin whitening, etc.
Uva ursi has antimicrobial properties, and it fights organisms responsible for urinary tract infections, such as Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. The herb also has an antibacterial effect.
The herb has a mild diuretic action, it slightly increases urine output. A study found its antiseptic and diuretic properties are explained by its components glycosides in the leaves, especially arbutin. The astringent properties of the leaves can be attributed to the relatively high levels of tannin.
Uva ursi leaves can be used as a whitening agent for the skin, it has a strong superoxide dismutase-like activity, and it is a promising cosmetic whitening agent because of its potent anti-tyrosinase activity, inhibition of melanin production, superoxide dismutase-like activity, and ability to absorb ultraviolet light.
Medicinal efficacy: Uva ursi is used in folk medicine as a urinary antiseptic and astringent, it was recommended traditionally for the urinary tract in inflammatory conditions such as cystitis and urethritis, as well as for treating bronchitis, kidney infections, and kidney stones. Contemporary herbalists still recommend it as a diuretic for fluid retention, bloating, and swelling. It is used by homeopaths for urinary tract inflammations and other disorders. In Europe, the herb is approved for infections of the urinary tract, and for inflammatory disorders of the efferent urinary tract. In folk medicine, the herb is used for all forms of urogenital and biliary tract disease.
Administration of Uva Ursi (red bearberry):
Administration Guide of Uva Ursi (red bearberry)
Herbal classic books:
Dosage: The dried leaf is taken in single doses of 1.5~2.5 grams each, up to 10 grams a day, corresponding to 400~700 mg of arbutin. One to three 500 mg leaf capsules is taken three times a day. The liquid leaf extract is taken in doses of 2~4 ml. The daily dosage of the finely cut or powdered herb is 10 grams or 0.4 grams of dry extract in a single dose. The herb should be stored in well-sealed containers protected from light.
Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions: Uva ursi appears to be relatively safe to take in recommended amounts for brief periods. The FDA had placed uva ursi on its formerly maintained list of "Herbs of Undefined Safety". A few people may develop nausea and vomiting, especially children and people with sensitive stomachs. The herb should be avoided taking for longer than a week, or in high doses, for the potentially stomach-irritating elements of tannins in the herb as well as the potential toxicity of hydroquinone. Very large doses of hydroquinone can cause adverse reactions including nausea, vomiting, tinnitus, cyanosis, convulsions, collapse, and death in some cases. Individuals with gastric sensitivity may experience nausea, vomiting, and stomachache following the intake of preparations made from the herb due to its high tannin content. Pregnant and nursing women may want to avoid the herb. The herb should not be used in children under 12 years old.
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1.Introduction of Uva Ursi:mountain cranberry or red bearberry.