Uva Ursi

What other names is Uva Ursi known by?

Arberry, Arbousier, Arbousier Traînant, Arbutus uva-ursi, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Bearberry, Beargrape, Bearsgrape, Bussserole, Common Bearberry, Faux Buis, Hogberry, Kinnikinnik, Manzanita, Mountain Box, Mountain Cranberry, Petit Buis, Ptarmigan Berry, Raisin de Renard, Raisin d'Ours, Raisin d'Ours Commun, Red Bearberry, Redberry, Rockberry, Sagackhomi, Sandberry, Uva del Oso, Uva Ursi Extract, Uvae Ursi Folium.

What is Uva Ursi?

Uva ursi is a plant. The leaves are used to make medicine.

Bears are particularly fond of the fruit, which explains its Latin name, "uva ursi," which means "bear's grape." Most authorities refer to Arctostaphylos uva-ursi as uva ursi. However, the related plants, Arctostaphylos adentricha and Arctostaphylos coactylis, have also been termed uva ursi by some experts.

Uva ursi is used primarily for urinary tract disorders, including infections of the kidney, bladder, and urethra; swelling (inflammation) of the urinary tract; increased urination; painful urination; and urine that contains excess uric acid or other acids. Uva ursi is also used for constipation and a lung condition called bronchitis.

Uva ursi, hops, and peppermint are also used in combination to treat people with compulsive bedwetting and painful urination.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs). Developing research suggests that taking a combination product containing both uva ursi and dandelion by mouth seems to reduce the recurrence rate of UTIs in women. However, since it is not clear if this kind of extended use is safe, do not use uva ursi for long-term prevention of UTIs.
  • Swelling of the bladder and urethra.
  • Swelling of the urinary tract.
  • Constipation.
  • Kidney infections.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of uva ursi for these uses.

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How does Uva Ursi work?

Uva ursi can reduce bacteria in the urine. It can also reduce swelling (inflammation), and have a drying (astringent) effect on the tissues.

Are there safety concerns?

Uva ursi is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth short-term (for up to one month). It can cause nausea, vomiting, stomach discomfort, and a greenish-brown discoloration of the urine.

However, uva ursi is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in high doses or long-term. It can cause liver damage, eye problems, breathing problems, convulsions, and death.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Using uva ursi during pregnancy is LIKELY UNSAFE because it might start labor. Not enough is known about the safety of using uva ursi during breast-feeding. Avoid use if you are pregnant or nursing.

Children: Uva ursi is POSSIBLY UNSAFE in children when taken by mouth. Uva ursi contains a chemical that might cause severe liver problems. Do not give uva ursi to children.

Retinal thinning: Uva ursi contains a chemical that can thin the retina in the eye. This could worsen the condition of people whose retinas are already too thin. Avoid use if you have this problem.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Lithium
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Uva ursi might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking uva ursi might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.

Dosing considerations for Uva Ursi.

The appropriate dose of uva ursi depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for uva ursi. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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Last Editorial Review: 3/29/2011