Uva ursi / Mountain cranberry (Arctostaphylos uva ursi)

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Traditional Indications

Uva ursi is antilithic, astringent, diuretic, hypnotic, kidney, tonic and urinary antiseptic. It is traditionally indicated for cystitis, urethritis, dysuria, pyelitis and lithuria. Arctostaphylos has a marked antiseptic and astringent effect on the membranes of the urinary system, soothing, toning and strengthening them. It is specifically used where there is gravel or ulceration in the kidney or bladder. It may be used in the treatment of infections such as pyelitis urethritis and cystitis and is specifically indicated in acute catarrhal cystitis with dysuria and highly acid urine, where it helps to reduce accumulations of uric acid and is hence indicated in gout. With its high astringency it is used to treat some forms of enuresis and in diarrhoea. It is also used to treat dysuria. The herb should not be prescribed to children, pregnant women or patients with kidney disease. (1)

In Traditional Chinese Medicine Uva ursi is called Xiong Guo. Xiong Guo enters the Kidney, Bladder and Lung channels to Clears Heat and Toxins, reduce Inflammation, arrest bleeding, promote tissue repair and promote urination. (2)

Pharmacognocy

A double-blind, randomised, controlled comparative effectiveness trial looking at reducing antibiotic use for uncomplicated urinary tract infection in general practice by treatment with uva-ursi (REGATTA) concluded that the results might change the existing treatment strategy in general practice by promoting delayed prescription of antibiotics and a reduction of antibiotic use in primary care. (3)

A study was carried out to examine the combined effect of arbutin isolated from the leaves of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng. (Bearberry leaf) and indomethacin on Type IV allergic reaction-induced immuno-inflammation, carrageenin-induced edema and adjuvant-induced arthritis. The study found the inhibitory effect was more potent when arbutin and indomethacin were simultaneously administered. (4)

A risk assessment of hydroquinone derived from Arctostaphylos Uva-ursi folium Herbal Preparations concluded that under the recommended use conditions Uva-ursi is a safe therapeutic option for treating lower urinary tract infections. (5)

1. PFAF. Arctostaphylos uva-ursi 2019.
2. Healing WRIo. Bearberry / Uva Ursi (Xiong Guo) 2019.
3. Afshar K, Fleischmann N, Schmiemann G, Bleidorn J, Hummers-Pradier E, Friede T, et al. Reducing antibiotic use for uncomplicated urinary tract infection in general practice by treatment with uva-ursi (REGATTA) – a double-blind, randomized, controlled comparative effectiveness trial. 2018;18(1):203.
4. Matsuda H, Tanaka T, Kubo M. [Pharmacological studies on leaf of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng. III. Combined effect of arbutin and indomethacin on immuno-inflammation]. Yakugaku zasshi : Journal of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan. 1991;111(4-5):253-8.
5. de Arriba SG, Naser B, Nolte K-U. Risk Assessment of Free Hydroquinone Derived from Arctostaphylos Uva-ursi folium Herbal Preparations. International Journal of Toxicology. 2013;32(6):442-53.