It’s a pretty plant with a funny name and some amazing benefits. Uva ursi means “grape of the bears” because bears love its bright red berries. However, humans use another part of the plant—the leaves—for bladder health and more.
Let’s look at the main uva ursi benefits, how it works, and how to use it.
What Is Uva Ursi?
Uva ursi’s full name is Arctostaphylos uva ursi. It’s also known by the names bearberry, beargrape, kinnikinnick, sandberry, rockberry, arberry, mountain cranberry, and more. This evergreen shrub grows in forest regions in North America, the Himalayas, Europe, the Iberian Peninsula, Siberia and other places.
Although bears are drawn to the berries that bloom in summer, the medicinal benefits come from the leaves.
Top Uses and Benefits of Uva Ursi
Uva ursi is good for supporting kidney health and cleansing the kidneys. It was a common Native American remedy for urinary tract infections (UTIs), and humans often turned to the plant for bladder-related issues before modern medicine. People use uva ursi today as a natural option to assist kidney function.
One study that tested different over-the-counter plant preparations for UTIs found that uva ursi decreased activity from the bacteria Staphylococcus saprophyticus by over 75 percent. S. saprophysticus is one of the most common bacteria types in UTIs.
Natural botanicals containing uva ursi may also show effectiveness during the first signs of infection.
Uva ursi has also been used to address kidney stones, constipation, weight loss, and promote overall wellness. Some skin care products contain uva ursi because it’s one of the only natural sources of hydroquinone, a skin brightener.
Uva Ursi Capsules Benefits vs Leaf Benefits
Most people take uva ursi supplements in capsule form, but you can also drink the plant as a tea. In tea form, it’s often combined with dandelion leaves.
Capsule forms of uva ursi should include other plant-based herbs like hydrangea root, corn silk, parsley leaf, buchu leaf, and watermelon seed. These additions also support kidney and bladder health.
How Does Uva Ursi Work?
Uva ursi neutralizes urine acidity, helping to increase the flow of urine. Its infection-combating properties come from chemicals known as glycosides. These chemicals turn into hydroquinone in the body, which is where the antibacterial benefits begin.
Uva ursi is typically best taken with food. For Michael’s® Uva Ursi Complex™, take three capsules at breakfast or one capsule with each meal throughout the day. Always check with your healthcare practitioner before starting a new supplement regimen.
Support Your Kidneys with Uva Ursi
Your kidneys are working hard for you every day, cleansing toxins from your blood and maintaining water and electrolyte balance. But when something goes wrong or things are off balance, kidney-related issues like UTIs and kidney stones may happen.
Ways to support your kidneys naturally include watching your blood pressure and blood sugar, drinking plenty of water, and eating a healthy diet. For many of us, a healthy lifestyle also includes natural supplements like uva ursi to support kidney function.
Image Copyright: Nedim Bajramovic