Individuals have used Beargrape as a remedy for inflammations of the urinary tract, especially cystitis. Native Americans used Beargrape (uva ursi) to treat uterine dropsy and urinary diseases. Many more uses for Beargrape, as an astringent and healing remedy, are yet to be discovered but scientists are hopeful.Beargrape (Uva Ursi) Benefits and Effects
Beargrape, technically known as Uva Ursi, is used as a remedy for urinary tract infections, cystitis (bladder inflammation), and kidney stones. The hydroquinone derivative, arbutin, is the chief active compound in uva ursi. It is absorbed in the stomach and converted into a substance with antimicrobial, astringent, and disinfectant properties. During urination, as it passes out of the body, it acts on the mucus membranes of the urinary tract to soothe irritation, reduce inflammation, and fight infection.
Because uva ursi requires alkaline urine for its antimicrobial properties to work, those taking uva ursi should avoid eating acidic foods like citrus fruit, pineapple, and tomatoes. Taking some baking soda is a good way to maintain urine alkaline. Uva ursi should only be taken for short periods (no longer than a week), and not repeated more than five times in one year.Possible Side Effects
While uva ursi is considered generally safe when taken in recommended doses and for brief periods, side effects have been reported. These include nausea and vomiting, irritability, insomnia, and an increased heart rate.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take uva ursi. It is also not recommended for those with high blood pressure.
The use of herbs is a natural approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain active substances that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a practitioner knowledgeable in the field of botanical medicine.