Uva ursi, or Bear Berry, is a dwarf shrub that grows in sub-arctic conditions and northern climates across the world, including Scandinavia and Canada. The plant consists of small green leaves intermixed with red berries that resemble cranberries. The bush is commonly eaten by wild animals, including bears—hence the common name. The berries are also edible for humans, although certainly not as versatile or good tasting as the plant’s cranberry cousins. The main area of interest however is the leaf of the plant. These leaves are attributed to a number of medicinal properties found uva ursi tea that have been utilized for hundreds of years.
The most famous property of uva ursi tea is the antibacterial abilities of the plant. Topically, the leaves are used to treat wounds and infections, and natives would crush the leaves in the mouth, and then apply the paste directly on top of a cut of abrasion. These bacteria fighting agents are just as useful inside of the body, and ova ours is commonly used as an internal detoxifier and antiseptic. Similar to cranberries, the diuretic properties of the plant are known to help flush toxins straight through the system, and active ingredients of the plant will simultaneously help cleanse the bladder.
Traditionally, uva ursi tea is thus used to help with bladder infections. The astringent properties of the tea will not only soothe potential inflammations (the tea also contains anti-inflammatory agents), calm gastrointestinal pain, but also eliminate the infections themselves. In days before antibiotics, this tea was commonly used to treat such conditions, and surprisingly it’s still used even today as a natural herbal remedy. Of course, like any herbal supplement, it should not be used as a replacement to traditional antibiotics. However, a few cups of the tea could greatly assist with the curing of a urinary tract infection.
Other uses for uva ursi tea include the treatment of high blood pressure and even weight loss, although additional scientific studies are needed to determine these effects. Currently, the best use of the tea is for detoxification purposes, and it may even be included as part of a colonic treatment to expel toxins and bacteria from the organs and gut. The tea may have certain side effects to be aware of, including even damaging effects to certain fluid processing organs. It should be considered a type of medicine and the use of the tea should be reserved to no more than a few days at a time to treat a specific condition.