Uva Ursi, also known as hog berry, bearberry, and bear grape, is a shrub that yields red-colored berries, which contain several medicinal properties.
It is beneficial as an antiseptic, astringent, and diuretic. The herb is believed to have the ability to cure urinary tract infections (UTIs), lower blood pressure, alleviate arthritis symptoms, prevent cancer, reduce uric levels, promote hair health, improve skin health, as well as treat kidney-related issues.
Uva ursi is available in the form of powder, tea, capsules, tinctures, and crushed leaf preparations. The extract of the plant is commonly used for topical skin applications. However, only the leaves (not the berries) are used in herbal medicinal preparations.
Health Benefits for Uva Ursi
Now, let’s talk about the amazing things Uva Ursi can do for your health.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Since Uva Ursi is a diuretic, it is often prescribed as a treatment for high blood pressure. However, as the herb also reduces the body’s potassium levels, it is advisable to increase your consumption of bananas and fresh vegetables. In addition, diuretics like Uva Ursi are also prescribed to treat congestive heart failure. However, you should consult with a doctor before using Uva Ursi for heart-related problems.
Alleviates Arthritis Symptoms
Uva Ursi is also quite useful for people suffering from arthritis. It is rich in calcium and Omega 3, so when applied on painful arthritic joints, it eases the discomfort and strengthens the joints as well.
Studies have shown how effective the chemical compounds found in Uva Ursi are in preventing the growth and spread of cancer cells. While Uva Ursi extracts have inhibitory effects on cancer cells, due to its tannin content, it slows the proliferation of cancer cells as well. This is particularly the case for colon and melanoma cancer.
Promotes Hair Health
Hair loss can affect a person’s self-esteem and self-confidence, whether they are men or women. Some of the major causes of hair loss are dust, pollution, dust, unhealthy eating habits, stress, and sleep disorders. Luckily, you can minimize hair fall by using Uva Ursi extract to strengthen the hair roots and make them stronger. The nutrients in it are easily absorbed by the hair follicles to strengthen hair.
Uva Ursi extract contains antioxidants, which destroy free radicals, thereby averting hair discoloration. People who are concerned about prematurely graying of hair should simply apply a concoction of this herb to their hair.
For people with dry scalp, the use of Uva Ursi extract can naturally moisturize the scalp. This natural method is believed to be more effective than conventional moisturizers and conditioners that are packed with ‘harmful’ chemicals.
Beneficial for the Skin
If you are concerned about getting sunburned, then you will find Uva Ursi useful. It contains hydroquinone, which tones the skin. To prevent getting tanned or sunburned, simply apply the extract on your skin before stepping out into the sun.
To achieve flawless and blemish-free skin, apply Uva Ursi to get rid of acne scars, age spots, and dark spots. In fact, the extract of Uva Ursi can take care of fine lines and wrinkles to help reduce their appearance.
The application of Uva Ursi also helps to treat melasma (dark patches common to pregnant women) and ochronosis (a skin condition characterized by bluish-black patches all over the body).
Treats Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
If left untreated, urinary tract infections can become more serious and cause significant discomfort. The conventional treatment plan for UTIs commonly involves antibiotics but unfortunately, they can result in side effects. Luckily, Uva Ursi is a powerful natural remedy for urinary tract infections.
Reduces Uric Levels
People who have been diagnosed with high uric acid levels can also find the berry very helpful. It can significantly lower the levels of uric acid in the body and also inhibit the formation of kidney stones. You only need to take a supplement rich in Uva Ursi to keep kidney stones at bay.
Some of the other amazing health benefits of Uva Ursi include its ability to act as a muscle relaxant, cures diarrhea, combats E. Coli infection, and eliminates excess fluid from the body.
Uva Ursi is potentially toxic, which means you should consult with a doctor before taking it. In fact, herb experts recommend that the herb should not be taken for longer than two weeks and not more than five times a year. Other experts even recommend limiting the duration of uva ursi to no more than five days.
The standard dose for the dried Uva Ursi is 2 to 4 grams daily with 400 to 800 milligrams of arbutin. To make a tea, simply soak 3 grams of dried Uva Ursi leaves in 5 ounces of water for 12 hours. After which, you strain the tea and drink it four times daily. However, keep in mind that taking too much of Uva Ursi may be harmful to a person’s health.
Side Effects of Uva Ursi
Evidently, Uva Ursi is very beneficial for overall health but do not get carried away. While it is considered relatively safe for adults when taken orally for a short period of time, long-term use and high doses may be very harmful.
The side effects of short-term use may include insomnia, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, greenish-brown urine, and irritability. When used in the long-term or in high doses, Uva Ursi may result in seizures, liver damage, eye problems, difficulty in breathing, kidney problems, and even death.
The obvious signs of toxicity to watch out for include convulsions, vomiting, nausea, feelings of suffocation, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), collapse, and delirium.
Contraindications are simply situations that should not be combined with some drugs, vitamins, herbal supplements, or medical treatments. Uva Ursi is one herb that is contraindicated for people who have certain medical conditions or when taking specific types of medication.
People taking lithium, corticosteroids, or on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are advised to avoid taking Uva Ursi at the same time. For those with kidney problems, high blood pressure, liver disease, Crohn’s disease, digestive problems, ulcers, or retinal thinning, Uva Ursi is contraindicated.
Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should steer clear of Uva Ursi as it can induce labor and may be unsafe for babies. Anyone considering taking iron supplements should do so at least two hours before or two hours after taking Uva Ursi.
There are a number of safety measures that should be adhered to when taking Uva Ursi. You should always consult with a doctor before taking Uva Ursi due to its potentially toxic adverse effects, such as liver damage.
Always check with your doctor about how to make sure (with the help of diet or supplements) that your urine is alkaline since Uva Ursi is not often as potent with acidic urine. Note that acidic PH in the urine destroys the antibacterial effect of Uva Ursi.
Orange juice, cranberry juice, other citrus fruit juices, and vitamin C are all substances that make the urine more acidic and so should be avoided when taking Uva Ursi. Speak with a doctor to ensure that it is safe to use Uva Ursi to treat a UTI.
To enjoy all the health benefits this herb offers, use it in moderation and consult a health practitioner or herb expert before use.