Urva Ursi is widely used in the herbal traditions of Europe, Asia and North America as a urinary antiseptic. It is in the same family as the blueberry and the upland cranberry. Urva Ursi thrives in sunny, yet damp coditions in grasslands, heaths and thickets. It contains arbutin and methylarbutin (which turn into antiseptics in the presence of water, tannins (15-20%), flavonoids, volatile oils, iridoids, and resin. It acts as a principally upon relaxed mucosa to give better tone and restrain excessive discharges from bacterial infection. Urva Ursi is useful for swollen mucous membranes from the throat all the way down to the intestine, bladder and uterus.
Also known as: Bearberry (Indian medicine); Kinnikinnick – identifying it as an ancient Indian smoking herb. Urva Ursi means “bear’s grape” in Latin and comes from the fact that bears are fond of the fruits.
Taste/Energetics: slightly pungent / astringent / Bitter / Cooling / PK- V+
*Associated with the 6th Chakra: Sex Center
Tissue State: relaxation, depression
Body Systems: Urinary, Male Reproductive (prostate), Cardiovascular, Digestive, Skeletal, Skin
Symptoms: Sore gums or canker sores, sore throat, bladder infection, bronchitis, indigestion or nausea, arthritis, lower back pain, fluid retention, bloating or swelling, urethritis, alcoholism, diarrhea, dysentery, gonorrhea, bed-wetting, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, wounds, dermatitis, hepatitis.
It has anesthetic properties that help numb urinary-tract pain
Actions: alterative, diaphoretic, stimulant, diuretic, astringent, antiseptic , demulcent
Dosage: Infusion (1-2 teaspoons per cup), Capsules – take ¼ teaspoon in a ½ a cup of water after each dose. Should not be taken for longer than a week. Tincture: 20-40 drops 3x day for no more than 10 days at a time.
*Combine with Couchgrass and Yarrow for urinary tract infections
Menstrum: Infusion, Tincture, Extract, Capsules, Tincture, Wash, Douche
Foods to Avoid: Meat, Vitamin C, and Fruit Juice, Dairy – all acidic foods and proteins.
Possible Reactions / Precautions: Cause urine to turn green – not a dangerous symptom. Tannins may cause constipation. Avoid using on patients with chronic kidney disease, peptic ulcers or duodenal ulcers, and it could aggravate gastro esophageal reflux disease. Could cause nausea and vomiting in sensitive adults and children. It has also been noted to cause ringing of the ears. This will stop after 2-3 days of discontinued use. Contraindicated during pregnancy (according to some). Large doses can be toxic cause liver impairment in young children. Not recommended for children under the age of 12.
Written by: Sheryl Burns
Sources: Prescription for Herbal Healing; Phyllis A. Bach, CNC Page: 138/The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to New World Medicinal Plants; Matthew WoodPage: 74-76/The Herbal Healing Remedies Sourcebook; C. Norman Shealy MD, PhDPage: 354/Addiction Free Naturally; Brigitte Mars Page: 74/The Yoga of Herbs; Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Vasant LadPage: 156-217/The New Healing Herbs; Michael CastlemanPage: 466-468/Holistic Herbal: David HoffmanPage: 179