Uva Ursi Organic Tea Leaves - The Benefits
If you’re looking to discover the benefits of organic Uva Ursi tea then you’re in the right place.
Uva Ursi is an evergreen shrub whose leaves are used to make traditional medicine.
Also known as Arctostaphylos uva ursi, the shrub goes by many other names, bearberry, and kinnikinnick being the most common.
Uva Ursi plant produces a small berry-like fruit that bears love eating, hence the names bearberry and uva ursi, meaning ‘grape of the bear.’
This extremely winter hardy plant has a long history of use, typically dating back to the 2nd century.
Native Americans used Uva Ursi plant extracts extensively as a natural remedy for urinary tract infections and when headaches took their toll on them.
So what are the modern-day benefits of this wonder-herb?
What Is Uva Ursi?
Uva ursi is a small woody, evergreen shrub that belongs to a family of plants known as Ericaceae.
It produces bright red berries, which bears are very interested in as it is a basic part of their diet.
The shrub is typically prevalent throughout Europe, North America, Siberia, Peninsula, and the Himalayas.
The leaves of arctostaphylos Uva ursi plants are evergreen, thick, and shiny with a rounded tip.
You’ll quickly notice its short and creeping reddish-brown branches and its pink (sometimes white) flowers that grow in clusters and have a bell shape, usually blooming in the summer.
Uva ursi possesses many beneficial properties, including anti-inflammatory, hemostatic, anti-diarrhoeal, and astringent effects.
Although the entire plant is harvested, only the leaves are used in herbal medicine.
Available Forms of Uva Ursi
You can buy uva ursi from a health food store near me or simply make an online order.
It is available for consumption in many forms, including powder, capsules, tinctures, and crushed leaves.
Uva Ursi Tea
Uva ursi tea is revered for its ability to kill several bacteria species, including e.coli, Staphylococcus spp, Proteus Vulgaris, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Another benefit of this herbal tea is its potential to help with kidney diseases, backaches, and nephritis.
Uva ursi infusions are straightforward to prepare as you can boil uva ursi on its own or combine it with multiple possibilities.
You can boil a cup of water, add a teaspoon of bearberry leaves, and then strain the leaves- drink three cups per day.
Edibles And Other Forms
Capsules, tinctures, and powders are all available forms of Uva Ursi.
This helps you achieve the health benefits while you are on the go.
The recommended dose is 5ml 3 times daily.
Benefits of Organic Uva Ursi - The Science
Current research and clinical trials show that uva ursi contains 2 molecules that have the potential to fight infections.
In fact, Uva ursi was a popular treatment for bladder infections until the development of antibiotics and sulfa drugs.
Sometimes, it can be combined with hops and peppermint to help people with painful urination and compulsive bedwetting.
Bearberry also contains a compound known as hydroquinone which is commonly used in creams and lotions to lighten the skin.
Current research findings show that the herb is highly effective at the first sign of an infection.
And it may even offer you the best results if your urine is alkaline, as the acid can destroy its antibacterial properties.
But although uva ursi is possibly safe for short-term oral consumption by healthy adults, more research is still needed to determine its safety profile and how it works.
Beneficial Compounds In Uva Ursi
Dried uva ursi leaves are highly valued in herbal medicine.
Though some commercial teas and other products’ labels may contain the entire plant, it is often an indication of a poor quality product.
Active properties such as flavonoids and tannins are prevalent in the leaves.
Arbutin, another major and beneficial compound that exists in 5-12% in the plant, is transformed into hydroquinone by the enzymes in the gut.
Hydroquinone is the main compound responsible for the plant’s medical actions, and a standardized bearberry herbal extract typically contains 420mg of arbutin.
Other beneficial compounds in uva ursi
- Tannins– they clean and shrink your body tissues
- Minerals– they include manganese, iron, and selenium
- Flavonoids- including quercetin and catechin
- Phenolic acids– such as syringic acid and gallic
- Fatty acids, resin, and more.
You want to harvest your bearberry leaves in the autumn as arbutin content is usually at its peak.
Indigenous or wild bearberries are said to provide the best quality herbal products.
Uva Ursi Tea - Mechanism of Action
It’s important to note that there is limited research into uva ursi.
However, current research focuses on arbutin and its metabolite hydroquinone.
The results gathered suggest that they may: inhibit bacterial growth, relieve inflammation, protect the nerves and reverse damages due to oxidative stress.
In addition, the active compounds can inhibit tyrosinase, an enzyme that catalyzes melanin production, while its antibacterial properties significantly impact its potential to treat infections such as UTIs.
Keep reading to find out more about the 7 Benefits of organic Uva Ursi Tea.
7 Benefits of Organic Uva Ursi Tea
1. Liver Protection
Another health benefit of uva ursi is its potential to maintain liver health.
The corilagin compound in uva ursi has shown its ability to protect against liver diseases.
Animal studies show that it can protect the liver from:
- Bleeding due to injuries
- Toxic drugs (Tylenol)
- Parasitic infections
- Impaired flow of bile acid
There is insufficient evidence to support uva ursi’s liver protection benefits.
Hence, human studies are still needed to determine if bearberry can help with liver diseases and protect the liver in humans.
2. May Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections (UTI) are very common, affecting 1 out of every 5 women at some point in their lifetime.
UTI can also affect men, children, and older adults.
The bacteria that cause UTI, E.coli, and E. faecalis are resistant to most of the commonly used antibiotics. Uva ursi tea can help with this health condition.
Uva ursi effectively prevented bladder inflammation during a clinical trial that involved 57 women with frequent cases of UTI.
After 30 days of taking 540mg of the dry extract per day, the women were symptom-free for one year, and no side effects were reported.
In a much larger clinical trial, however (382 patients), bearberry failed to cure UTI, and by the end of day 4 of the infection, the women did not report any difference in the symptoms, resulting in antibiotic use as an alternative.
3. Helps With Inflammation and Allergies
Uva ursi and its active ingredient arbutin provided positive results during a study on mice with allergies, including:
- Decreasing inflammation and swelling
- Relieving allergic reactions
- Soothing the animal’s skin and supporting standard treatments with corticosteroids and NSAIDs.
4. Helps With Other Urinary Tract Issues
Uva ursi tea may help treat kidney stones and protect urinary tract health.
Researchers observed its ability to dissolve kidney stones during a study on rats.
They also noted its ability to clean the urinary tract by increasing urine flow in the rats while ensuring an electrolyte balance.
5. Helps With Microbial Infections
The antibacterial properties of uva ursi can help treat microbial infections. Uva ursi extract reduced the growth of MRSA during a cell study.
MRSA bacteria is very resistant to antibiotics, but when antibiotics were combined with uva ursi, it elevated their potency up to 100-2,000 times.
6. Lightens The Skin and Removes Spots
Uva ursi extracts, including its active ingredients arbutin and hydroquinone, have long been used in cosmetic products to lighten the skin and remove spots.
According to a review of 30 clinical trials, arbutin is an efficient depigmentation/lightening compound.
Hydroquinone is also a potent depigmentation agent, but health care providers do not recommend its use in skin care products due to its safety profile.
A test-tube study found that using the leaves of uva ursi and its compounds arbutin plus hydroquinone inhibit melanin production.
7. Helps With High Blood Pressure
Corilagin, a major active ingredient in uva ursi leaves, effectively reduced high blood pressure during an animal study by blocking noradrenaline release and relaxing blood vessels.
More research is still needed to determine uva ursi effects on human blood pressure.
Possible Side Effects Of Uva Ursi Tea
Uva Ursi is considered safe for short-term (up to 30 days) oral consumption by healthy adults. Users may experience some side effects like:
- Stomach discomforts
- Nausea and vomiting
- Urine discoloration to a greenish-brown
Long-term exposure and high doses of uva ursi may be unsafe. Some side effects may include:
- Breathing issues
- Eye problems
- Liver damage
Always check with your healthcare provider if unsure about adding new substances to your diet, especially if taking medication or pregnant.
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Larsson B, Jonasson A, Fianu S. Prophylactic effect of UVA-E in women with recurrent cystitis: a preliminary report. Curr Ther Res. 1993;53:441-3.
Matsuda H, Nakamura S, Tanaka T, Kubo M. [Pharmacological studies on leaf of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng. V. Effects of water extract from Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng.
Parejo I, Viladomat F, Bastida J, Codina C. A single extraction step in the quantitative analysis of arbutin in bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) leaves by high-performance liquid chromatography. Phytochem Anal. 2001;12(5):336-9.
Shimizu M, Shiota S, Mizushima T, et al. Marked potentiation of activity of beta-lactams against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus by corilagin. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2001;45(11):3198-201.
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