LATIN NAME: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

OTHER NAME: Bearberry, Beargrape

ORIGIN: Great Britain, Central Europe, Northern Europe

HABITAT: Great Britain, Central Europe, North America, Northern Europe. It grows predominantly in dry pine forests and larch forests, mainly on sandy soil, in birch-larch woodlands, on the meadows, coastal rocks and scree, on gravelly places in the Alpine belt. It prefers open, well-lit places, does not like to grow near other plants. This plant is typical for the forest zone of the Northern Hemisphere.

BOTANICAL INFORMATION: Uva Ursi (lat. Arctostáphylos úva-úris (L.) Spreng.) belongs to the Ericaceae family. The genus Arctostaphylos includes over 30 species widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere. Uva Ursi is a perennial evergreen outspread shrub, can reach up to 130 cm in height. Creeping branched shoots of a plant are covered with dark-brown bark. The leaves are alternate, evergreen, leathery, wrinkled above, about 2 cm long. On the upper side, the leaves are dark green, in fall they are sometimes reddish, shiny with well-marked depressed mesh veins, with the lower side, they are more light, dull, and naked. The flowers are pale pink, five-toothed aureole, collected in apical drooping inflorescences (brushes). The fruit is a red five-seed, mealy, spherical berry 6-8 mm in diameter. It flowers in May-June, bears fruit in July-September.

CHEMICAL COMPASITION: The main active ingredients of Uva Ursi herb include phenols and their derivatives: arbutin is contained in the plant shoots; leaves contain methyl arbutin, hydroquinone, n-methoxyphenol, 2-O-galloylarbutin, 6-O-galloylarbutin, piceoside.

In addition, the leaves contain ursuloic and oleic acids, erythrodiol, acaula, lupeol, α-amyrin, β-amyrin, catechins, anthocyanins. The shoots have phenol carbonic acids and their derivatives (gallic, n-coumaric, lilac, vanillic, ellagalovaya, protokatehonovaya, metilgallat, korilagin).

Flavonoids, iridoids , tannins of the pyrogallic group, organic acids (quinic, formic), essential oil in a small amount, macro- and microelements are also found in this herb.

ACTIONS: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi possesses alkaline, alterant, antibacterial, anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory, antiphlogistic, astringent, cardio tonic, circulatory, digestive, diuretic, styptic actions on the body.

Arbutin in its chemical composition helps to cleanse the body, providing diuretic and antiseptic effects.

Ursula prevents inflammation and kills bacteria. Gallic stops the development of cancers and premature aging.

Flavonoids protect against the entry of pathogenic bacteria, as well as microbes and viruses.

Tannins hold the intestines together, which helps prevent and treat diarrhea.

Hydroquinone saturates the blood with oxygen, improves metabolism.


  • Uva Ursi is used to disinfect the kidneys and get rid of toxins from the body, removes kidney stones and cures bladder infections.
  • Arctostaphylos uva-ursi  is used as an astringent, with diarrhea, heartburn, gastritis, colitis and other gastrointestinal diseases. In pediatrics, milk decoctions are used to treat diarrhea and gastritis.
  • Uva Ursi leaves, the use of which in nervous disorders for a long time was considered useless in science, are now increasingly used to treat disorders in the sympathetic nerve. Consequently, in the treatment of nervous disorders, precisely to combat Graves' disease.
  • Edemas of various etiologies: tuberculosis, diabetic, and sepsis with allergies. The use of this herb in edema contributes to the removal of excess fluid from tissues and organs, so that sometimes it is possible to save the lives of those who suffer from acute and chronic allergies.
  • Nervous disorders: depression, headaches, insomnia. Uva Ursi is active against these diseases due to the large number of glicosides, which have a positive effect on the patient’s nervous condition, normalize condition, calm and promote the normal functioning of the nervous system.
  • Due to the presence of a large number of flavonoids and antioxidants, it prevents the occurrence of mutated cells and inhibits the development of cancer tumors.


Uva Ursi is considered to be a relatively safe remedy, so it has not so many contraindications. Still, so patients with acute renal failure and glomerulonephritis should not take it.

Put an end to consumption of this plant in case of pregnancy or breast-feeding period.


  • The scientific name of the genus comes from the Greek. arktos- bear and staphyle - grape brush, and the specific name from the Latin. uva - grape brush and ursus - bear. So bearberry is bearish grape. Apparently, bears love to eat the fruits of this plant.
  • Uva Ursi grows near the ground, protecting itself from frost and other harsh conditions.
  • The plant grows in the arctic and subarctic climate.
  • Bearberry leaves contain a large amount of tannins, so in the XIX century they were used for the manufacture of fabrics (morocco).
  • Uva Ursi is very similar to lingonberries.

*This article is for informational purposes only. We suggest consulting a physician before using these or any other herbal supplements.