This hardy shrub, uva ursi, grows in great abundance in the northern part of the U.S. Also known as bearberry, it was formerly imported from Europe to the States.
The GREEN LEAVES are the only part used in medicine. The fresh leaves are inodorous but, when dried and powdered, acquire a smell not unlike that of hay. The taste is bitterish, strongly astringent, and ultimately sweetish. Water extracts their active principles which are also soluble in alcohol.
Though knownto the ancients, it had passed into almost entire neglect until it was revived about the middle of the last century. It has acquired some reputation as being a preventative of urinary calculus and is undoubtedly serviceable in gravel, probably by giving tone to the digestive organs and preventing the accumulation of principles calculated to produce a secretion or precipitation of calculous matter.
Uva ursi is astringent and tonic and while influencing all the mucous membranes, it specially influences that of the genital and urinary organs. It is possibly without an equal in chronic inflammation of the bladder and kidneys. In chronic nephritis, it is a popular remedy. It is considered a specific in ulceration of the kidneys, bladder, and urinary passages. In practically all the diseases of the urinary organs, this remedy is of real service; incontinence of urine, aching back from kidney troubles, congestion or prostatic weakness. It has been used in combination with other remedies in stranuary with good effect. It increases the flow of urine, relieving the congestion and toning the parts. In catarrh of the bladder, gleet, gonorrhea, and leucorrhea, the leaves of this plant will be helpful.
A very serviceable remedy for use in gravel, stricture, suppression of urine, catarrh of the bladder, or inflammation, infuse 1/2 oz. each of uva ursi, white poplar bark, and marshmallow root in 1 pt. boiling water for 20 min. Strain and take 3 T. 3 times daily.
In cases of cystic catarrh, prolapsus uteri, flaccid vagina and uterus, aching of the kidneys and bladder, the following is a good pelvic tonic: 1 oz. each uva ursi and squaw vine (mitchella) and 1/2 oz. dandelion root simmered in 1 qt. water 20 min. Strain and take 3 or 4 T. 3 times daily.
In Enuresis, the following is a good formula: 1 oz. uva ursi and 1/2 oz. each of white poplar, sumach berries, and yarrow. Simmer in 1 qt. water for 20 min. Strain and take 3 T. 3 times daily. Use the hot sitz bath daily or rub the lumbar region every day with a solution of common salt and cold water.
Uva ursi is best in hot infusion, but its tonic effect is best obtained from cold preparations. The decoction is usually preferred.
The simple infusion is made by steeping 1 oz. leaves in 1 pt. boiling water, taking a wine-glassful 3 to 4 times daily. The dose of the powder is from a scruple to a drachm., repeated 3 or 4 times daily.