A to Z Herbarium: Uva Ursi

Psychic Workings

Also known as bearberry, because apparently bears enjoy eating the fruit. Can be used in sachets to increase psychic powers. It’s also used in ceremonial smoking mixtures among a number of Native American tribes.

In Iceland, uva ursi was used to make ink, tan leather, and dye yarn. A tonic made from the berries was used to stimulate the blood and increase appetite. It was also believed carrying bearberry would protect one against evil spirits and ghosts.

Uva ursi is most commonly used to treat urinary tract ailments, such as bladder and kidney infections. Drinking it as a tea can help prevent kidney stones, and is also used as a diuretic. Combining it with dandelion root and leaves can help prevent recurring urinary tract infections.

Too much uva ursi can be toxic, however, and should not be taken more than five days in row, or more than five times in a year. It contains hydroquinone which can be harmful to the liver. So be sure to check with your doctor before taking this herb.

Sources:

Cunningham’s Encylopedia of Magical Herbs, Scott Cunningham, 2016, Llewellyn Publications

Icelandic Herbs and Their Medicinal Uses, Anna Rosa Robertsdottir and Matthew Wood, 2016, Frog Ltd.

Health Guide Info

University of Maryland Medical Center

Wikipedia

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Sophie Duncan - a couple of years ago

I have never heard of Uva Ursi before. It does sound like a really useful plant, though.
Sophie
Sophie’s Thoughts & Fumbles – Dragon Diaries

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    Sara C. Snider - a couple of years ago

    I hadn’t heard of it either. It sounds cute and roly-poly to me. 😉

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Melanie Atherton Allen - a couple of years ago

I’d never heard of Uva Ursi before, either! Thanks, Sara!

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    Sara C. Snider - a couple of years ago

    Always fun to learn! 🙂

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Hilary Melton-Butcher - a couple of years ago

Hi Sara – I’ve heard of this plant before … though can imagine that the plant was used to make ink, tan leather and dye yarn … similar to oak galls – and the origin of primitive ink …

Interesting additional ideas for the plant though … cheers Hilary

http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/u-is-for-unicorn.html

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    Sara C. Snider - a couple of years ago

    I always find it interesting the many different sources of inks and dyes.

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JazzFeathers - a couple of years ago

One of those cheeky plants that can be beneficial of harmful, depending how you treat them, eh? 😉

@JazzFeathers
The Old Shelter – 1940s Film Noir

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    Sara C. Snider - a couple of years ago

    Yeah, there are a fair amount of those. 😉

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Tarkabarka - a couple of years ago

We call it bear grapes (medveszőlő), but I think some English-speaking person passed up a chance to call them bearries…

The Multicolored Diary: WTF – Weird Things in Folktales

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    Sara C. Snider - a couple of years ago

    Noooo “bearries” haha! Bear grapes makes sense, because “uva” is latin for grape or berry, and ursi is for bear.

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Deborah Weber - a couple of years ago

Great choice for U. I literally knew nothing about Uva Ursi except its name. Lovely little berries.

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    Sara C. Snider - a couple of years ago

    It’s a double U too! 😉

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Keith's Ramblings - a couple of years ago

For the first time, you have caught me out with a herb I’ve never heard of! Interesting indeed.I can hardly wait for X and Z!

Another day in Amble Bay!

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    Sara C. Snider - a couple of years ago

    Yay! I had to get creative with X and Z… 😛

    Reply
Barbara In Caneyhead - a couple of years ago

I had never heard of this and don’t recall ever seeing it around here. Interesting use, similar to cranberry juice.
Perspectives at Life & Faith in Caneyhead

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    Sara C. Snider - a couple of years ago

    They do seem very similar to cranberries, both in look/use and where they grow.

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Molly of Molly's Canopy - a couple of years ago

Yes, Uva Ursi’s toxicity is concerning. I prefer Fennel or Corn Silk tea — both diuretic, but safer to consume.

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    Sara C. Snider - a couple of years ago

    Good to know about the fennel and corn silk. I’d also be pretty wary about taking uva ursi.

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susan scott - a couple of years ago

Rather magical sounding name – thanks Sara, interesting.

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    Sara C. Snider - a couple of years ago

    I like the sound of it. It’s like a little song. 😉

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Sage - a couple of years ago

I learned something new today. Where does it grow in North America?

http://sagecoveredhills.blogspot.com/2017/04/u-is-for-ursa-major.html

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    Sara C. Snider - a couple of years ago

    I think it grows mostly in the northern parts, in cooler climate areas as it doesn’t seem to tolerate high heat. So, Canada, Alaska, and the northern-ish states in the US are probably the most common, I’d say. Possibly further south if in mountainous regions. It seems to do well in sandy, acidic soil, so theoretically it probably grows in all sorts of places.

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Courtney - Maui Jungalow - a couple of years ago

That’s what it looks like. I was doing one of those detox kits a few years ago, and the special tea blend included uva ursi. Thanks for the info on the Prince symbol! Maui Jungalow

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    Courtney - Maui Jungalow - a couple of years ago

    BY the way, I did update the U blog post with a link to your blog in the caption. Thanks!

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    Sara C. Snider - a couple of years ago

    I did a detox once. To say I was not a happy camper would be a bit of an understatement. I haven’t done one since. Haha glad to help with the Prince symbol! 🙂

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McGuffy's Reader - a couple of years ago

I have heard of this. It is interesting that things can be very good for us, but the side effects can be a bit unnerving. Research and moderation are key.

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    Sara C. Snider - a couple of years ago

    Definitely research and moderation.

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Carrie-Anne - a couple of years ago

Those look like the red berries I often see growing in small bushes (not nightshade), though I was told those are poisonous.

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    Sara C. Snider - a couple of years ago

    They could well be, given the toxic attributes of bearberry. If it was what you saw, it was probably a good idea you were told they’re poisonous. Or, it could have been a different berry, and it seems like there are a fair amount of toxic red berries out there.

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Pamela - a couple of years ago

This one I’ve never heard of before so not sure if it grows in the UK or Australia. I do love how natural things are still used by some people to produce natural dyes for cloth – there seems to be a bit more of a resurgence for this.

Pamela @ Highlands Days of Fun

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    Sara C. Snider - a couple of years ago

    It might grow in the UK, not so sure about Australia though. And, yes, I love the resurgence of old knowledge and ways of doing things. I think it helps keep us in touch with who we are.

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Michelle Wallace - a couple of years ago

I’ve never heard of uva ursi or bearberry before…

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    Sara C. Snider - a couple of years ago

    I hadn’t either prior to this post. Always fun to learn. 🙂

    Reply
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