Dear Health-conscious Friend,
Beat Bladder Trouble with This Native American Secret
Although it’s one of the most useful herbs I’ve come across, I wouldn’t be surprised if you said you’d never heard of bearberry. Most people haven’t. The medical establishment has shunned it for decades.
Native Americans have used bearberry – or uva ursi, as it’s better known – as food and medicine for centuries. Some made a sort of cider from the berries. Others smoked the leaves before tobacco was available.
But they prized uva ursi for one use in particular. They discovered it had a powerful effect on the urinary tract.
Europeans have used uva ursi almost as long… at least since the 13th century. Today, many European countries – including Germany, France, and Spain – allow its use for urinary tract complaints.
Uva ursi hasn’t been widely studied. But there’s still fairly strong evidence for its use…
- A 1970 human study showed it inhibits bacteria in the urinary tract (UT). This includes E. coli, a common cause of UT problems.
- A 1986 test-tube study found the leaf extract is effective against 5 common types of bacteria.
- In 1999, researchers discovered it also inhibits H. pylori. This nasty bug is linked to serious digestive problems.
- Another study showed arbutin – found in bearberry leaves – inhibits at least 74 different strains of bacteria.1
Here’s roughly how uva ursi works…
Arbutin breaks down in your UT. There, it releases hydroquinone, a powerful germ killer. It’s also mildly astringent. That is, it has a tightening, toning effect on your tissues.
A report in Current Therapeutic Research shows just how effective bearberry can be.
Doctors recruited 57 female volunteers. All had several bladder problems in the prior year. The doctors gave uva ursi extract to half for a month. The rest took a placebo.
Over the next year, the placebo group had about the same number of problems. But the uva ursi group had far fewer. And they didn’t have side effects.2
Some doctors worry hydroquinone could make uva ursi unsafe. But the European Medicine Agency took a close look at the herb in 2009. They say several studies found “… there is no evidence to suggest that the toxicology of free HQ is of human relevance.”3
Finally, if you take a nutritional supplement with uva ursi, avoid acidic foods. Acid urine blunts its effectiveness.
In general, meats, dairy products and grains will make your urine more acidic. On the other hand, most fruits and vegetables promote more alkaline urine. When your urine leans more towards the alkaline, uva ursi will be more effective.
Yours in continued good health,
Dr Kenneth Woliner, M.D.
1 “Assessment report on Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng., folium,” European Medicines Agency. Jan 24, 2012; Rev 1:12-13.
2 Larsson, B., et al, “Prophylactic effect of UVA-E in women with recurrent cystitis:
A preliminary report,” Current Therapeutic Research. Apr 1993; 53(4): 441-443.
3 “Assessment report on Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng., folium,” European Medicines Agency. Jan 24, 2012; Rev 1: 19.