What is bearberry used for?

Bearberry - application, effect, ingredients

Here you will find out everything you should know about the medicinal plant bearberry and bearberry leaves - from the ingredients to the effects and application.

What is bearberry?

Some Indian tribes in North America stuffed their peace pipes with bearberry leaves and other herbs. Bearberry is even more popular with bears, who appreciate their fruits in culinary terms. Due to this fact, the medicinal plant also got its name. In earlier times the evergreen bearberry (uva ursi) was used for dyeing wool and tanning leather. But now the medicinal plant has become rare, which is why the plant is under nature protection.

The real bearberry (Arctostaphylus uva-ursi) belongs to the heather family, just like the lingonberry and, by the way, the heather Bach flower. The dwarf shrub, which grows up to 60 centimeters high, is native to Central and Northern Europe as well as Canada and Siberia. It grows preferentially on heaths, in moors, mountains, but also in dry pine forests. Its egg-shaped, thick leaves are leathery and hang from branches that spread widely near the ground.

The flowering time of the bearberry is from May to June. During the time, the medicinal plant forms whitish-pink flowers that have a bell-shaped shape. The red fruits of the bearberry can be eaten raw, but have a bland, floury taste. After cooking, however, the berries take on a sweeter aroma.

Ingredients of bearberry

The ingredients with medicinal properties can be found in the bearberry leaves. Above all, the plant substance arbutin, which contains the substance hydroquinone, is responsible for the healing effects of the plant. But also the abundant tannins and flavonoids make the bearberry a popular medicinal plant.

Bearberry effect

Bearberry for cystitis and urethritis

Bearberry leaves have a disinfecting effect that especially develops in the urinary tract. Therefore, they have traditionally been used for urinary tract infections such as cystitis or urethritis with painful urination, frequent urination and abdominal pain. But this herbal remedy can also provide relief for kidney gravel, irritable bladder, bladder stones, kidney stones or inflammation of the kidney pelvis.

The active ingredients contained in the extract of the leaves inhibit the reproduction of bacteria and kill them. With bear grape tea or a high-dose ready-made preparation made from bear leaves such as capsules or tablets, pain when urinating, for example when a cystitis starts, can be alleviated or completely subsided. Bearberry extract, as a home remedy, is a natural alternative to antibiotics in many cases - provided that the symptoms are not too pronounced.

Some sources report that the medicinal properties of bearberry leaf tea are enhanced if you also take baking soda. To do this, you can dissolve 1 pinch of baking soda (sodium hydrogen carbonate) in a glass of water and drink it with the bearberry leaf tea. The baking soda ensures that the urine becomes more basic, which is supposed to strengthen the healing effect.

Bearberry against pigment spots

Bearberry is also a herbal remedy that is used in natural medicine for excessive pigmentation. You can counter pigment spots such as age spots, freckles or melasma (facial spots) with a cream made from bearberry extract.

Application and dosage of bearberry

You can buy dried bearberry leaves in pharmacies, drugstores or online shops to use them to make bearberry tea - for example to relieve cystitis. The tea is also available ready-made in tea bags. In addition, there are ready-made preparations made from the extract of bearberry leaves such as capsules, tablets, coated tablets, tinctures and homeopathic globules. In cosmetics, the high-dose bearberry extract is used as a facial tonic or cream - for example as a hand cream. The medicinal plant is often found in ready-to-use preparations such as capsules combined with other medicinal herbs such as goldenrod.

Bearberry leaf tea

Bearberry leaves are part of many kidney and bladder teas, along with medicinal plants such as birch and horsetail. For a bear grape tea, you take 1 teaspoon of leaves and boil them in 250 milliliters of water for 5 minutes. You can also fill the leaves with cold water (1 cup) and let the tea stand for 12 hours so that almost all of the active ingredient in the tea dissolves. You heat this tea for drinking. In this way, the bearberry leaf tea is also tastier, as the tannins are not dissolved. You can drink 2 to 4 cups of the tea per day if you have urinary tract complaints.

High-dose ready-to-use preparations made from extract of bearberry leaves

Due to the high fluctuations in the active ingredient content, bearberry tea can be too low in dosage. Then it makes sense to take high-dose finished preparations such as coated tablets or capsules. Take 2 of the bearberry tablets or dragees 2 to 4 times a day, and 15 to 25 drops of the tincture 1 to 3 times a day. You can find more detailed information on this in the respective package insert.

Use of bearberry leaves in the kitchen

Compote or syrup is made from the fruits of the bearberry, the berries. The fruit can also be used to make baked goods and jam.

What must be considered when using bearberry? Are there any side effects?

Bearberry supplements should not be taken for more than 7 days. They may not be used more than five times a year.

As a precaution, bearberry preparations such as capsules or tea should not be taken during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is also not recommended for children under 12. In rare cases, side effects such as skin irritation, stomach pain or nausea can occur. A harmless side effect of bearberry extract is that the urine can turn a slightly greenish color.

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