Friday, November 26, 2021

Bearberry tea

Bearberry leaf is the common name for the leaves of the plant Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng. The plant is a ubiquitous procumbent evergreen shrub located throughout North America, Asia, and Europe. The fruits are almost tasteless despite containing a high concentration of active ingredients in many commercial products.

Bearberry leaves use is for the first time literally documented in the Middle Ages in the Welsh “Physicians of Nyddfai” from the 13th century. It seems that bearberry leaf was used in Northern areas as a folk remedy long before it came to the Central Europe.

Bearberry is mentioned for example in “Historia Rariorum Plantarum” by Carolus Clusius, Antwerp (1601) and also by LinnĂ© in his “Materia Medica” from 1749.

The main constituents of bearberry leaf are the glycosides arbutin (5%–15%), methylarbutin (up to 4%), and small quantities of the free aglycones. Other constituents include ursolic acid, tannic acid, gallic acid, p-coumaric acid, syringic acid, galloylarbutin, gallo-tannins, and flavonoids, notably glycosides of quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin.

Herbal medicines containing these bearberry leaf preparations are usually available as herbal tea to be drunk and in liquid or solid forms to be taken by mouth.

These bearberry leaf preparations can be used for relief of symptoms of mild, recurrent infections in the lower urinary tract (the structure that carries urine), such as a burning sensation when passing urine and/or frequently passing urine. It has also been recommended for inducing diuresis and to treat constipation. In addition, the leaves of Arctostaphylos have been dried and smoked as tobacco, while leaves and berries have also been used as food.
Bearberry tea

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Herbal medicines for human use