Bearberry – effect and application – naturopathy – naturheilverfahren fachportal

Bearberry – effect and application

This text complies with the specifications of medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been reviewed by medical doctors and physicians.

The real bearberry owes its name to the observation that bears like to eat the small red fruits of the bush. (Image: USantos /

Bearberry leaf tea for urinary tract diseases

When it comes to urinary tract infections, the true bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) is one of the most important medicinal herbs. Many herbal medicines for cystitis and Co. do not work without this herb. And Arctostaphylos uva-ursi can also help with other abdominal complaints.

Characteristics of bearberry

  • Scientific name: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
  • plant family: Hey >As a natural remedy, the leaves of the bearberry are used. (Image:

Real bearberry – plant portrait

The genus of bearberry belongs to the family of the heather family (Ericaceae), in addition to the genuine bearberry, there are also some other important medicinal herbs and in particular urinary tract herbs in particular. For example, cranberry and cranberry are also commonly used medicinal plants for cystitis or kidney problems. Also in the blueberry or blueberry are the anthocyanins ingredients that help especially in inflammation of the urinary tract. A whole swing of healing berry herbs, that are frolicking among the heather plants.

The drupes of bearberry are edible, it is advisable to cook the floury-dry fruits first. As a result, the berries best develop their sweet taste and can be used, for example, to make jams, syrups or fruit drinks.

The fruits not only taste good to humans. As the name suggests, bears in particular have great weakness for the drupes of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi. This looks quite similar to the related cranberry, so you might think that the curative effect of the bearberry is also about the berry-like fruits of the plant. However, the actual healing power is in the plant leaves.

by the way: Not only bears are especially fond of bearberry fruits. Nicknames such as wolfberry or wolf grape suggest that many a wolf in between likes to eat the red berries. The leaves of the Bärentraube are, as well as with five to ten centimeters not particularly high-growing dwarf shrub itself, not particularly large. Just one to three inches long and about 0.5 to 1.5 inches wide, they are what makes the plucking of individual leaves for healing purposes to a rather nerve-wracking affair. It is therefore better to cut off fresh leaf shoots as a whole, to dry them and then strip off the leaves uncomplicated with the thumb and forefinger of the shoot.

Known as a medicinal herb, bearberry has been known in Europe since ancient times. Originally from the far north, it has been used as a herbal medicine mainly in Scandinavian countries such as Finland. Here, in addition to the use in cystitis, the use of the bearberry in wounds and inflammations of the skin was known.

In the superstition of the Native Americans of North America, the plant was also awarded a protective function against evil spirits. According to him, who carried branches of this medicinal plant, nothing evil should be done by entities of the Otherworld. This use as a magic and protective plant is most likely derived from the positive experiences that the Indians made with the medicinal herb in the treatment of diseases and injuries.

Overall, the following application areas of bearberry are known in this respect:

  • Biliary problems such as gallbladder, gallstones or gallbladder inflammations.
  • Urinary tract diseases such as cystitis, bladder stones, pyelonephritis or kidney semen.
  • Other complaints such as bronchitis, diarrhea, gout, headache or vitamin C deficiency.

Bearberry leaves have been used for centuries as a natural remedy for cystitis. (Image: absolutimages /

Ingredients and effect of bearberry

In the leaves of the genuine bearberry are numerous ingredients that are already known from other bladder and kidney herbs such as nettle, birch leaves or horsetail. Bärentraube is also often combined with these for kidney and bladder tea.

The exception is the cranberry, which, as mentioned above, looks very similar to the true bearberry, but is said to lift the action of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi as part of a combination tea. So you should opt for one of the two plants here.

If the choice is made for the bearberry, the following ingredients support the beneficial effect of the tea:

  • bitters,
  • tannins,
  • flavono >tannins

In the Middle Ages Bärentraube was used in northern countries for the tanning of leather. The reason for this was the high content of vegetable tannins (tannins) in Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, which is also of particular importance for the healing properties of the plant. Because tannins act

  • antibacterial,
  • antifungal,
  • antiviral,
  • blutstillend,
  • detoxifying,
  • draining,
  • and anti-inflammatory.

Especially in inflammation of the urinary tract and the gastrointestinal tract Tannins are therefore used very often. All the healing effects are attributed to one and the same effect, namely the astringent property of the tannins. By compressing the surface tissue of the skin and mucous membranes, on the one hand the absorption and the escape of body secretions such as water, blood or inflammatory secretions is inhibited, which urges the urine, stops bleeding and reduces inflammatory processes.

On the other hand, the astringents of tannins ensure that infectious and inflammatory agents can not penetrate further into the tissue. Especially with cystitis the tannins of the bearberry help to quickly flush out inflammation germs by a combined antibiotic and diuretic effect from the urinary tract.


The dyeing of wool with the help of bearberry was also common in the countries of Scandinavia. For this purpose, the plant dyes contained in Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, better known as flavonoids, were used. The word comes from Latin flavus for “yellow” and goes back to the fact that yellow plant dyes were the first that were discovered at the time.

In earlier times, the bearberry was used for dyeing wool. (Image: Asta Plechaviciute /

Today, these yellow plant dyes within the flavonoids in a separate subgroup are summarized as so-called flavones. Of these, the bearberry contains quite a lot among which Quercetin is probably the best known. It acts as an anti-oxidant against free radicals, which benefits the urinary tract as well as the bile and the digestive tract in case of illness. Because free radicals are known to provoke a variety of inflammatory diseases in the body and also to weaken the immune system. Especially in infectious and inflammatory diseases are antioxidant ingredients such as the genuine bearberry therefore important helpers. Other flavonoids in the plant that have a very similar effect to quercetin are:

  • Izokvertsitrin,
  • Miricitrin,
  • Giperoz >glycosides

As glycosides in chemistry and medicine organic compounds are called, which consist of an alcohol and a sugar. This particular combination sometimes produces a range of healing effects that vary depending on the type of glycosides. In the bearberry, for example, the glycoside arbutin acts.

In medicine, this drug is known for its antibacterial properties, which sometimes develop very targeted in the bladder. Because Arbutin can be used by the body only poorly, which is why after a path through the metabolism of about six hours almost unvaluated (about 70 to 75 percent) in the kidneys arrives. Here it can be split for the first time by special bacteria and sometimes bacterial infectious agents. The latter, in effect, open the Pandora’s box and help combat it with liberated arbutin.

The glycosides also include the iridids in the leaves of the true bearberry. They are often referred to as iridoid glycosides and are also on top of the bitter substances. Among the digestive active ingredients, bitter substances are undefeated at number one. Not without reason, therefore, they form the most important ingredient for bitters and other digestive agents.

Iridides also have a strong antibiotic effect. In addition to digestive problems such as diarrhea, they can thus also be useful in infectious diseases of the digestive tract and the urinary tract by bacteria or fungi.

The leaves of the bearberry contain the active ingredient salicylic acid, which has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. (Image: wWeiss Lichtspiele /

salicylic acid

Salicylic acid was named after one of its most important vegetable sources, the bark of the willow tree (Salix). However, the plant acid also occurs in the leaves, roots and flowers of various other plants, including the leaves of the bearberry. Characteristic of this plant substance is that he has a

  • antimicrobial,
  • diarrhea-stopping,
  • anti-inflammatory,
  • anticoagulant
  • and analgesic

Has effect. Special applications include skin irritation and dermatitis as well as circulatory disorders.

vitamin C

The fact that bearberry is also used during the treatment of vitamin C deficiency is, of course, due to the fact that the plant is rich in vitamin C. Here, in addition to a tea from bearberry leaves, dishes with the vitamin-rich stone fruit of the heather family are recommended. In its effect vitamin C supports especially the

  • antioxidant,
  • immune boosting,
  • and metabolism-stimulating

Characteristics of the bearberry. Furthermore, the vitamin is known for its cholesterol-lowering and nerve-strengthening effects. Skin, blood vessels and joints also benefit from a regulated supply of vitamin C..

Vitamin C deficiency, better known as “scurvy”, therefore has far-reaching consequences for the entire organism. For example, wounds heal significantly worse with such a deficiency phenomenon. Also, the risk of infection and inflammation in the context of scurvy increases significantly. Last but not least, there are more skin, muscle, digestive and joint complaints. In all these areas, the bearberry can provide up to recovery supportive function.

Bearberry leaves – application and dosage

The oldest form of curative application of bearberry is not that in tea form. In fact, it was initially more common to place the fresh leaves of the plant on open wounds and thus to disinfect the wound site. Later, for the same purpose, a mass was made from the ground powder of the dried bearberry leaves, or compresses were placed in extracts of the bearberry before they were wound around the injury.

Traditionally, fresh bearberry leaves have been used as a natural disinfectant for open wounds. (Image: nedim_b /

In modern times, however, the use as a tea herb predominates. For the basic recipe applies here:

  • A tablespoon of cut bearberry leaves,
  • to 250 milliliters of boiling water,
  • with a brewing time of five minutes.

The tea should be drunk while it is still warm, with up to four cups a day. Overall, however, an application should not be longer than eight days at a time.

Watch out! It should be noted that wild specimens of bearberry in this country are on the Red List of endangered species and thus protected! If you want to collect yourself, you have to pull the herb in the garden at home. In this way, one can also provide a safe haven for the endangered stocks.

Bearberry leaf tea

In order to produce an effective healing tea for the various symptoms, a variety of other medicinal herbs are available, which can be meaningfully combined with the leaves of the bearberry.

Recipes for bladder and kidney tea with bearberry

When it comes to bladder and kidney diseases, there are several recipes that contain bearberry as an ingredient. Depending on the specific complaint here vary the other herbal ingredients.

Bearberry leaf tea in cystitis:

  • 15 grams (g) field horsetail
  • 15 g bearberry leaves
  • 15 g birch leaves
  • 15 g bean shells
  • 7 g of mate leaves
  • 7 g Orthosiphon leaves

Mix the herbs together and then remove the herb mixture seven teaspoons. Then pour the tea herbs over with a cup of boiling water and let it drain for ten minutes. After filtering off the herbs, five cups of this tea per day can be drunk in case of cystitis.

Kidney tea in renal pelvic inflammation:

  • 10 g bearberry leaves,
  • 10 g birch leaves,
  • 10 g corn stalk,
  • 10 g of grass roots,
  • and 10 g of licorice root.

For a cup of tea to treat renal pelvic inflammation (or even bladder inflammation) a teaspoon is taken from the above mixture and this is poured over with 250 milliliters of water. The brewing time is a little longer at ten minutes, because the herbal mixture contains very hard root herbs of couch grass and liquorice, which have to be soaked a little longer. After drawing the tea, the herbs are sieved off as usual and the tea is drunk in small sips. The daily dose is two to three cups per day.

If the bearberry leaves are combined with other medicinal plants, effective teas can be prepared for bladder and kidney problems. These include, for example, corn stingers and licorice root. (Image:

Bearberry tea for kidney and bladder stones:

  • 10 g bearberry leaves,
  • 10 g parsley root
  • and 10g asparagus root.

Also in this tea for stone diseases in the area of ​​the urinary tract, the herbs are mixed together in advance and then removed per cup of two teaspoons of herbal mixture. Put in a cup of boiling water, the tea is ready after a brewing time of five minutes and can be enjoyed up to three times a day after sifting the herbs.

Bearberry leaves in bile and liver tea

This tea is suitable for gallstones or gallbladder infections, but also for liver inflammation or bile accumulation. However, the latter should only be treated with medicinal herbs if there is no stenosis of the biliary tract. The ingredients:

  • 30 grams (g) dandelion root,
  • 20 g bearberry,
  • 20 g of milk thistle,
  • 20 g peppermint,
  • 5 g caraway
  • 5 g of chamomile.

Mix the herbs together as usual and take one tablespoon per cup of tea. This is then doused with 150 milliliters of water and must be drawn for ten to fifteen minutes before the herbs are filtered off. You can drink three to four cups of this tea per day.

Incompatibilities and interactions

In some cases, bearberry can lead to intolerances. Also, interactions with drugs can not be ruled out. In addition, overdosing on Arctostaphylos uva-ursi may cause the tannins of the plant to produce an opposite effect and irritate the stomach, leading to constipation, abdominal or stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting.

Bearberry is poisonous?

Although it does not belong to the poison plants, care should be taken that bearberry is not overdosed.

Watch out: We would therefore like to point out once again that bear’s venom tea should be used for a maximum of six to eight days and in total may not be taken more than five weeks a year. Otherwise, it will inevitably lead to an overdose. (Ma)

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