Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Botanical Name : Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Arctostaphylos
Species: A. uva-ursi
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Common Names:kinnikinnick and pinemat manzanita,Uva Ursi , Bearberry

Habitat : The distribution of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi is circumpolar, and it is widespread in northern latitudes, but confined to high altitudes further south:

*in Europe, from Iceland and North Cape, Norway south to southern Spain (Sierra Nevada); central Italy (Apennines) and northern Greece (Pindus mountains);

*in Asia from arctic Siberia south to Turkey, the Caucasus and the Himalaya;

*in North America from arctic Alaska, Canada and Greenland south to California, north coast, central High Sierra Nevada (above Convict Lake, Mono County, California), Central Coast, California, San Francisco Bay Area, to New Mexico in the Rocky Mountains; and the Appalachian Mountains in the northeast United States.

In some areas the plant is endangered or has been extirpated from its native range. In other areas it is abundant.

Description:
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi is a small procumbent woody groundcover shrub 5–30 cm high. The leaves are evergreen, remaining green for 1–3 years before falling. The fruit is a red berry.
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The leaves are shiny, small, and feel thick and stiff. They are alternately arranged on the stems. Undersides of leaves are lighter green than on the tops. New stems can be red if the plant is in full sun, but are green in shadier areas. Older stems are brown. In spring, they have white or pink flowers

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Cultivation ::
There are several cultivars that are propagated for use as ornamental plants. It is an attractive evergreen plant in gardens, and it is also useful for controlling erosion.

Constituents:  arbutin, hydroquinone

Medicinal Uses:

Properties: * Antibacterial * Astringent *

It is used in Bladder Infection (UTI)

Bearberry has historically been used for medicinal purposes. It contains the glycoside arbutin, which has antimicrobial properties and acts as a mild diuretic. It has been used for urinary tract complaints, including cystitis and urolithiasis. An infusion may be made by soaking the leaves in ethanol and then diluting with water.

Other Uses:
Smoking:
Bearberry is the main component in many traditional North American Native smoking mixes, known collectively as “kinnikinnick” (Algonquin for a mixture). Bearberry is used especially amongst western First Nations, often including other herbs and sometimes tobacco. Some historical reports indicate a “narcotic” or stimulant effect, but since it is almost always smoked with other herbs, including tobacco, it is not clear what psychotropic effects may be due to it alone. For a full discussion of Amerindian smoking mixtures see kinnikinnick.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctostaphylos_uva-ursi
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail208.php

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