FWD 2 Commission E: Uva Ursi leaf

  The Commission E Monographs

Uva Ursi leaf

Uvae ursi folium
Published June 15, 1994

Name of Drug

Uvae ursi folium, uva ursi leaf, bearberry.  

Composition of Drug

Uva ursi (bearberry) leaves, consisting of the dried leaves of Arctostaphylos uva ursi (L.) Sprengel [Fam.  Ericaceae] and pharmaceutical preparations thereof.  

Pharmacological Characteristics, Pharmacokinetics, Toxicology

Preparations made from bearberries act antibacterially in vitro against Proteus vulgaris, E.  coli, Ureaplasma urealyticum, Mycoplasma hominis, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aerginosa, Friedlnder's pneumonia, Enterococcus faecalis, and Streptococcus strains, as well as against Candida albicans .  The antimicrobial effect is associated with the aglycone hydroquinone released from arbutin (transport form) or arbutin waste products in the alkaline urine.  A methanol extract of the drug (50 percent) is said to have an inhibiting effect on tyrosinase activity.  The forming of melanin from DOPA using tyrosinase as well as from DOPA-CHROM through auto-oxidation is also said to be inhibited by the drug.  

There are indications that after uva ursi tea (3 g/150 ml) has been taken, hydroquinone glucuronides occur predominately alongside low levels of hydroquinone.  

Clinical Data


Inflammatory disorders of the efferent urinary tract.  


Pregnancy, lactation, children under 12.  

Side Effects

Nausea and vomiting may occur in persons with sensitive stomachs.  

Special Caution for Use

None known.  

Use During Pregnancy and Lactation

Should not be administered during pregnancy.  

The occurrence of arbutin/hydroquinone in the breast milk has not been researched.  The drug, therefore, should not be administered during lactation.  

Interaction with Other Drugs

Uva ursi preparations should not be administered with any substances which cause acidic urine since this reduces the antibacterial effect.  

Dosage and Mode of Administration

Unless otherwise prescribed:

Single dose:

  • 3 g drug to 150 ml water as an infusion or cold maceration or 100 - 210 mg hydroquinone derivatives, calculated as water-free arbutin.  

Daily dose:

  • 3 g drug to 150 ml water as an infusion or cold maceration up to 4 times a day or 400 - 840 mg hydroquinone derivatives calculated as water-free arbutin.  

Mode of Administration

Crushed drug.  

Drug powder for infusions or cold macerations; extracts and solid forms for oral administration.  

Duration of Treatment

Medication containing arbutin should not be taken for longer than a week or more than five times a year without consulting a physician.  


None known.  

Special Precautions

None known.  

Effects on Operators of Vehicles and Machinery

None known.