A low-growing plant with shiny, leathery leaves, creating vining mats on the ground in the dry forest areas of the world. Marco Polo, returning from China, and the early colonists of America all reported its use by native peoples as a kidney herb.
Its main constituents are antiseptic and astringent, and so it is most often applied to urinary system infections which need a toning or cooling action. It reduces inflammation, helps tone the structure of the tissues, acidifies the urine to kill bacteria, and also contains allantoin, the tissue-regenerative constituent found in comfrey.
Uva Ursi can also be used for diarrhea, dysentery, and other intestinal problems. Because it is so astringent and acidic, it can be irritating if taken for more than a few days or in large doses. It should not be used during pregnancy.