Bearberries are three species extract photos from pdf dwarf shrubs in the genus Arctostaphylos. Arctic and Subarctic climates, and have a circumpolar distribution in northern North America, Asia and Europe, one with a small highly disjunctive population in Central America.
The name “bearberry” for the plant derives from the edible fruit which is a favorite food of bears. The fruit, also called bearberries, are edible and are sometimes gathered as food for humans.
The leaves of the plant are used in herbal medicine. Leaves not winter green, but dead leaves persist on stems for several years. Berries dark purple to black.
Europe in the Pyrenees and the Alps, in Asia to the Altay Mountains, and in North America to British Columbia in the west, and Maine and New Hampshire in the United States in the east. Leaves deciduous, falling in autumn to leave bare stems. Distribution: in the mountains of Sichuan, southwestern China north and east to eastern Siberia, Alaska and northern Canada east to northern Quebec. The leaves are picked any time during the summer and dried for use in teas, liquid extracts, medicinal tea bags and tablets for traditional medicine uses.
Bearberry appears to be relatively safe, although large doses may cause nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, back pain and tinnitus. Cautions for use apply during pregnancy, breast feeding, or in people with kidney disease. The efficacy and safety of bearberry treatment in humans remain unproven, as no clinical trials exist to interpret effects on any disease.
Bearberry was first documented in The Physicians of Myddfai, a 13th-century Welsh herbal. It was also described by Clusius in 1601, and recommended for medicinal use in 1763 by Gerhard and others. Often called uva-ursi, from the Latin uva, “grape, berry of the vine”, ursi, “bear”, i. It first appeared in the London Pharmacopoeia in 1788.
Folk tales suggest Marco Polo thought the Chinese were using it as a diuretic. Bearberry leaves are used in traditional medicine in parts of Europe, and are officially classified as a phytomedicine. Discovering wild plants: Alaska, western Canada, the Northwest. Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Multiple Sclerosis. Minnesota Place Names: A Geographical Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Arctostaphylos alpina. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Arctostaphylos uva-ursi.
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