Since time immemorial many different varieties of berries are known to have been in use to derive various health benefits from them. However, bearberries are believed to be the oldest in use with the farthest tracking amounting to more than 800 years ago. Bearberries are the fruits of three different types of shrubberies. They are widely known to be used to serve health purposes like prevention of problems of the gut, detoxifying the bladder, boosting immune strength, help in easing the pregnancy term and getting rid of headaches.
Bearberry derives its name from the fact that berries are a loved food supplement of bears. The leaves of the shrub too are used for its herbal medicinal properties. Bearberries are scientifically known as Arctostaphylus Uva Ursi and grows in sub-arctic regions and regions situated at high altitudes throughout the world. Bearberry is a red coloured fruit which closely resembles a cranberry. Native tribes brought the fruit into use to help aid the women in pregnancy, prevent miscarriage and for swift recovery after childbirth.
Bearberry is extremely rich in a wide variety of phytochemicals like gallic acid, ursolic acid, tannic acid, resin, flavonoids and hydroquinones among other substances. Hydroquinone is an extremely powerful antibacterial compound believed to be highly efficient in treating urinary tract infections. The plant also has narcotic properties and thus is banned from common usage in many countries including The United States.
Hydroquinone present in bearberry is a powerful antibacterial agent that eliminates harmful foreign agents from the body and forms a strong defensive lining protecting the body both internally and externally. It strengthens the immune system and prevents it from any outside threat to the health.
Bearberry is naturally diuretic. It helps cleanse the body by rapid excretion of toxins from the kidneys and bladder. This enables the bodily system to work at its optimum by eliminating toxicities and excess fat, salt and water.
Tannin which is present in considerable amounts in bearberry is a highly efficient substance in the treatment of diarrhea. Bearberry is in fact highly recommended to eliminate problems of the digestive tract owing to the astringent properties present in the fruit.
Bearberry prevents the formation of kidney stones. Owing to the diuretic properties in bearberries, it helps in breaking down and flushing out of kidney stones already formed. They enable breakdown of the stones reducing them in size which makes it possible for the small stones to pass through the urinary tract along with urine.
Bearberry has been widely recognized to aid in preventing miscarriages and ensuring a smooth pregnancy term. Moreover, even after the baby is delivered, bearberry owing to its active components helps in speedy recovery, elimination of infections and discomfort in the mother.
Hydroquinone present in bearberries enables the fruit to treat infections that affect the urinary bladder, the urethra and kidney inflammation. Bearberries are considered to be the most effective in treating conditions arising due to an infection manifesting the urinary tract. The hydroquinone derivatives equipped with antimicrobial and disinfecting properties give a soothing sensation to the mucus membrane of the urinary tract preventing infection and inflammation.
Bearberries are equipped with antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Owing to the benefits that these products endow the skin with, bearberry is a widely used ingredient in the array of beauty and cosmetic products available the world over. The berries also contain arbutin which is a natural substance that naturally brightens the skin. It gives a glowing smooth skin by eliminating freckles, scars, acne and age spots. It also helps prevent the skin from the hazardous ultraviolet rays.
Bearberry made in the form of an ointment and applied externally aids in eliminating skin infection, eases cuts, bruises, burns and wounds. Bearberry on the whole quickens the healing process of the skin, eliminates pain and keeps safe from inflammation.
Bearberry due to its diuretic properties prevents water retention in the body and bloating by promoting urine flow. It is helpful for people trying to lose weight naturally as it essentially eliminates the unrequired matter and harmful toxins from the body in the form of frequent urine urges.
Bearberry has been widely used since the ancient times as a headache reliever. The leaves of the bearberry plant are rolled up and smoked from, the narcotic properties present in the leaves though not considered conventional are truly effective and were widely used in the earlier days.
The extract of the bearberry fruit and leaves when applied on arthritic pain ridden joints, is believed to alleviate the pain and strengthen the muscles for the long run.
Bearberry has been proven to protect the body from harmful bacteria like E. coli, Staphylococcus etc; that are responsible for causing infections in the stomach. Bearberry consumed in the form of tea effectively helps prevent and/or alleviate problems related to the stomach that may arise due to entry of any foreign medium.
Both the fruit and the leaves of the bearberry shrub are widely used to prevent a variety of health problems affecting the stomach, urinary tract, diarrhea, headache etc. It also helps boost the immune system, acquire healthy skin, alleviates pain and problems faced during pregnancy. Bearberry can be applied externally in the form of an ointment made from the leaves and fruit and internally by boiling it in tea, eating the fruit raw and by smoking the leaves of the plant.
Apart from the many benefits the plant offers, bearberry is also manifested with a narcotic quality that may prove harmful if the usage is not regulated. It is advisable to consume or bring to use the fruit by discussing ones medical condition with a trained physician. Though none of the side effects recorded have proved fatal or chronic, mild nausea, green urine, vomiting, fever with chills, back pain and dizziness have appeared on rare occasions in some consumers.
Bearberries are sour tasting fleshy fruits with small seeds inside. The pinkish red coloured fruit is lacking in taste but it is the utmost favourite of bears, hence the name. The plant grows in clusters in alpine forests and has the ability to catch even in places where other plants fail to. Well-drained gritty soil is an apt place for the shrub of the bearberry to grow. It is widely found in Europe, North America, the Himalayas, Siberia and the Iberian Peninsula.