Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) cousin of cranberry


The name of the bear bearola comes from the Provençal bouisserolo,which designates boxwood. Its botanical name, Arctostaphylos uva ursi means « bear grape », because bears love the berries of this shrub. Bearberry is very close to cranberry macrocrapon, wild blueberry or blueberry. In the sixteenth century, the Montpellier school praised the properties of this plant as a diuretic, dissolving small stones and disinfecting the urinary tract. We were disillusioned in the eighteenth century, probably as a result of some errors of use. From then on, the bearola no longer interested anyone. It was the success of cranberries that caused its return to grace. Several teams of researchers have indeed proven its real effectiveness on the problems of the urogenital sphere, as antiseptic and bacteriostatic (preventing bacteria from growing and sticking to the walls of the bladder). They discovered that the active substance in bearola, arbutin, is metabolized in the urinary tract, where it breaks down into glucose and hydroquinone, a substance very close to phenol, a powerful antiseptic. In other words, the plant releases its anti-infective principle exactly where it is required, neither downstream nor upstream.

Bearberry: cousin of cranberries

Cranberries, cousins of bearberry

Traditionally, bearberry is used, like cranberry, to treat inflammation of the urinary tract: cystitis, inflammation of the pelvis and kidney, inflammation of the urethra following gonorrhea, enlarged prostate accompanied by pus in the urine, colibacillosis … It is sometimes used to solve problems with incontinence and urine retention and, even more rarely, to treat diarrhea and white discharge. These are the leaves – rather leathery – that are used. It is simply necessary to pick them during the summer and dry them to prepare them as a decoction to extract their active ingredient: arbutin.

Finally seriously studied

The therapeutic indications of bear oil have so far been accepted but not proven.

To cook and to… smoke

Researchers have so far focused on the antiseptic properties of bear seerola, but have they discovered everything? Let us remember that native Americans consumed bearberries in broths and soups, cooking them with meat and above all, that they used the dried leaves with tobacco and other plants to smoke in their peace pipe. They believed that the bearbuser had the power to calm minds, clarify ideas and foster understanding between peoples. That would be very helpful to us.


  • Infusion (leaves): 20 to 30 g per liter of water, take three to four cups a day. In the state of giving birth, 30 g per liter of water, and take three to four cups per hour.
  • Decoction :10 to 15 g per liter of water. Bring to a boil and then cook in small broths for half an hour. Tannins can cause gastric irritation, so use only in the short term, or add mint leaves to the decoction, or mix the decoction in equal parts with an infusion of chamomile. Take two or three cups a day.
  • Mother tincture: 80 to 90 drops per day. To be used for a short time.
  • Powder: from 2 to 8 g or in capsules dosed at 250 mg. Take 4 to 6 per day as a cure over 15 days and 1 to 2 per day as a preventive measure, between meals.


Inflammation of the urinary tract, incontinence and urine retention, urolithiasis, diarrhea, dysentery, enterocolitis, hematuria, menorrhagia, hemoptysis, leucorrhea.


In cosmetics, to reduce imperfections and skin spots due to an excess of melanin. Bearbuserole extract has a regulatory action on the formation of melanin.


Bearola leaf is a diuretic and urinary antiseptic. It is astringent and works as a sedative. It is used to disinfect the urinary tract in cases of acute or chronic cystitis, as part of urethritis, nephritis or pyelitis. It helps prevent recurrent cystitis. It alleviates burning sensations during urination as well as symptoms of incontinence or urinary retention. It treats and prevents renal lithiasis and renal colitis.


Bear bearola has antibacterial properties. It can be used to treat diarrhea and white discharge. It has a real effectiveness on problems related to the urogenital sphere. The arbutin present in its leaves is metabolized only in the urinary tract. This is where it degrades into glucose and hydroquinone. Thus, bearbus oil releases its active ingredient exactly where it is needed, neither before nor after.

Bearola is also used in cosmetics in the form of an extract. The latter has the property of regulating the formation of melanin and therefore balances the coloration of the skin. Bearola extract is used to alleviate skin imperfections or complexion.

History of the use of bear bear bear in herbal medicine

Bearbuserola is found mainly in circumpolar regions, in northern latitudes, at high altitudes. The first written mention of the bearola dates from the thirteenth century and is in a Welsh herbarium. François Rabelais knew the virtues to fight against kidney or bladder pain. From the sixteenth century, this plant is used in France for the dissolution of small urinary stones. The American Indians also used it to fight against certain urinary disorders, to cure several venereal diseases and against obesity. According to Marco Polo, the Chinese used it as a diuretic, but also to relieve people with urinary problems. As for the American settlers, they used it against the nephrites.

Botanical description of bearola

Bearola is a cushion-shaped shrub. It grows easily in cold and sunny climates, on any type of soil. This bush with long creeping stems can reach 15-30 cm in height. The leaves are evergreen, oval and have a bright dark green color. The small bell-shaped flowers are white or pink while the berries become scarlet when ripe, between July and October. Bears love these berries, hence the name « bear grape » sometimes given to bearberries.


Composition of bearola


It is essentially the bear bearola leaf that is used; it is rich in arbutoside, a urinary antiseptic. The leaves are harvested at the end of summer, before being put to dry to be able to extract the active ingredient.


Phenolic glucosides, arbutins (up to 17%), gallic and elelagic tannins; flavonoids; pentacyclic triterpenes; allantoin; iridoids.

Use and dosage of bearola



– In infusion: 20 to 30 g of leaves per liter of water. It is recommended to drink from 3 to 4 cups a day. For women ready to give birth, 30 g of leaves per liter of water and take from 3 to 4 cups per hour.

– In decoction: 10 to 15 g of leaves per liter of water brought to a boil and then left to cook in small broth for half an hour.

– In mother tincture: from 50 to 90 drops per day, over a short period.

– In powder: from 2 to 8 g or in capsules dosed at 250 mg. On a ten-day course, take 4 to 6 capsules or doses between meals. One or two doses per day as a preventive treatment for ten days and every two months.

Precautions for use of bear bear oil

There are some contraindications and side effects that should be taken into account before consuming bearbus.


The consumption of bearola is strongly discouraged for pregnant women, as there is a risk of premature delivery, or during the breastfeeding period. It is also to be avoided during infection or renal failure. It should never be consumed by children under the age of twelve. It is not recommended to do cures of more than ten days and it is necessary to limit oneself to five cures per year at most.


Since tannins can cause gastric irritation, it is recommended to add mint leaves to the decoction. Some side effects may appear such as stomach upset, nausea or vomiting. Urine can also turn green-brown.


Bearberries should not be combined with acidic fruit juices such as citrus fruits or prunes.

Interactions with drugs

Bear oil should not be combined with drugs that acidize urine.

Doctor’s opinion


Bearbuserole is known for its real effectiveness on different problems of the urogenital sphere. It is an effective antiseptic and bacteriostatic. Since the Middle Ages, it has been known to have a natural diuretic and antiseptic action on the urinary tract. The arbutin in the leaves kills bacteria in the urine. In combination with heather, bearbuserole brings real well-being, soothing of the urinary tract and effectively relieves a cystitis attack.


To be fully effective, bearola should be consumed when urine is alkaline. That is why it should not be combined with fruit juices or acidic foods. It is more active if you adopt a diet low in meat, without citrus fruits and associated with the consumption of water rich in sodium bicarbonate. It is also recommended to drink a lot during the treatment (at least two liters of water per day). In any case, it is advisable to consult a doctor or pharmacist and adhere to the indicated doses.

Bearbus oil research

Researchers have been particularly interested in bear bearola for its antiseptic properties. Bearbuserola macerate would also reduce skin spots and imperfections by clarifying the skin. When mixed with hemp oil, it penetrates the skin and acts on excessive amounts of melanin.

Recommended Use(s) or Purpose(s) Statement(s) specifying the following:

  • Traditionally used in herbal medicine/herbalism as a mild diuretic to help relieve symptoms associated with minor urinary tract infections, such as burning and/or frequent urination (BHP 1983; Grieve 1971; Felter 1922; Ellingwood 1919; Felter and Lloyd 1898).
  • Used in herbal medicine/herbalism to help relieve symptoms associated with minor urinary tract infections, such as burning sensation and/or frequent urination (EMEA 2012a; Godfrey and Saunders 2010; Hoffman 2003). Note: A claim for traditional use must include the term « herbal medicine/herbalism ».

Precaution(s) and warning(s)

  • If symptoms persist or worsen, consult a health care practitioner.
  • Preparations containing ≥ 60 mg of dried leaves and/or preparations containing ≥ 20 mg of anhydrous arbutin per day If you have a liver disorder, fever, painful urination (dysuria), spasms, or blood in the urine, consult a healthcare practitioner prior to use (EMEA 2012a; Duke 2002; Newall 1996). Contraindication(s)
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, do not use this product (EMEA 2012; Brinker 2012; ESCOP 2003; WHO 2002; Brinker 2001; Blumenthal 2000; Mills and Bone 2000; Bradley 1992)

Sources: Health Canada, Bear Bear Oil Monograph

Health Passport


Different readings

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