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Scientific name: Uva ursi
Other names: Bearberry, Kinnikinnick, Beargrape, Rockberry, Sandberry
Origins & Properties
The Latin name uva ursi was derived because the plant’s red berries are eaten by bears—the name literally translates to “bear’s grape.” Bearberries are adapted to Arctic and Subarctic climates and have a circumpolar distribution in northern North America, Asia, and Europe.
Bearberries are low-lying bushes capable of surviving on soils predominantly composed of sand and in rocky soils in full or partial sun. The plant grows in a wide range of terrains, including open woodlands, sandy beaches, and even in rocky soils. The berries ripen late in the year and can be eaten raw. It has reddish-brown branches with pink and white flowers that get replaced with clusters of red berries in the summer.
The leaves are picked any time during the summer and dried for use in teas, liquid extracts, medicinal tea bags, and tablets for traditional medicinal uses. The plant has been used as an herbal supplement since as far back as the second century.
- Recovery: Promotes healing
- Digestion: Soothes the upset stomach and helps with constipation
- Anti-inflammatory: Helps reduce inflammation and swelling of the bladder, urethra, and of the urinary tract
- Immunity: Boosts the immune system and helps detoxify the body
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