Bearberry - healing "bear ears"
It's about bearberry (latin name Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), which is popularly called "bear ears" or "bear berry." A similar name ‘bearberry’ for this plant in English-speaking countries.
Description of bearberry
Bearberry is a small evergreen shrub that looks a bit like lingonberry, but belongs to a completely different family - the Vereskovs. Its shoots are creeping and can reach one and a half meter long. Bearberry leaves are not oval like lingonberries, but oblong-obovate in shape and really resemble bear ears. At the ends of the branches in May-June, pale pink small flowers form in drooping hands. After a month and a half, spherical, red fruits (drupes) are formed from them. These fruits are edible, sometimes they are used as an additive in baking bread.
Bearberry grows in open and lighted places in pine forests, on sandy soil. A feature of bearberry is the need for the presence of mycorrhizal fungi in the soil. The range of this plant covers most of Europe, the north of the North American continent and Greenland.
What is bearberry useful for?
Since ancient times, bearberry has been used to treat a wide range of diseases of internal organs, primarily the genitourinary system, by the North American Indians, Vikings, and in Ancient Russia.
The most famous healing properties of bearberry are the treatment of cystitis. Decoction, tincture of leaves have a diuretic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and disinfectant effect.
Another important area of use of bearberry is urethritis. The substances contained in its leaves effectively and, most importantly, very quickly destroy bacteria and viruses, which are the causes of the development of urethritis. Bearberry helps to restore many functions of the urinary tract and their disinfection.
Bearberry is also indispensable in the treatment of other kidney diseases: prostatitis, pyelitis, pyelonephritis, pyelocystitis. It enhances excretion, restores urination and relieves inflammation. Bearberry in pyelonephritis contributes to the destruction and intensive removal of pathogenic bacteria in the urine.
What does bearberry treat?
The main active therapeutic substances in bearberry are phenolic glycosides. arbutin, methylarbutin, pyrozide, caffeylarbutin. Their content is very high, especially in the leaves (up to 25%!). Arbutin protects cell membranes from destruction due to low temperatures, dehydration and a number of other factors.
The diuretic and antiseptic properties of this plant are mainly due to arbutin and hydroquinone. After application of bearberry, the content of hydroquinone in the urine reaches 1.7% and it becomes green in this case. Hydroquinone, irritating the epithelium of the renal tubules, causes a weak diuretic effect, which is enhanced by flavonoids. All this provides intensive excretion of sodium and chlorine ions from the body.
Arbutin and hydroquinone are also characterized by antimicrobial properties. These substances inhibit the growth of many pathogens. Currently, the use of bearberry in the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases is expanding very rapidly.
Bearberry tannins also have similar properties. They form complex compounds with microbial proteins. and have an astringent effect on the mucous membranes of the stomach. It was noted that ellagic acid and arbucin interfere with the development of spontaneous tumors by neutralizing free radicals. Bearberry flowers are used to treat heart disease, conjunctivitis and blepharitis. Decoctions of fruits are used in the treatment of gastritis and diarrhea, it is especially effective for children (by preparing jelly). It treats bearberry and some skin pigmentation diseases.
Harvesting bearberry for medicinal purposes
Bearberry leaves and shoots are harvested before flowering in spring and autumn, when the fruits are ripening. If harvested in the summer, the young leaves turn black when dried. The leafy part of the branches is cut (up to 3 cm). Dry the cut raw materials under awnings or in dryers (temperature from 60 to 90 ° C). After drying, bearberry leaves are torn off. Shelf life of raw materials is 5 years. The main harvesting areas of this plant are Belarus, the northwestern (primarily Kalinin and Leningrad) regions of the Russian Federation.
Recipes of decoctions, tinctures and fees with bearberry
Bearberry broth. A tablespoon of dried leaves per mug of boiled water (for children - a teaspoon). Before cooking, the leaves are ground in a coffee grinder. For a better extract, the broth is kept for half an hour in a water bath. An hour later, it can be used in a tablespoon 3 times a day after meals. You can simply pour crushed leaves with boiling water, but you need to insist for about 12 hours. Two days later, it is necessary to brew a new portion of bearberry.
Alcohol tincture. Take two tablespoons of dried bearberry leaves per 100 ml of 40% ethyl alcohol. Then insist for 2-3 weeks in a warm place. After tincture, strain and take 15-20 drops after a meal, 3 times a day.
Compote and jelly from bearberry. To prepare the compote, the berry is boiled for 1 hour with the addition of sugar, after which the cooled liquid is ready for use. To make jelly, take half a glass of berries, 2 teaspoons of potato starch and 3-4 tablespoons of sugar in a glass of water. Bearberry berries are poured with boiling water and knead through chintz. The flowing juice is collected separately, and the remaining puree is boiled, then filtered through cheesecloth and again boiled with sugar.
In parallel, one quarter cup of water and starch are separately mixed until homogeneous. After the broth boils, diluted starch is poured into it, and, stirring, bring to a boil. After, having already turned off the fire, they continue to stir until it cools completely. Then add the previously obtained bearberry juice.
Collection number 1. Mix the leaves of bearberry, birch, licorice root and horsetail (10 g each), nettle, lingonberry leaves, and flax seeds (20 g each). 1 teaspoon of this mixture is poured with a glass of boiling water and kept for one hour. Take it 50-70 ml twice a day.
Collection number 2. Bearberry leaf (2 tablespoons), licorice root (1 spoon) and juniper fruits (2 tablespoons). Insist and drink 1 tablespoon 3 times a day.
Collection number 3. Bearberry leaf, licorice root and cornflower flowers in a ratio of 3: 1: 1. Prepare and receive it, as well as collection No. 2.
Bearberry, hernia (20 grams each), celandine and parsley (5 grams each). The whole mixture is poured with a glass of boiling water and infused for an hour. Drink 3 times a day for 50-70 ml.
Bearberry, licorice root, birch leaves and corn stigmas in equal shares. The mixture is poured with 20 volumes of boiling water and infused for 1 hour. Before going to bed, drink a third of a glass.