Report on Bearberry Side Effects and Usage


Natural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening. The following is a list of cautions that you should be aware of before using Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva ursi). These are referred to as drug/herb interactions.

Warning 1 – Contraindications: Pregnancy, lactation, kidney disease, stomach irritation, and children under age 12.

Warning 2 – Interactions: Bearberry may interact adversely to any substance that acidifies the urine.

Warning 3 – Urine acidifiers: may counteract the effects of bearberry.

Warning 4 – Diuretics: The use of bearberry with diuretics may lead to electrolyte loss, primarily hypokalemia.

Warning 5 – NSAIDs: May increase the effects of NSAIDs.

Warning 6 – FDA: The leaves of bearberry contain a powerful and recognized antibacterial chemical compound known as hydroquinones. This is scientifically proven but the FDA questions its use, and the plant is not approved for medical use in the United States.

Warning 7 – Legal?: Due to the narcotic effect of smoking bearberry leaves to relieve headache, this use is illegal or carefully regulated in many areas.

Used as a natural health remedy: Bearberry has been used internally for the following:

  • urinary tract infections (cystitis, urolithiasis)
  • natural diuretic
  • speed recovery from child birth
  • prevent miscarriage

Note: Before the discovery of sulfa drugs and antibiotics, bearberry was the treatment of choice for bladder and related infections.

Used as a natural health remedy: Bearberry has been used externally for the following:

  • canker sores
  • sore gums
  • prevent the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract
  • burns
  • minor cuts

Side Effects of Bearberry

  1. dizziness
  2. nausea
  3. urine turns green (This is not a health problem.)
  4. vomiting

Other side effects may also occur when using Bearberry. (See form below)

As with any herb, a serious allergic reaction is possible. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction. These may include a rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.

Return to the Herb List.

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