In the Know
This shrubby plant makes its home in the colder regions of the world, providing pretty groundcover across frigid, rocky hills and plains. Uva Ursi is identified by its small, bell-shaped pink or white blossoms. The bright red berries it produces are a favorite snack for foraging bears, which has earned the shrub its nickname, “bearberry”. Uva Ursi was most commonly harvested by the native tribes dwelling in the northernmost parts of North America. The Algonquin, in particular, used its leaves in an herbal smoking mix, and it is still sometimes used in this traditional practice. Today, it is most commonly grown as an ornamental plant, or its leaves are harvested to brew into this unique herbal tea.
Humble, Yet Valuable
Uva Ursi Tea is certainly one of the lesser-known herbal teas, but this herbal brew has a number of good things to offer. Drinking Uva Ursi Tea is a convenient way to give your body a natural boost of vitamin C, thiamin, niacin and riboflavin, along with minerals like calcium, phosphorus, iron and potassium. It also offers a number of useful micronutrients, including beta carotene, flavonoids like quercetin, tannins and volatile oils, many of which bear antioxidant properties.
Caution: Uva Ursi Tea contains hydroquinone, which can be dangerous in high levels. Uva Ursi Tea should only be consumed for up to five consecutive days. Do not drink Uva Ursi Tea for extended periods of time.