Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)

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  1.   1.  Description
  2.   2.  Obtainment
  3.   3.  Uses
    1.   3.1  Medicine
    2.   3.2  Toxicity
    3.   3.3  Other
  4.   4.  More
  5.   5.  'Souls
Common Name Bearberry, kinnikinnick and pinemat manzanita
Latin Name Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Icon(s) Berries (general icon) Bearberry

"Arctostaphylos-uva-ursi"
by Sten Porse (Own work)
via Wikimedia Commons
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

1.  Description

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi is a small procumbent woody groundcover shrub 5–30 cm high. The leaves are evergreen, remaining green for 1–3 years before falling. The fruit is a red berry.

The leaves are shiny, small, and feel thick and stiff. They are alternately arranged on the stems. Undersides of leaves are lighter green than on the tops. New stems can be red if the plant is in full sun, but are green in shadier areas. Older stems are brown. In spring, they have white or pink flowers.

2.  Obtainment

Common. Nova Scotian native.

Packs: Cercatori D'Arte[1] and Inferni[2] both grow bearberries (see references).

3.  Uses

3.1  Medicine

  • The leaves are picked any time during the summer and dried for use in infusions, liquid extracts, medicinal tea bags and tablets.
  • It has antimicrobial properties and acts as a mild diuretic. It has been used for urinary tract complaints. An infusion may be made by soaking the leaves in ethanol and then diluting with water.
  • Bearberry is the main component in many traditional North American Native smoking mixes, known collectively as "kinnikinnick" (Algonquin for a mixture). Bearberry is used especially amongst western First Nations, often including other herbs and sometimes tobacco.

3.2  Toxicity

Bearberry is relatively safe, although large doses may cause nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, severe back pain and tinnitus. It should not be used during pregnancy, breast feeding, or in children or patients with kidney disease.

3.3  Other

  • Favorite food of bears.

4.  More

5.  'Souls

  • Hey, did your character do something cool with this plant?
  • Or maybe your pack has it for trade?
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