This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Uva Ursi: Pharm. Lond. & Edinb. Vitis idaea foliis carnofis & veluti puntctatis, five idaea radix dioscoridis C. B. Arbutus (Uva Ursi) cauliculis procumbentibus, soliis integerrimis Linn, Bears whortleberry: an evergreen trailing shrubby plant; with numerous small oblong oval leaves; monopetalous white flowers with a flesh-coloured edge cut into five sections; and red berries. It greatly resembles the common red whort-bush; from which it may be distin-guished, by the leaves being more oblong, and by the flower having ten stamina, and the berry five seeds; whereas the flower of the common whort has only eight stamina, and the berry often twenty seeds. It is found on the snowy hills of Austria and Styria. but more plentifully on the Swedish hills. It is also a native of the highlands of Scotland, and is now cultivated in some of our gardens.
The leaves of this plant have a bitterish astringent taste; without any remarkable smell, at least in the dry state in which they have been brought to us from Germany. Infusions of them in water strike a deep black colour with solution of chalybeate vitriol, but soon deposite the black matter, and become clear: I do not recollect any other astringent infusion, from which the blackness, produced by vitriol, sepa-rate so very speedily.
The leaves of uva ursi have of late been greatly celebrated in calculous and nephritic complaints, and other disorders of the urinary organs: the dose is half a dram of the powder of the leaves, every morning, or two or three times a day. De Hacn relates, after large experience of this medicine in the hospital of Vienna, that suppurations, though obstinate and of long continuance, in the kidneys, ureters, bladder, urethra, Scrotum and perinaeum, where there was no venereal taint or evident marks of a calculus, were in general completely cured by it: that of those who had a manifest calculus, several found permanent relief, so that long after the medicine had been lest off, they continued free from pain or inconvenience in making water, though the catheter shewed that the calculus still remained: that others, who seemed to be cured, relapsed On leaving off the medicine, were again relieved on repeating its use, and this for several times successively; while others obtained from it only temporary and precarious relief, the complaints being often as severe during the continuance of the medicine as when it was not used. It may be observed, that in several cases which he relates, paregorics were joined to the uva ursi; and that other mild astringent plants have been recommended for the same intentions; from some of which De Haen himself expects the same good effects. The trials of the uva ursi, made in this country, have by no means answered expectation: in all the cases that have come to my knowledge, it produced great sickness and uneasiness, without any apparent benefit, though continued for a month.