This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics - Vegetable Kingdom", by Charles D. F. Phillips. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica And Therapeutics: Vegetable Kingdom.
Active Ingredients. - The leaves, when dried and pulverized, evolve an odor resembling that of hay or tea; their taste is bitter and astringent. The constituents, which are brought out both by water and by spirit, consist of about 35 per cent. of tannin; 1.5 per cent. of bitter extractive; gallic acid, just a trace; a peculiar substance called arbutine, to which the properties of the plant are probably due; and one or two others of little moment. The infusion of the leaves gives a bluish-black precipitate with perchloride of iron.
Physiological Action. - Taken internally, by the healthy subject, uva-ursi, as a rule, does not appear to act as a diuretic. But when given in disorders of the urinary organs, it would seem both to increase the quantity of the secretion and to affect its quality, lithic deposits becoming lessened by perseverance in the use of it as a medicine. The astringent principle passes off in the urine, giving to the latter a dark color.
In small medicinal doses, it increases the appetite, but rather constipates the bowels. In large doses, it nauseates, and produces vomiting and purging. It also produces inflammatory irritation of the lining membrane of the bladder and of the urethra, accompanied by tenesmus, and often by a bloody discharge and, later on, by a purulent and bloody one.
Therapeutic Action. - The principal value of uva-ursi is shown in chronic affections of the bladder, attended by mucous, bloody, or purulent discharges, with burning in the urethra during urination, and especially when these symptoms are produced by calculus. In nephritic paroxysms, and in irritable states of the bladder dependent on renal disease, uva-ursi is decidedly effective.
In Catarrh of the Bladder, in Leucorrhoea, and in Gonorrhoea, uva-ursi has likewise been administered successfully. For acute cases it is unsuitable.
Contraction of Gravid Uterus. - Dr. Harris, of Fayette (Alabama), and Beauvais and Gauchet, in France, assert that uva-ursi possesses the property of causing contraction in the same way that ergot does; but this requires confirmation.
Preparations and Dose. - Extractum Uvae Ursi Fluidum, 3 j. - ij. (4. - 8.); Decoct. Uvae Ursi,
- ij. (30. - 60.).