(Arctostaphylos uva ursi)
A shrub with creeping underground stems, the Bearberry likes the rocky and cool areas of Europe, the Caucasus and North America. Its small scarlet berries are edible, and bears delight in them. Its properties are similar to those of heather, its close cousin.
Native Americans smoked its leaves in peace pipes. It was, in fact, credited with the virtue of calming minds and clarifying ideas, thus promoting understanding between peoples.
It was not until the 18th century that its medicinal properties were known in Europe. Its leaves, rich in arbutin, neutralise infectious bacteria and strengthen the metabolism.