This small evergreen is indigenous to the northern temperate regions of both hemispheres. The perennial herb grows in dry shady woods, flowering in May through August, with light purple flowers of pleasant fragrance. The root is creeping with several erect stems, woody at their base and 4 to 8 inches high. The leaves are dark green above, pale below, 2 to 3 inches long,
on short petioles. When fresh and friction rubbed they are fragrant; not noticeable when dried.
Family: Pyrolaceae (Wintergreen family)
Other Names: Ground Holly, Prince’s Pine, False Wintergreen, Spotted Wintergreen
Flowers: May – August
Parts Used: Leaves
Habitat: Nova Scotia to Georgia; Ohio to Minnesota.
Constituents: Arbutin, sitosterol, ursolic acid
Properties: Diuretic, Tonic, Astringent, Antiseptic, and Anti-Bacterial activity.
Loaded with biologically active compounds — arbutin, sitosterol, ursolic acid.
Main Uses: American Indians used leaf tea for backaches, coughs, bladder inflammations, stomachaches, kidney ailments; “blood purifier,” diuretic, astringent; drops used for sore eyes. Leaves were smoked as a tobacco substitute.
Preparation And Dosages:
1 teaspoonful of the plant to 1 cupful of boiling water, three times a day.
Tincture: Fresh (1:2), Dry (1:5), 50% alcohol. 20 to 50 drops, up to 4 times a day.
Contact Dermatitis CAUTION: Leaves poulticed on skin may induce redness, blisters, and peeling.