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Pipsissewa as an Herb

Pipsissewa as an herb

Chimaphila umbellata

Other Names: Prince's Pine, Ground Holly, Umbellate, Wintergreen, Butter Winter, King's Cureall, Love in Winter, Rheumatism Weed, King's Cure

The scientific name for pipsissewa literally means "winter loving" or "love in the winter".

Pipsissewa is a perennial plant native to the lower U.S., Alaska and Canada.

Pipsissewa as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

The medicinal parts are the dried leaves (occasionally mixed with twigs and flowers), the fresh parts of the flowering plant and the complete dried plant.

Pipsissewa was used by Native Americans to treat urinary infections.

The primary uses of pipsissewa are for treating infections of the skin (with a lotion) or urinary tract. As a diuretic, pipsissewa helps "flush out" infectious microorganisms.

As an astringent, pipsissewa helps the skin heal over and prevents infection. Can be used as a substitute for uva-ursi, especially for persons who are unable to eat a vegetarian diet to alkalize the urine.

Thompson Indians (inhabitants of British Columbia) pounded the pipsissewa plant and used it in soaked dressings to lessen swelling of the feet and legs.

Typical preparation consists of teas made in boiling water, and tinctures. Pipissewa tea has a pleasant taste, slightly bitter, like most herbal teas, but also a bit sweet. Also, it comes with many health benefits.

Make pipsissewa tea. Place a tablespoon of the herbs in your cup. Pour freshly boiled water over the herbs. Steep for 2 to 4 minutes; strain. Sweeten with milk or honey, if desired.

Pipsissewa is rarely found in capsule form.

Folk medicine: Internal applications include acute and chronic cystitis and edema.

Indian medicine: Pipsissewa is used internally by American Indians for complaints of the kidneys and bladder, and to regulate menstruation, both before and after giving birth. It is also used for rheumatism and cancerous conditions. It is used externally for skin diseases and smallpox.

Homeopathic uses: Among uses in homeopathy are chronic inflammation of the efferent urinary tracts, prostate gland and mammary glands.

Culinary Uses of Pipsissewa

One of the common culinary uses of Pipsissewa herb is as a flavoring for root beer as well as candy.

Cautions

No health hazards or side effects are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages. The drug possesses a weak sensitizing effect, due to its chimaphilin content. The herb is not suitable for long-term use because of its hydroquinone glycoside content.

Do not over-indulge in pipsissewa tea as this can cause gastrointestinal distress.

It is best to avoid pipsissewa tea if you take medication for your intestine, or if you are deficient in iron.

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