Mitchella repens

Partridge Berry

Mitchella repens


Names: Squaw Vine.

Habitat: N. America.

Collection: Being an evergreen herb, it may be found all year round inthe forest and woodland habitat it likes. It is best collected in flowerbetween April and June.

Part Used: Aerial parts.

Constituents: * Saponins, mucilage. Largely unknown. Unspecifiedalkaloids, glycosides, tannins and mucilages have been reported.

Actions: Parturient, emmenagogue, diuretic, astringent, tonic.

Indications: Partridge Berry is among the best remedies for preparingthe uterus and whole body for child birth. For this purpose it should betaken for some weeks before the child is due, thus ensuring a safe andwonderful birth for both of you. It may also be used for the relief of painfulperiods. As an astringent it has been used in the treatment of colitis,especially if there is much mucus.

King’s Dispensatory says (note the 19th. language and impliedracism): Partridge Berry is parturient, diuretic, and astringent. Usedin dropsy, suppresion of urine and diarrhoea, in decoction. Itseems to have an especial affinity for the uterus, exerting a powerful tonicand alterative influence upon this organ, and has hence been found highlybeneficial in many uterine derangements, as in amenorrhoea some forms ofdysmenorrhoea, menorrhagia, chronic congestion of the uterus,enfeebled uterine nervous system, etc. It is said that the squaws drink adecoction of this plant for several weeks previous to their confinement, forthe purpose of rendering parturition safe and easy. Similar virtues have beenascribed to it by competent physicians of our time. The remedy is peculiarlyAmerican, not being noticed or used by foreign practitioners. Dose of a strongdecoction, from 2 to 4 fluid ounces, 2 or 3 times a day. The berries are apopular remedy for diarrhoea and dysuria. Used as follows,partridge berry is highly recommended as a cure for sore nipples: Take 2ounces of the herb, fresh if possible, and make a strong decoction with a pintof water, then strain, and add as much good cream as there is liquid of thedecoction. Boil the the whole down to the consistence of a soft salve, and whencool, anoint the nipple with it every time the child is removed from thebreast.

Cook: The greater portion of its power is expended upon the uterus,where its action is tonic and moderately antispasmodic; but it also influencesthe kidneys, testes, and the entire nervous system as connected with thegenerative organs. The chief value set upon it by most physicians is for itssoothing and strengthening influence upon the uterus in hysteria, leucorrhea,prolapsus, and rheumatic or neuralgic pains, and chronic painful menstruation.Its action in all these connections is of the most beneficial character; at thesame time that it steadily maintains a fair secretion of urine, and relievesaching of the back. It has been recommended in dropsy and gravel, but is onlysecondary in value. Used for several weeks before parturition, it allays theuterine crampings incident to the latter period of gestation, and sostrengthens this organ as to make an easy labor much more probable.

The attention of physicians has been so much fixed on the above uses ofMitchella, that its influence upon other portions of the system hasalmost been overlooked. For all forms of nervous feebleness and irritability ofa chronic character, it is an excellent agent; and it exerts a highly favorableinfluence over spermatorrhea. I have used it largely in the management of thismalady, especially in combination with the flowers of Althea,Celastrus, and Uva ursi, and commend it earnestly to the profession. Onthe mucous membranes it exerts a mild tonic influence, which slowly abatesexcessive mucous discharges, and has led most writers to pronounce it anastringent; but this action is wholly tonic, and may be used for catarrhal andleucorrheal discharges, as well as for chronic dysentery.

Combinations: As parturient to prepare for childbirth it may be usedwith Raspberry Leaves. For dysmenorrhoea it could be combined with Cramp Barkand Pasque Flower.

Preparations & Dosage: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto lteaspoonful of the herb and let infuse for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunkthree times a day.

Tincture: take l-2 ml of the tincture three times a day.

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Written by David L. Hoffmann BSc Hons MNIMH

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