Mitchella, squaw vine.
Date: Thu, 10 Aug 1995 11:20:10 -0700
From: Paul Bergner <bergner.TELEPORT.COM>
Subject: Re: Herb of the week - squaw vine
> >Being a midwife, I would like to see us start with a woman's herb. How about squaw vine? It's in several combinations I use with my ladies but what is it really and what are it's other uses besides toning the uterus?
> I've never even heard of it (that I remember). Please somebody post the latin name.
Squaw Vine = Mitchella repens = Mitchella = Partridgeberry
Its use by whites was learned from the Indians of New England, and it has been in continuous use here in the States since at least 1820. Its most famous use is as a preparation for labor. Dr. Ellingwood (ca 1890) suggests it may be used as early as the sixth and seventh months, one or two doses a day, then three doses a day during the eighth month, and then "in higher doses" as confinement approaches. This is one of the most reliable partus-preparators.
Its also used for painful or irregular menstruation, especially in the weak and deficient patient with congestion and nervous irritability.
Its also used to prevent miscarriage in women with a history of frequent miscarraige. its taken throughout the pregnancy for that purpose.
Its also a "men's" remedy, for spermatorrhea, in the man who fits the picture of the weak patient with pelvic congestion and nervous irritability.
Finally, its a general tonic for patients with nervous debility and irritability.
Some older writers recommend a decoction of the whole plant. Others recommend a tincture.
It's often used today in formulas, zb with blue cohosh etc for labor, with angelica etc for menstrual problems, or with cramp bark etc for miscarriage. A famous older formula, from the days of the Eclectics was "Mother's Cordial" a syrup composed of:
Chamaelirium luteum (Helonias, or True Unicorn Root)
Viburnum opulus (Cramp Bark)
Caulophyllum (Blue Cohosh)
In Brandy, with sugar, and essence of sassafras for flavor.
Dose 2-4 ounces 3 times a day.
An Eclectic recipe for sore nipples:
Decoct two ounces of mitchella in a pint of water. Strain. Add an equal amount of cream to the liquid. Boil this odwn to the consistency of a salve. Cool. Annoint the nipple each time the child is removed from the breast.