The whole plant of Mitchella repens, Linné (Nat. Ord. Rubiaceae). Dry woods, hemlock forests, and damp places in the United States. Dose, 5 to 60 grains.
Common Names: Partridgeberry, Squawberry, Squaw-vine, Checkerberry, Deerberry, One-berry.
Principal Constituent.—An undetermined saponin-like body. No alkaloid, glucoside, nor volatile oil present.
Preparations.—1. Specific Medicine Mitchella. Dose, 5 to 60 drops.
2. Syrupus Mitchellae Compositus, Compound Syrup of Partridgeberry (Mothers' Cordial). (Contains Mitchella, Helonias, Viburnum Opulus and Caulophyllum, Brandy, Sugar and Essence of Sassafras.) Dose, 2 to 4 fluidounces, 3 times a day.
Specific Indication.—As a partus praeparator.
Action and Therapy.—Based upon the practice and traditions of the American Indians this plant was eagerly adopted into domestic and early botanic and Eclectic therapy. It is believed by some to have a salutary influence upon the pregnant woman, easing many of the distresses incident to her condition, giving a sense of well-being and strengthening her for the ordeal of child birth. If it has any virtue it lies in quieting nervous irritability and giving a psychologic balance throughout the latter months of pregnancy. There seems to be reliable testimony to the effect that it assists in sustaining against miscarriages where such accidents have previously occurred. As a female regulator it has also had many devoted advocates. The Mother's Cordial is a popular and more rational preparation.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.