Name : Deerberry
Other Names :Aromaticwintergreen, Boxberry, Canadatea, Checkerberry, Chink, Deerberry,
Groundberry, Grouseberry, Hillberry, Ivoryplum, Mountaintea, Partridgeberry, Redberrytea,
Redpollom, Spiceberry, Spicywintergreen, Springwintergreen, Teaberry, Waxcluster.
Parts Used : Leaves, Oil
Habitat : Grows in woods and clearings, under large trees and shrubs, on sandyacid soils, from Newfoundland to Manitoba and south to Georgia, Michigan,and Indiana.
Description : Wintergreen is a native North American evergreen shrub; the creepingstems send up erect branches, 2-6 inches high, which bear alternate,oval, leathery leaves with serrate (and sometimes bristly) margins.Both the leaves and the solitary, nodding, white, bell-shaped, flowersgrow in the axils of the leaves near the tops of the branches. Floweringtime is from May to September. The edible fruit following the flowersis a dry, scarlet, berrylike capsule about 1/3 inch across. The wholeplant is pungent in taste the spiciness being due to the volatileoil.
Wintergreen is a name applied to several plants of the family Ericaceaewhich retain their foliage during winter.
The Chinese use a plant they call wintergreen (Pyrola rotundifolia),Chinese name is Lu-ti-ts’ao. Used to staunch bloody wounds,applied to dog bites, snakebites,and insect bites.
Constituents : Glycoside, gaultherin (which is comprised of about 99% methyl salicylate)an enzyme gaultherase, aldehyde 1 alcohol, 1 ester, tannin, wax andmucilage.
Analgesic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, stimulant, anodyne,anti-rheumatic, antispasmodic, antiseptic, aromatic, emmenagogue
Uses : The medicinal virtues of wintergreen leaves reside essentially in the oil of wintergreen which can be obtained by steam distillation.The oil consists mostly of methyl salicylate, a close relative ofaspirin. Not surprisingly, the leaves have long been used for headacheand other aches and pains, inflammations,and rheumatism, rheumaticfever, dropsy, gonorrhea,scrofula, sciatica, lumbago.Recommended for urinary ailmentsand for colic and flatulence. Externally, a leaf tea can be used as a gargle for soremouth and sore throat,as a douche for leukorrhea, and as a compress or poultice for skindiseases and inflammations. A cloth soaked with oil of wintergreenhas been applied to relieve painin joints, but the pure oil can cause irritation and must be usedcautiously. Used as a poultice, good for boils,swellings, ulcers, felons,old sores.
Used as a flavoring for vermouth. Used to flavor toothpaste. It isone of the most commonly used ingredients, worldwide, in analgesicoils and balms. Essential oil (methyl salicylate) in leaves is synthetically produced for ‘wintergreen’ flavor. Experimentally, small amounts have delayed the onset of tumors. Candy and chewing gum flavoring; perfume,liniments.
Dosage : Collect leaves in the fall.
Infusion: steep 1 tsp. leaves in 1 cup water. Take 1 cup aday, a mouthful at a time.
Tincture: a dose is from 5-15 drops.
Safety : Pure oil of wintergreen can cause irritation and must be used cautiously.It is poisonous except in very small amounts. Essential oil is highlytoxic; absorbed through skin, harms liver and kidneys.
Wintergreen should never be used during pregnancy.
Myths : This is an old-fashioned remedy. Used in small frequent doses itwill stimulate stomach, heart, and respirations.
Once the leaves of this plant are hit by a hard frost and turn purplish,they seem to have a sweeter, stronger flavor. Although it has notbeen confirmed scientifically, this may indicate a higher essentialoil content.