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Pipsissewa

Pipsissewa

AKA: Chimaphila Umbellate, The King’s Cure, prince’s pine pyrola, rheumatism weed, bitter wintergreen, ground holly, love-in-winter, noble pine, pine tulip, striped Pipsissewa, spotted Pipsissewa, spotted wintergreen, spotted piperidge, ratsbane, dragon’s tongue, waxflower.


Propagation: It grows best in well-drained sites in coniferous forests. Grows in a wide range of soil types. It has showy, leathery, evergreen foliage, equally interesting pink, fragrant flowers, and it grows in shady places (it has a taste for a slightly acidic soils). Best ways to propagate is to collect Rhizome divisions and cuttings. Collect small amount of (inoculated) soil from around established plants. Collect seeds by tapping dehisced fruits to dislodge seeds into a jar or bag. However, it may be easier to collect closed capsules before they dehisce, then dry and macerate to recover the seeds. With this technique however, seed maturity is not assured. Collect rhizomes and cuttings in spring. Seed Germination: Sow as soon as ripe on moist peat with small amount of inoculated soil from parent site. Efforts to germinate Chimaphila have met almost entirely with failure, therefore it may be easier to propagate from cuttings and rhizomes.


History/Folklore: The common name was given by the Cree Nation to treat kidney stones and as a diuretic. It is believed to have a variety of medicinal uses and has been used as flavoring for root beer and candy which, as a result, has caused over harvesting in some areas. It has also been found in the stomach contents in grouse during winter months, and possibly used as food by other birds and wildlife. It is only found in the Northern Hemisphere in places like North American Continent, Europe, and Japan. In traditional medicine, Pipsissewa served as an astringent as well as diuretic from the period ranging between the days of Daniel Boone, an American explorer, pioneer, and frontiersman, throughout the Civil War and even later. It was also taken on as an official medication quite early. During the period between 1820 and 1916, Pipsissewa was cataloged in the United States Pharmacopeia.


Spiritual: Most resources I found say that if this herb is carried with you, it will attract money and prosperity. It is also said that if combined with rosehips and violets then burned it will attract benevolent spirits to assist in magical workings. I found a couple of instances, and I am more inclined to agree, where it is more probable that it is a banishing and healing herb. Based on its medicinal properties I personally believe it is for banishing negative energies, influences, situations, beliefs, and things that no longer serve you to make room for better things to come into your life. I hold the belief that most of the “Magical” properties of any plant directly correlate with the natural herbal and medicinal properties. I am not an expert on the magical side of plants yet but as I educate myself my inclination leans toward magical and mundane correlations.


Medicinal: It is primarily used in the form of an infusion to treat problems of the urinary tract. It encloses a chemical compound called hydroquinone, which is known to have a remarkable disinfecting effect inside the urinary tract. It is a diuretic that encourages the body to eliminate waste in the body. As such it also treats conditions like gout, rheumatism, rheumatic joints, muscles, in addition to sores, blisters, and swellings. Many indigenous tribes used it to promote perspiration, to cure fevers, counting typhus, Skin irritations, cardiac issues, Kidney issues, edema, stomach pains, coughs, backaches, diabetes, respiratory tract infections, and eye sores. Topically it has been used to treat sores, ulcers, tumors, swellings, blisters as well as muscle cramps.


Summary: Due to overharvest by soft drink industry to produce root beer, as well as extensive wildcrafting, this plant is struggling in many locales. Collect only from relatively healthy populations and avoid excessive root disturbance. Also, be cautious when collecting this plant. Handling the plant is reported to cause skin irritation and an allergic reaction in some. Do not take more than recommended. When taken in large doses, the astringent attribute of the plant might cause irritation in the gastrointestinal tract.

**** Remember… Please consult with your physician before using this herb medicinally.****


Source Info:

Tamed Wild: Wild Medicine Herbal Deck

Plant Witchery by Juliet Diaz; pgs. 263-265

Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham; pg. 206

The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies; The Healing Power of Plant Medicine by Dr. Nicole Apelian, Ph.D &

Claude Davis, Western Historian; pgs. 195-196

Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine by Andrew Chevallier, FNIMH; pg. 188

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