Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata)
Parts used: Leaves
Benefits: Pipsissewa comes from a Cree word meaning “to break into small pieces”; the herb breaks kidney stones into small pieces so they can be passed. Also known as prince’s pine, pipsissewa is generally helpful for the urinary system and acts as both a diuretic and a urinary antiseptic with a gentle, mild action. It also helps prevent and treats various degrees of prostatic irritation and the frequently accompanying cystis (bladder inflamation). It acts by cleaning, toning, and soothing the irritation, restoring the organs to normalcy. As a poultice, pipsissewa was used by native people to heal blisters, sores, and swellings and to relieve painful joints.
Suggested uses: Pipsissewa is generally made into a tea for urinary problems, though capsules and tinctures can also be used.
At-risk warning: Pipsissewa is a small woodland plant with limited range in North America. Habitat destruction and overharvesting by the herbal industry have taken a toll on this beautiful plant, and at this time, there is no large-scale cultivation of pipsissewa. Do not collect the plant from the wild, and purchase only supplies that are clearly labeled organically cultivated.