This great herb is another legacy from our American Indians, who held it in high esteem as a uterine tonic to take during pregnancy and as a parturient agent. Squaw vine has very valuable diuretic, tonic and alterative properties, resembling those in prince's pine or pipsissewa, for which it is often substituted, or used in combination. An evergreen with paired, roundish leaves along a slightly woody, creeping stem. The leaves are variegated with whitish lines. Pink or white 4 petaled flowers, in twin-like union, terminate the stem. The fruit is a bright red berry, remaining on the stem through the winter. Found in eastern, central North America in moist or dry woods. The berries are edible, but dry, seedy & bland. They are added to salads for color.
Origin(s): United States.
Latin Name(s): Mitchella repens.
Also known as: Partridge Berry, checkerberry, deerberry, twin-berry.
Plant Part(s) Used: Aerial Parts.
Appearance: Light brown.
Aroma: Without noticeable scent.
GMO Status: Non-GMO.
Additives: Free of any additives or preservatives.
Applications / Preparations: Can be put into capsules, teas or infused as an herbal extract. For cosmetic use can be put in a poultice, salves, creams, ointments, skin toner, facial washes & other body care formulations.
Storage: Store in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.
Shelf Life: It is very difficult to pin down an exact expiration date for most single herbs as they do not really expire, they lose potency or strength over time but will still have value. Unlike synthetic material or drugs, herbs can contain many constituents that contribute to their medicinal effects. Even if when we know what the active constituents are, there are often many of them in a single herb, each with different rates of degradation. Some herbs lose their effect more easily. Other herbs that possess more stable compounds such as alkaloids or steroids will last much longer.
A huge part of the degradation rate of herbs depends also on the storage conditions of the herb, & even on the quality of the herb before storage – how it was grown, harvested, dried & processed. If the product is left in hot places or open to sunlight then it will degrade much quicker than if it was stored in cool, dry place & sealed tightly.
A good rule of thumb is that herbs should be stored no longer than 2-3 years but many herbs will have great strength much longer than that. To determine if a an herb is still good you can check the appearance & aroma. Herbs that are no longer acceptable will have lost much of its vibrant color & will instead appear dull & faded. The bigger key though is to smell the raw materials to see if the potent aroma is still present.
Warning: None known.