Medicinal Herb: Partridgeberry

Good Witches Homestead

My botany professors first introduced me to partridgeberry, and with excitement, I recognized the scientific name as a medicinal from one of my herbal books. This was back in the late 70’s when the modern herbal literature was scanty, computers were not in my reality, and I still had yet to meet a herbalist in the flesh. I would learn a plant in school and then ride my horse home to devour any information I could find on the medicinal uses of that plant. Partridgeberry and I became quick friends, as it would accompany me on my stream-side explorations and canoe rides. I spent a lot of time in the woods by myself at that time and relished the relationships with my newfound and cherished plant allies. These relationships were the threads that wove me into the interconnected majestic quilt of biodiversity and Gaian consciousness. I began to gain a…

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Medicinal Herb: Bearberry

Good Witches Homestead

Arctostaphylos uva ursi or Arbutus uva ursi

Also, Known As:

  • Arberry
  • Bearberry
  • Bear’s-grape
  • Crowberry
  • Foxberry
  • Hog Cranberry
  • Kinnikinnick
  • Mealberry
  • Mountain Box
  • Mountain Cranberry
  • Red Bearberry
  • Sagackhomi
  • Sandberry
  • Upland Cranberry
  • Uva Ursi

The uva ursi herb, which is more commonly known as the bearberry is a small and evergreen shrub belonging to the plant order: Ericaceae. Bearberry is found growing mostly in sandy and gravel-rich as well as dry soils, large populations can be found in many parts of continental Europe and in some areas along the northern regions of the continental U.S. – the plant grows well in dry soils and grows at an optimal rate in soils composed mostly of sand and gravel. Morphologically, the shrub can be distinguished by the presence of a long and solitary fibrous main root that radiates out several buried and prostrate stems in different directions, out of these prostate roots, raise the main aerial…

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Medicinal Herb: Pipsissewa

Good Witches Homestead

Chimaphila umbellata

Also, Known As:

  • Butter Winter
  • Ground Holly
  • King’s Cure
  • Love in Winter
  • Pipsissewa
  • Princes pine
  • Pyrola Umbellata
  • Rheumatism Weed

Pipsissewa is a petite evergreen herb that grows perennially and up to a height of 3 inches to 10 inches. Plants of this species produce glossy, vividly green, jagged leaves that emerge in order of whorls the length of the stem. Pipsissewa bears tiny flowers whose color range from white to pink and they blossom during July and August. The flowers of pipsissewa are clustered at the apex of a straight stalk. When the leaves of this herb are crushed, they exude a strange flavor which is sweetish and astringent and also has a pleasingly bitter taste.

The herb derives its name from the Cree (a native tribe of Canada) term ‘pipsisikweu’ which translated into English literally means ‘it breaks into small pieces’. This name of the plant is…

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