Evergreen herb growing to 1 ft (30 cm) and forming mats on the ground. Has rounded shiny leaves, a flowering stem bearing fragrant white flowers and small, bright red berries.
Habitat & Cultivation
Squaw vine is native to the eastern and central U.S. It grows in dry sites in woodlands, and is harvested in late summer.
Aerial parts, berries.
Squaw vine is believed to contain tannins, glycosides, and saponins.
History & Folklore
An infusion of squaw vine was commonly taken by Native American women to hasten childbirth. It was also occasionally used for a variety of other complaints, including insomnia, rheumatic pain, and fluid retention.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Squaw vine is still extensively used to aid labor and childbirth, and is considered to have a tonic action on the uterus and the ovaries. It is taken to normalize menstruation and to relieve heavy periods and period pain. This herb has also been recommended for stimulating breast-milk production, but other herbs with a similar action, such as fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), are preferred. The berries, crushed and mixed with tincture of myrrh (Commiphora molmol), are helpful for sore nipples. An astringent herb, squaw vine has also been prescribed for diarrhea and colitis.
Do not take during the first 6 months of pregnancy.