Health benefits of Partridge Berry

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Health benefits of Partridge Berry

Partridge Berry Quick Facts
Name: Partridge Berry
Scientific Name: Mitchella repens
Origin North America
Colors Scarlet color
Shapes Oval berry ¼ to 3/8 inches across containing eight seeds
Taste Astringent
Health benefits Beneficial for including insomnia, rheumatic pain, fluid retention, swellings, sore nipples, diarrhea and colitis
Mitchella repens commonly known as partridgeberry, or Squaw Vine, is the best known plant belonging to the madder family (Rubiaceae). The plant is native to eastern North America. In Missouri, it is native to sandy soils around bluff ledges, bogs and stream banks and in low moist woods in the southeastern part of the state (Steyermark). Some of the popular common names of the plant are two-eyed berry, running fox, Partridgeberry, Twinberry, Squaw Vine, Deerberry, One-berry, Winter Clover, Squawberry and Squawvine. Genus name honors John Mitchell (1711-1768), physician of Virginia, born in Lancaster County, who was a correspondent of Linnaeus. Specific epithet means creeping.

Plant Description

Partridge Berry is a creeping, rhizomatous, prostrate, herbaceous, evergreen, woody vine or shrub that grows about 1.5 feet (50 cm) tall. The plant is found growing on rocky upland woodlands, sandy savannas, slopes of wooded sand dunes, sandstone cliffs, sandstone ledges along ravines, mossy boulders in wooded ravines, Rocky River banks, edges of Red Maple swamps, and bogs. The plant grows on a variety of sites but generally prefers mildly acidic, well-drained mesic soils. It grows on leached banks, shaded sandstone ledges, and mossy hammocks and bogs. Stem is mostly light green to light brown and either glabrous or hairy. Old stems become brown, smooth, and woody.

Leaves

Pairs of opposite leave occur along the stems on short petioles up to ½ cm long. The leaves are ½ to 3cm long and similarly across; they are oval in shape and smooth to slightly undulate along their margins. The upper leaf surface is glabrous, shiny, and usually dark green. It is nearly white along the central vein and some of the lateral veins. The lower leaf surface is glabrous and paler.

Flower & Fruits

The small, trumpet-shaped, axillary flowers are produced in pairs, and each flower pair arises from one common calyx which is covered with fine hairs. Each flower has four white petals, one pistil, and four stamens. Partridge Berry is distylous taxa. The plants have either flowers with long pistils and short stamens (long-styled flowers, called the pin), or have short pistils and long stamens (short-styled flowers, called the thrum). The two style morphs are genetically determined, so the pollen from one morph does not fertilize the other morph, resulting in a form of heteromorphic self-incompatibility. The blooming period occurs from late spring to mid-summer and the flowers are fragrant. Flowers are subsequently followed by round, bright red berries that are ¼ to 3/8 inches across and typically ripen in late summer. Single fruits normally contain eight seeds. A pair of flowers yields one berry, hence the additional common name of twin berry for this plant. Berries are edible, but rather tasteless. Berries often persevere on the plants throughout winter. Seeds start ripening from July and October.

Traditional uses and benefits of Partridge Berry

  • Partridge berry was commonly used by several native North American Indian tribes as a parturient to hasten childbirth.
  • It was also occasionally used to treat a variety of other complaints including insomnia, rheumatic pain and fluid retention.
  • It is still used in modern herbalism as an aid to childbirth and is also considered to have a tonic effect upon the uterus and the ovaries.
  • The herb is astringent, diuretic, hypnotic and tonic.
  • Frequent doses of a tea made from the fresh or dried leaves were used by N. American Indian women in the weeks preceding childbirth in order to promote easy delivery.
  • Tea is also used to treat delayed, painful or irregular menses.
  • Tea was also used externally as a wash for hives, swellings, sore nipples, rheumatism etc.
  • Tea made from the berries has a very definite sedating effect on the nervous system.
  • Herb was believed to prepare the uterus for an easier and safe delivery.
  • Partridgeberry is thought to stimulate and tone the uterus, strengthen and relax the uterine muscles, and therefore strengthen uterine contractions.
  • Partridgeberry is believed to benefit all uterine complaints and many gynecologic ailments and has been used to ease menstrual cramps and bring on suppressed menstruation.
  • Herb is also said to relieve pelvic congestion and alleviate the mucous discharge of leucorrhea.
  • Partridgeberry is thought to soothe mucous membranes and reduce catarrh and excess mucus.
  • It is also believed to be effective in the treatment of diarrhea and colitis.
  • Partridgeberry also uses a mild tonic and soothing effect on the nervous system and is thought to calm the nerves, ease nervous exhaustion, and irritability.
  • Partridgeberry is supposed to promote suppressed urine and is also said to be effective in some cases of dropsy (edema), which is the retention of fluid by the body that causes swelling and discomfort.
  • Externally, nursing mothers may find relief in a topical lotion made from the leaves of Partridgeberry and applied to the breasts to ease soreness after breastfeeding.
  • It has also been used as an astringent skin wash.
  • It can give ease in urinary tract infections, interstitial cystitis, and BPH as a diuretic and astringent.
  • It has also been used as a moderate astringent for gastro-intestinal disorders, including diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • For treating dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), partridgeberry may be used in combination with pasque flower and cramp bark.
  • American Indian women made a tea from the leaves and berries that were consumed during childbirth.

Ayurvedic Health benefits of Partridge Berry

  • Infertility: Make a decoction of Mitchella Repens’ leaves and stems. Drink one cup twice a day. OR Take 10 drops of Tincture 3 times a day
  • Difficult Menses: Grind Viburnum Opulus, Wind Flower and Partridge Berry together. Take one teaspoon every day for 7 days.
  • Lower Back Pain: Mix One gram each of the gum of Drumstick, Bodhi Tree fruit and Partridge Berry with 3 grams dry ginger. Boil this mixture in milk. Drink twice a day.
  • Nipple Discharge: Make a paste of Partridge Berry by adding Honey and Olive oil. Apply the paste over the Nipples. Wash it when gets dry.
  • Repeated Miscarriage: Tincture equal parts of Mitchella Repens, Black Haw and Wild Yam. Take 10 drops 2 times a day.

Culinary uses

  • Berry is made into jam and sold commercially in Newfoundland.
  • Fruit when consumed raw are pleasant and slightly aromatic.
  • Tea is made from the leaves.
  • Avoid use during pregnancy and breast feeding.

Other Facts

  • Partridgeberry has been planted as an ornamental in several parts of its range.
  • Plant can be used as a ground cover plant in a shady position.
  • Plants form a spreading carpet, rooting along the stems, and are best spaced about 30cm apart each way.

Precautions

  • Tea should not be used during the first six months of labor, however, since it can induce a miscarriage.
  • Since this herb has a bitter taste, it can cause irritation to the mucous membranes.
  • Using partridgeberry may even result in a burning feeling in the digestive tract as well as damage the liver.
  • Women should keep away from this herb during pregnancy as it has the potential to cause forced abortions.
  • In case you are taking Antabuse, you should never take any formulation of partridgeberry that may enclose alcohol.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=35063#null

https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/1110/

https://pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Mitchella+repens

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=b345

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=MIRE

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-128666

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitchella_repens

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