This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
COMMON NAMES. Wintergreen, Prince's Pine, Ground Holly, etc.
MEDICINAL PART. The whole plant.
Description. -- This is a small evergeen, nearly herbaceous, perennial herb, with a creeping rhizome, from which spring several erect stems, woody at their base, and from four to eight inches high. The leaves are from two to three inches long, on short petioles, and of dark- green color, paler below. The flowers are of light-purple color and exhale a fragrant odor. The pollen is white, and the fruit is an erect five-celled capsule.
History. -- This plant is indigenous to the north temperate regions of both hemispheres, and is met with in dry, shady woods, flowering from May to August. The leaves have no odor when dried, but when fresh and rubbed they are rather fragrant. Boiling water or alcohol extracts their virtues. They contain resin, gum, lignin, and saline substances.
Properties and Uses. -- It is diuretic, tonic, alterative, and astringent. It is especially useful in scrofula and chronic rheumatism. In diseases of the kidneys and dropsy it exerts a decided curative power. In urinary diseases it is preferable to uva ursi, on account of being less obnoxious to the stomach. In dropsy it cannot be so well depended upon without the use of some more active measures in combination with it.