This section is from the book "Botanic Drugs Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics", by Thomas S. Blair. Also available from Amazon: Botanic Drugs, Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
Pipsissewa, Chimaphila umbellata. Official only in the eighth U. S. P. This widely distributed American remedy should not be dropped from our official standards, since it is a good substitute for the more expensive buchu. It is listed in the National Formulary. However, it more closely resembles uva-ursi.
The Ericaceae generally contain arbutin, a glucoside which, by decomposition in the urinary tract, liberates the antiseptic hydroquinone. Chimaphila is one of the most active diuretics of its class, and is possessed of tonic and astringent properties. It possesses a marked advantage in being an agreeable remedy, exciting the appetite and promoting digestion. Boiling impairs the virtues of the drug, and decoctions are nearly inert. The infusion, the strong tincture, and the fluidextract are effective.
The tonic and so-called "alterative" effects of this drug are not to be despised, and they render it especially valuable in its more direct indication, that of a non-irritating diuretic. As a practical matter of fact, drugs must be given for a long time in old prostatic troubles, renal dropsy, recurring hematuria, dysuria in the aged, gouty involvements, and atonic genito-urinary affections generally, inclusive of the residuum of gonorrhea. Chimaphila serves admirably in such cases, even in albuminuric ones. Use a reliable fl. in doses of 5 to 30 minims; maximum, 60 minims.