Pyrola Umbellata. Winter Green. Pipsissewa. Nat. Ord. Ericaceae. Linn. Syst. Decandria Monogynia. Hab. Northern Europe, Asia, and America.
Med. Prop. and Action. The whole plant is astringent, tonic, and diuretic. It increases the appetite, improves the digestion, and the urine under its use becomes dark, and has the peculiar odour of the plant, showing that the active principles are absorbed into the system. The bruised leaves, externally applied, are rubefacient and discutient. It contains Tannic an i perhaps Gallic acids, and 18 per cent. of Extractive. It is best given in the form of decoction (Chimaphila j., Aq. Oiss., boil to Oj. and strain, Ph. Lond.), in doses of fj - f ij. frequently repeated.
In Dropsy, Ascites, and Anasarca attended with much debility, Chimaphila was first used by Dr. Mitchell, in 1803, and subsequently by Mr. Carter and Dr. Somer-ville.J Dr. Bigelow § agrees with the two latter in speaking highly of its efficacy. He says that, when first given, it makes a distinct and evident impression on the disease, communicating an increased activity to the absorbents, followed by a great augmentation of the secretion from the kidneys. The benefit, in most instances, is temporary, and it is better to omit the medicine for a time and to resume it afresh, than to continue it until the system has become insensible to its stimulus. It is generally an acceptable medicine to the patient, and is preferable to other diuretics, both from its sensible qualities, and its effects on the stomach.
809. Nephritis, Strangury, and other diseases of the Genitourinary organs, are stated by Bigelowll to be greatly relieved by the use of this remedy.
810. In Scrofula and Scrofulous Affections, the following beverage, called "Pipsissewa Beer," is a popular American remedy. To a decoction or infusion, sugar and ginger are added to flavour it, and yeast to produce fermentation. Under its use, sensible improvement is said to take place, but as a curative agent it is of no value.
* Brit. and For. Med. Rev., No. xiii. p. 233. Med. Times, vol xv. p. 253.
Med. Chir. Trans., vol. v. p. 340. § Amer. Med. Bot., vol ii. p. 15. || Op. cit.
811. In Chronic Rheumatism, the leaves, externally applied to the seat of pain, are stated to afford great relief by their rubefacient action.