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Richard Mandelbaum RH (AHG)

April 2017

Mitchella repens
Rubiaceae

Partridgeberry
Squaw vine

Part used: aerial parts (leaf and stem)

Native range: eastern N. America

Harvestable status / sustainability: locally abundant but delicate, could be


overharvested if care is not taken

Flavor: slightly sour and bitter

Energetics: dry / neutral

Actions: uterine kidney and bladder tonic, mild antispasmodic, tonic to the Essence (Jing),
parturient, hemostatic, mild diuretic, mild astringent, demulcent

Partridge berry is a Native American remedy also used extensively in 19th century U.S.
herbalism. It is a slow-acting tonic, in particular a uterine tonic. Ellingwood described this
herb as a “female regulator” which is consistent with empirical use and other sources, and is
an important herb in midwifery. Its uses for both men and women point to an action akin to
astringing or tonifying the Essence (Jing) and a gentle Spleen tonic as referred to in traditional
Chinese medicine.

Indications:
• Tonic and mildly antispasmodic to the uterus:
o Menstrual imbalances including amenorrhea (scanty or infrequent periods),
menorrhagia, metrorrhagia, and dysmenorrhea, or as Cook describes it, “chronic
painful menstruation”
o Uterine atonicity / prolapse, leucorrhea
o Infertility due to atonicity or endometrial imbalance
• Cook highly recommends Compound Sirup of Mitchella, which contains 4 parts
Mitchella and one part each of viburnum, (cramp bark,) helonias, and caulophyllum.
He writes, “This preparation is one of great value in all nervous and uterine difficulties
incident to females, including weakness of the back, leucorrhea, prolapsus, cramps,
Richard Mandelbaum RH (AHG)
April 2017

persistent menstruation. Few compounds in the whole range of Pharmacy are so mild
in action, yet at the same time so reliable.”
• Ellingwood: “works harmoniously with cimicifuga, pulsatilla, aletris, helonias, senecio
aureus, and viburnum.”

• Midwifery uses:
o May be used throughout pregnancy in particular to prevent miscarriage in
women with a history of miscarriage. Often combined with raspberry leaf.
o Partus preparator – used for several weeks before childbirth (“par excellence” –
Ellingwood) to tone the uterus, regulate contractions and ease delivery.
Ellingwood recommends using 1-2 doses daily for months 6 and 7, 3x/day for
month 8, and larger doses in the final month of pregnancy.
o To reduce postpartum bleeding and atonicity
o Felter and Lloyd also recommend a salve of Mitchella for sore nipples during
lactation

• Gentle and effective tonic on mucus membranes that are over-secreting (“leaky”)
and/or atonic:
o Astringes the Jing or Essence: leucorrhea, spermatorrhea, chronic dysentery
(Cook), and mucus membrane discharge.
o May be useful for benign prostatic hypertrophy (Winston)
o Gently relieves genitourinary tract inflammation and irritation, cystitis
o G.I. tract inflammation: colitis, gastritis, etc.

Safety, Contraindications, Interactions and/or toxicity:


• AHPA Safety Class 1, Interaction Class A
• Safety data relies heavily on traditional knowledge as very few scientific studies have
been conducted.

Preparation: Tincture
Infusion
Capsule

Dosage: 2-4 g dried herb in infusion per day


1-3 ml TID tincture

Major plant constituents: Not well established. Speculative – may contain glycosides, tannins,
mucilage, alkaloids

Additional notes:
• The fruits are edible and fairly insipid. Felter and Lloyd recommend using the fruits for
diarrhea and dysuria (painful urination).
Richard Mandelbaum RH (AHG)
April 2017

Sources:
AHPA Botanical Safety Handbook, 1st and 2nd Editions
Bone and Mills, Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy
Cook, Physiomedical Dispensatory
Ellingwood, American Materia Medica
Felter-Lloyd, King’s American Dispensatory
Hoffmann, Medical Herbalism
Mabberley, D.J., The Plant Book, Second Edition
Skenderi, Herbal Vade Mecum
Trickey, Women, Hormones, and the Menstrual Cycle