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Wintergreen


#1

Yes, Tas, that plant has several names : (Gaultheria Procumbens) aka
Periwinkle, Spice Berry, Deerberry, Teaberry, as well as
Checkerberry. Common in woods and clearings from eastern Canada
southward to the Gulf states, thriving only in partial shade. It is
diuretic and believed by some to have a peculiarly beneficial action
in indicated condition.

Small doses stimulate the stomach, large doses have the oppposite
effect and cause vomiting. It is an old time remedy. Dose: A
teaspoonful of the plant, cut small or granulated, to a cup of
boiling water. Drink cold, one cupful during the day, a large
mouthful at a time; of the tincture, 5 to 20 min. Thus sayeth The
Herbalist.

That birch tree I mentioned earlier also produces oil of wintergreen.
As you can see, the stuff may smell and feel fierce in the undiluted
form, but is not poisonous.

Pat


#2

In the search for a final truth to this issue of where oil of
wintergreen comes from, I made time for consulting the “bible of
horticulture”, Bailey’s. I have both the earliest volumes and the
most recent. Under Gaultheria procumbens, called familiarly
Wintergreen, Checkerberry, Teaberry, Mountain Tea, Ivry-leaves, the
books cover all the ranges where it grows and the descriptions and
ends by saying “Original source of oil of wintergreen, *now obtained
from Betula lenta.”

To the Birch pages I go and find Betula lenta, variously known as
Cherry B., Sweet B., Black B., Mahogany B., and Mountain Mahogany.
Following it’s descriptions of range and such, it says : * “The wood
is used for various articles, and the young twigs and bark are the
main source of oil of wintergreen.”

These plant names are difficult to pin down, but Baileys is the final
authority and they cross-ref. as best they can. For instance that
Black Birch - B. nigra - is also known as the red birch or Betula
Rubra .

All this is from Hortus Third compiled by Staff of the
L.H. Bailey Hortorium, Cornell University.

Hope this puts you all in a growing mood. Think green.

Pat


#3

periwinkle is not wintergreen. Leaves kinda look the same but no
flavor:)not the same at all in fact. Yes, Tas, that plant has several
names : (Gaultheria Procumbens) aka Periwinkle, Spice Berry,
Deerberry, Teaberry, as well as Checkerberry. Common in woods and
clearings from eastern Canada