Botanical Name: Chimaphilla umballata Family: Ericaceae | Subfamily: Pyrolaceae

Common name(s): Pippsissewa, prince’s pine, ground holly


  • Perennial | Zones 5-8 | 6-12 inches tall | Lance-shaped, toothed, waxy leaves (pale underneath). Flowers whitish pink with a ring of red anthers, May – August
  • Found in dry, shady woods


The whole plant is harvested when in bloom. Leaves can be harvested throughout the season.


Infusion: Pour 1 cup of boiling water onto 1 teaspoons of the leaves or root and let sit in a covered container for 5-10 minutes. Drink 3x/day.

Tincture: 2-15 drops, as required. A tincture is the preferred medicinal dosage.

Externally: Apply fresh leaves to rheumatic joints and muscles, and blisters, sores, swelling.


Constituents: Hydroquinones (including arbutin), flavonoids, triterpenes, methyl alicylate, tannins.

Actions: Aperient, alterative, antiseptic,astringent, bitter tonic, diuretic

Uses: Urinary tract infections, arthritis, rheumatism. Even more than these uses are found in homeopathic medicine.*

Cautions: Used externally, it may cause skin irritation – redness, blisters, peeling – to susceptible individuals. Avoid long term use.


  • Bitter, astringent, cool


  • Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs, Peterson Field Guide (Foster & Duke)
  • Indian Herbalogy of North America, Alma R. Hutchens
  • A Modern Herbal, Mrs. M. Grieve
  • The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra
  • Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Andrew Chevallier
  • Herbs2000.com
  • photo credit: Little Pippsissewa via photopin (license)

Pipsissewa is a member of the wintergreen family.

*also used in homeopathic medicine for acne, breast cancer, cataract, cystitis, diabetes, dropsy, fevers, enlarged glands, gleet, gonorrhoea, liver disorders, nephritis, proctitis, prostatitis, pterygium, ringworm, scrofula, stricture, syphilis, toothache, ulcers, unrinary disorders, whitlow – source: Indian Herbalogy of North America.