Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata)
Pipsissewa is another evergreen plant that lasts through the winter. It can be dried and used for tea but it is also broadly available in various forms s an herbal remedy. Native Americans had no fewer than 90 different uses among a broad range of tribes, among them a tobacco substitute, a remedy for nasal pain and in a decoction for sore eyes.
It grows in large colonies and is easy to find because of its shiny green leaves that shine winter and summer and last up to 4 years. Like other plants in the wintergreen family it likes dry, sandy, undisturbed soil in pine forests. Pipsissewa was once used as a flavoring in candy and soft drinks, including root beer. Its name is fun to say. It’s a Native American Cree word meaning “It-breaks-into-small-pieces.” This is because it was used as a treatment for kidney stones and was thought to break them into pieces.
Links: Native American uses