Squaw vine is an evergreen herb that can be found in wooded areas in parts of North America such as Florida and Nova Scotia. The plant has a variety of other names, such partridgeberry, winter clove, and hive vine, but its proper name is Mitchella repens. The use of the name squaw vine is generally credited to the Native Americans, who used the herb for medicinal purposes.
The plant generally grows at the base of trees. Its stems can grow from .5 to 1 foot (15.24 to 30.48 cm) long. Between April and July, squaw vines generally produce fragrant flowers that are white or light purple. These flowers typically produce a scarlet colored berry-like fruit that contains numerous seeds. Although these small fruits can be full of color and they are edible, they are generally flavorless, and therefore typically eaten only for the purpose of health benefits.
The Native Americans are also credited with revealing the benefits of this herb to women. Squaw vine is used for various alternative medicinal purposes, but it is typically best known for the relief that it offers pregnant women and new mothers. Use of the herb is believed to be most popular in the United States.
Pregnant women sometimes consume squaw vine products to prepare their bodies for childbirth. It is generally only taken in the last weeks before birth and during labor. Women are typically advised against taking any squaw vine products in the first or second trimester. When women take it at the end of their pregnancy, however, it is believed that the herb can help to reduce labor pains.
After delivering their babies, some women use squaw vine for their breasts. It is believed that the herb can help to relieve pain associated with lactation. The herb is also used for sore nipples associated with breast feeding.
Some women use squaw vine for other female issues. The herb is sometimes consumed to help relieve pains associated with menstrual cycles. It may also help to relieve symptoms of vaginitis.
The herb is not only regarded as being of benefit to women. Squaw vine, which is believed to have tonic, astringent, and diuretic properties, is also believed to be useful in treating conditions such as gonorrhea, diarrhea, and dysentery. The form in which the herb is used depends on the ailment. Sometimes it may be consumed as an infusion or in capsule form. At other times, parts of the plant may be used to produce tinctures or salves.