Gaia Herbs | plant intelligence



Mitchella is one of those plants that you would not really notice unless you were admiring the carpet of the forest in the Eastern parts of North America and happened to spot one of the bright red colored berries. The species name, repens, means “creeping” in Latin and this is exactly how Mitchella spreads itself across the ground. This is one of the many species in the Rubiaceae family of plants, a family with a strong history of use medicinally and of economic importance, Coffee being the most popular member also producing a berry that is dried and consumed as a beverage by millions of people. The Mitchella berries, not so much. The Iroquois prepared them as a relish, mashed and stored them as a dried cake, or dried and took on the trail as hunting food. They have very little flavor reminiscent of wintergreen if anything.


Much of our knowledge of this plants use as a medicine came from the Native Americans’ use which was imparted to community herbalists and Wise Women and then taken up by the Eclectic then Naturopathic doctors. Most Eastern North American Native people used the plant for several indications, everything from insomnia to a ceremonial smoking blend, but one of the most common uses was to support the uterus before during and after pregnancy and assist in the lactation process, both for the mother and the infant.* In modern use in the clinic you will find the aerial portions as an extract or whole dried herb recommended for supporting all of the organs of female reproduction.* Dr. William A. Mitchell, Jr. one of the founders of Bastyr University used a preparation in his practice specifically in the treatment of Male prostate issues and found it extremely effective.* Clinical research is ongoing with this plant, but it is thought that the astringent nature has a strong influence of atonic tissue.*

Uses of Partridge


This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Sapponins, Tannins, Piric Acid

Parts Used

  • Aerial portions

Important precautions

If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.

Additional Resources

Hamel, Paul B. and Mary U. Chiltoskey 1975 Cherokee Plants and Their Uses — A 400 Year History. Sylva, N.C. Herald Publishing Co. (p. 47)

Mitchell, William A. Jr. Plant Medicine in Practice, Using the Teachings of John Bastyr: 2003 St. Louis, MO, Churchill Livingstone (pp. 294, 386). ISBN 0-443-07238-8

Parker, Arthur Caswell 1910 Iroquois Uses of Maize and Other Food Plants. Albany, NY. University of the State of New York (p. 96)

Waugh, F. W. 1916 Iroquois Foods and Food Preparation. Ottawa. Canada Department of Mines (p. 128)

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