Chimaphila umbellata is a Winter Lover and no doubt in Montana this is the case. Temperatures are frigid here at times and this little wonder stands strong while peaking out of the snow in late fall. A wonderful plant for colds, flu, kidney stones and skin ailments the aerial parts of Chimaphila sp. can be made into a tea, strong infusion, tincture or honey extract.
Commonly known as, Pipsissewa meaning "it breaks into little pieces" it is often prescribed for kidney stones as a dissolver and post therapy associated with urethritis . It is mildly astringent, much less than Uva ursi and the constituents include but are not limited to iron, pectin, chlorophyll tannic acid and chimpaphilin. The herb is an overall lymphatic stimulant-strengthening the blood and cleansing the urinary tract.
I have found this plant coast to coast from the Mountains of North Carolina to the North Woods of Montana. Although rhizomatic it is dependent on host plants and does not transplant well. Collect leaves and flowers in the field before winters deep snow in the Rocky Mountains or throughout the winter months in the Appalachian Mountains. I like to gather from the heart of several separate stands so the growth on the periphery continues to spread without disturbance. I also pinch off only the first few sets of whorled leaves so growth develops branched and laterally with some leaves left to photosynthesize.
Wild harvesting herbs should always be practiced with respect and sustainability in mind. Never harvest the entire or even more than 25% of any stand. Any roots that are disturbed should be gently buried and recovered with material. Pipsissiwea is one of the "at risk" medicinal plants due to overharvest. Choose wisely and carefully.
Steep 1 part plant to 32 parts water for at least 24 hours. Strain. Drink up to 12 fluid ounces daily while symptoms persist.
Combine 8 oz of infusion with 1/2 cup honey in pot over stovetop. Heat till honey is fluid. Allow to cool and bottle. Take by the spoonful or add to other herbal teas like Raspberry for a potent lymphatic boost.
Weigh and then fill mason jar with fresh material. Add twice as much in volume of 95 percent alcohol and allow to extract for at least 3 weeks. Longer for a stronger medicine. I normally plan on at least a 6 month extract. Keeps indefinitely. Take 25 drops 3X per day till better.