Botanical: Mitchella repens
Family: Rubiaceae (madder)
Other common names: Winter Clover, Mitchella, Twin Berry, One-berry, Running Box, Squawberry, Hive Vine, Squaw Vine, Partridgeberry, Checkerberry
Deerberry is an old folk remedy for "female troubles." Native Americans relied on this herb to help facilitate all aspects of childbirth, including labor, delivery and expulsion of afterbirth. Used several weeks prior to expected delivery, Deerberry is thought to stimulate the uterus and encourage a safe and easier birth. It is also used to promote suppressed menstruation and relieve painful menstruation.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Deerberry is an ornamental, creeping, evergreen, perennial vine. It is native to North America and thrives in dry woods among timber and also in swampy places in humus-rich, neutral-to-acid soil in shade. The vines beautify the dull, colorless winter forests with their green, clover-like leaves (hence the common name, Winter Clover) and bright scarlet berries that hug the ground. The name, Deerberry, is said to be derived from the fact that deer eagerly consume the berries, which are edible but tasteless, dry and full of stony seeds. They are also said to be the favored food of the ruffed grouse, a bird similar to the European partridge, thus giving rise to another of its common names, Partridgeberry. The aerial vine is used in herbal medicine. Native Americans carefully guarded the secrets of this herb, but it was finally revealed that Cherokee and Penobscot women (among others) used the herb several weeks before confinement in order to render childbirth safe and easy; and because they were the first to utilize the herb in this manner, Deerberry received yet another common name, Squaw Vine. The English colonists soon learned of this use and adopted Deerberry as an aid in childbirth and as a remedy for menstrual cramps. Deerberry was included in the United States National Formulary from 1926 through 1947. Among the constituents included in Deerberry are resin, wax, mucilage, dextrin, saponin, tannins, alkaloids and glycosides.
Deerberry is believed to facilitate all aspects of childbirth. Taken by Native American women during confinement (the last stages of pregnancy and nearing delivery), the herb was believed to prepare the uterus for an easier and safe delivery. Deerberry is thought to stimulate and tone the uterus, strengthen and relax the uterine muscles, and, thus, strengthen uterine contractions. Finally, the herb is said to help expel afterbirth when delivery is over.
Deerberry is believed to benefit all uterine complaints and many gynecologic ailments and has been used to ease menstrual cramps and bring on suppressed menstruation. The herb is also said to relieve pelvic congestion and alleviate the mucous discharge of leukorrhea.
As a tonic and astringent, Deerberry is thought to soothe mucous membranes and reduce catarrh and excess mucus. It is also believed to be effective in the treatment of diarrhea and colitis.
Deerberry also exerts a mild tonic and soothing effect on the nervous system and is thought to calm the nerves and ease nervous exhaustion and irritability.
As a mild diuretic, Deerberry is believed to promote suppressed urine and is also said to be effective in some cases of dropsy (edema), which is the retention of fluid by the body that causes swelling and discomfort. (It is not a disease in itself, but a manifestation of some other condition and should be checked by a doctor.)
Used externally, nursing mothers may find relief in a topical lotion made from the leaves of Deerberry when applied to the breasts to ease soreness after breastfeeding. It has also been used as an astringent skin wash.
Deerberry Herbal Supplement should not be used until the last weeks of pregnancy and should always be used under the care of a health care provider.