BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS.—A low, nearly herbaceous plant, with long, running, underground shoots. Leaves evergreen, thick, and shining, whorled, wedge-lanceolate, sharply serrate, not spotted. Flowers umbelled, on a terminal peduncle; petals rose-color; anthers violet. Capsule 2- to 5-celled.
HABITAT.—Northern Hemisphere, in dry woods.
DESCRIPTION OF DRUG.—Oblanceolate, about 25 to 50 mm. (1 to 2 in.) in length, sharply serrate, with pointed apex, cuneiform and entire at base; coriaceous; surfaces smooth, upper dark green, glossy, lower lighter in color; odor slight; taste astringent, slightly bitter.
Chimaphila maculata (spotted wintergreen or pipsissewa) has the same medicinal qualities, but differs physically in being oval-lanceolate, with a paler upper surface, and in being dotted with small white holes along the midrib.
Powder.—Brownish-green. Characteristic elements: Parenchyma, mesophyll with irregular reddish-brown tannin masses, other cells with few starch grains, simple or compound, calcium oxalate crystals, aggregate (40 to 60 µ in diam.); stomata and few tracheids present.
CONSTITUENTS.—Same as uva ursi (411) with the addition of chimaphilin, C24H21O4 (yellow, odorless, tasteless, volatile crystals), and several white crystalline principles.
Preparation of Chimaphilin.—When the leaves are distilled with water, yellow crystals are deposited in the neck of the retort. These, dissolved out with chloroform, will deposit from this solution on evaporation. Shaking out the tincture with chloroform will also dissolve out the principle.
ACTION AND USES.—Like uva ursi (411). Also used in scrofula and other cutaneous eruptions. Dose: 15 to 60 gr. (1 to 4 Gm.).
A Manual of Organic Materia Medica and Pharmacognosy, 1917, was written by Lucius E. Sayre, B.S. Ph. M.