Squaw Vine, as the name suggests, is a North American herb that was introduced to Western medical herbalism via early contact with North American Indian tribes. It is an herb of the north-eastern forests, looking remarkably similar to Wintergreen, but entirely lacking the latter's powerful scent. Squaw Vine is also known as Partridge Berry, as partridges are said to be keen on the insipid red berries this little herb produces. Squaw Vine is a member of the Rubiaceae and thus a relative of Clivers.
The main use of this herb is as a uterine tonic and aid during childbirth. It is said to shorten the time of second stage labour and facilitate an easy delivery. It also helps with suppressed or painful menstruation. Native American women may also have used this herb to terminate unwanted pregnancies. Squaw Vine is diuretic and anti-inflammatory and can be used in various urinary conditions such as urethritis, prostatitis and painful urination. Native Americans have also used it to treat various feverish conditions. Externally it has been applied as a poultice for swellings and sore nipples. A steam bath can be prepared to treat stiff, rheumatic joints. Do not use during pregnancy except during labour. Consult a qualified herbalist or healthcare professional.
In the tradition of the Iroquois Squaw Vine is used as a 'love medicine' as well as for treating venereal diseases, while the Ojibwa smoke the leaves during ceremonies.