Plants and People Project

Wintergreen - Gaultheria procumbens

Also called checkerberry and teaberry. The Herbalist

Native Americans used the wintergreen for many purposes. They used it as a medicine. They drank it as a tea. They also used it as a flavoring for meat and fish dishes.

Be sparing when you harvest the leaves from this plant, making sure to only take one of two leaves from each stem. This will ensure that there will still be some for the next time. Laurentian Environment Center

Plants for a Future

As a medicine "In this form, it is a very valuable external application for rheumatic affections in all chronic forms of joint and muscular troubles, lumbago, sciatica, etc."

Wintergreen, Willow and Birch all have in common salicylate which is useful in relieving pain. Aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid. Indian Herbology of North America

The leaves have found use as a substitute for tea and as a flavoring for beverages.

The oil is used as a flavoring agent for tooth powders, liquid dentifrices, pastes, and chewing gum."

The berries of the wintergreen are food for small mammals and birds.

The evergreen leaves add a bit of interest and color to a winter garden. Many people are adding this lovely native plant to their garden.

Identification and other facts / More facts / PLANTS database


wintergreen plant


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Posted 7/31/05 Cindy O'Hora