ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Teaberry and Its Uses - Gaultheria procumbens

Updated on August 9, 2012

Nature Walk Findings

Always pay attention to your surroundings when taking a nature walk. You never know what you will discover. I was fortunate to find teaberries growing under the trees during my walk in the Poconos.
Always pay attention to your surroundings when taking a nature walk. You never know what you will discover. I was fortunate to find teaberries growing under the trees during my walk in the Poconos. | Source

Discovering Wild Grown Teaberry

I have had teaberry flavored gum and ice cream in the past, but I never thought of growing the teaberry herb until recently. While taking a nature walk in the Poconos with my family, we found an abundance of teaberry plants and I instantly became interested in learning more about this herb.

Teaberry can be found growing in the Northeastern United States and Newfoundland. It can also be found growing in the states of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. It is listed as an endangered plant in Illinois.

To find it, search the woodlands. It can be found growing under trees, on mountains, and where there are many pine trees - teaberry plants grow in an acidic soil.

Common Names

American winterberry, box berry, Canada tea, checkerberry, chickerberry, deer berry, ground berry, ground holly, hill berry, mountain tea, partridge berry, spice berry, spicy wintergreen, spring wintergreen, wax cluster, wintergreen, and woodsman's tea.

Teaberry Plant Photo

Teaberry growing in the woods of Jim Thorpe.
Teaberry growing in the woods of Jim Thorpe. | Source

Plant Description

Teaberry is a creeping woodland shrublet. The bell shaped flowers are small and can be white or light pink. The plant flowers from June to September. The leaves are dark green and glossy. The evergreen plant, a perennial, has aromatic green leaves all year round. The plants remain fairly low to the ground, sometimes growing up to 6 inches high which is why it is used as a ground cover in gardens. Teaberry produces edible berries that are red.

Edible Wild Plants

Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants
Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants

I've used this book for many years to help identify and learn about edible plants found in the wild. It has been an invaluable starting point to many of my outdoor and kitchen adventures.

 

Ground Cover

Teaberry can be used as a ground cover. It prefers acidic, moist soil and partial shade. Homeowners can grow teaberry around pine trees because the plant enjoys the acidic soil provided by the pine needles. The plant can also be grown among partially shade rocks. You will only need a few small plants to grow into a sizable patch as the plant sends out runners similar to mint plants. Since the plant and berries are edible, it is a safe plant to have for households with children. In fact, some people add a few of the berries to their pies for extra flavoring.

Terrariums and Wreaths

Teaberry was once a popular plant to grow in terrariums. Because the plant is small and is an evergreen, gifts were made of teaberry plants during the winter holidays. Teaberry is also used to make cut or living wreaths during the holiday season.

Wildlife

Many wildlife critters rely on teaberry for food and shelter, especially during the winter months. Deer are particularly fond of eating teaberry. If you have deer in your area, they are likely to snack on your teaberry plants in the winter months. Bears, bobwhites, pheasant, mice, fox, squirrels, grouse, and turkeys also eat teaberry.

Teaberry Tea

Leaves can be gathered and used for tea. Since the leaves lose their aroma quickly after drying, just use fresh leaves for the tea any time of the year.

To make the tea, break up or cut at least one teaspoon of the fresh leaves per one cup of water. Boil the water first, remove from heat, and add teaberry leaves. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes. A stronger tea can be made, if desired. Serve hot or chilled.

Best Herb Book

The Herb Book: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to More Than 500 Herbs
The Herb Book: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to More Than 500 Herbs

Over the years, I have accumulated over 40 books on herbs, but I only ever use one book all the time. For over 20 years, The Herb Book has been at my side when researching herbs and their uses. It provides more medicinal information than any other book I have found and it covers over 500 herbs. Buy a used copy to avoid the high selling price. It is worth it.

 

Medicinal Uses

There are many medicinal uses for teaberry, but the oil of winterberry, as it is commonly called, can be dangerous to use. Teaberry tea has been commonly used to help with headaches. The natural oils in the leaves contain methyl salicylate, similar to aspirin. The tea is also taken to help ease joint pains and inflammations. It is also said to help with flatulence. As with any herb tea taken for medicinal purposes, speak to your doctor first before taking to make sure it does not conflict with any current medications you are taking or medical conditions.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 

      2 years ago from Southern Clime

      When I was a girl growing up in the southern woods, I ate what Mom called teaberries. They were tiny, dry, red, felt-like berries that grew in clusters like grapes. They tasted sour/salty, but good. They grew on bushes similar to the fig and were 6-8 feet high.

      I listed wild edibles that my family ate as I could remember them. I came up with 42. I also listed 24 that I would like to taste. I have been researching and identifying more wild edibles and really enjoy doing it!

      I enjoyed this hub and plan to order two books that are advertised. Thanks for sharing.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)