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Wintergreen Gaultheria procumbens
Location: North AmericaThis evergreen bush is found in the United States and Canada in woodlands and clearings. Its low creeping stems put out straight branches that bear single, hanging white flowers that later turn into scarlet red berries. The Inuits in Canada have long utilized it in herbal teas to treat migraine or inflammation and to relieve all kinds of aches and pains. The leaves are still used for decoctions (Canadian tea), gargles for sore throats to relieve inflammation of the skin. Its medicinal virtues are due to a compound similar to salicylic acid (aspirin) found in the plant's leaves and fruits. Different concentrates of this compound are frequently used in dermatology. Otherwise, it also has a keratolytic and exfoliating action.