YERBA SANTA ( Brief Notes)
Other names: Mountain Balm and Holy Herb
A fine herbal medicine for Asthma, Chest Colds, Urinary Tract Infections, and for warding off negativity ….
A very aromatic, evergreen shrub growing to no more than 5 feet tall. Pale lilac colored, often whitish little bells hang gracefully in clusters which are curled up at the ends, uncurling as the flowers mature.
Its leathery and sometimes gummy leaves are simple and narrow in length with toothed margins that are slightly turned back. They are dark green and sticky above, and densely white woolly beneath, between the networks of veins. The leaves as well as the branches exude a sticky, aromatic substance.
This is one of my favorites plants to gather! The aromatics coming off this plant are heavenly and feel so good in the lungs and sinuses, just the smell alone is very medicinal and is uplifting to ones spirit.
Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon angustifolium) and other species are predominately found in the Western United States, especially in drier regions.
Yerba Santa has many remarkable and serious medicinal uses. Michael Moore writes “ An expectorant and bronchial dilator, useful in chest colds, bronchitis, asthma, and hay fever.
It has mild but useful decongestant functions; all species are effective. Yerba Santa has no specific toxicities in moderate doses, and up to an ounce of the leaves can be drunk during the course of a day. For mild bronchial spasms, smoking the leaves along with the tea can improve the effects.”
I have always included this plant in most of my hayfever/allergy, respiratory/lung infection, and asthma formulas.
While the tea is a most effective way to use this plant medicine, I prefer the fresh leaf/flower extract for more serious respiratory infections and more distinct bronchial dilation. Also, fresh plant extract is a very effective remedy for mild bladder and urethra infections.
Yerba Santa is an effective antibacterial and antimicrobial medicine, and dry leaf added to salves is good for first aid needs. I have included it in many of my salves over the years.
A very unique use (most effective, I might add!!!) is burning the leaves to ward off negativity or evil thoughts and intentions. I have encountered this being used by many of the older people in Southern Arizona. Mostly forgotten about as a anti witch (bad ones) medicine. Another way it was used for this was to combine dry Rosemary Leaf and Yerba Santa Leaf and make a tea with it. This was used for blessings, bathings and for washing off things that had been tagged with negative energy.
The power of this plant is amazing, both for physiological and spiritual problems. When you gather your first Yerba Santa from the wild, you will never forgot that moment in time. The spirit of this plant will imprint on your psych in way that will leave you wondering .... what just happened! In a good way!