Eriodictyon angustifolium

Botanical Name : Eriodictyon angustifolium
Family: Boraginaceae
Subfamily: Hydrophylloideae
Genus: Eriodictyon
Species: E. angustifolium
Kingdom: Plantae

Common Names : Narrow-leaved Yerba Santa,Narrowleaf yerba santa

Habitat :Eriodictyon angustifolium is native to California and is also found outside of California, but is confined to western North America. It is  found  primarily in California, Utah, Nevada, and Baja California.

Description:
Eriodictyon angustifolium is a perennial shrub.This plant has white, five-petalled flowers that bloom in June or July. The toothed leaves, about 10 centimeters in length, are sticky above and hairy below.

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Medicinal Uses:
An important lung and bronchial medicine, most useful when phlegm is loose, milky, and profuse and the lungs, throat, and  sinuses feel weak and boggy.  Often combined with Yerba de buey.  It also is effective for head colds and sinus infections. The cold tea is used as a disinfecting diuretic for bladder and urethra pain.  New research is showing that it also has some anti-microbial properties.

Yerba Santa’s medicinal properties are strongest right after blooming, either in late spring or after a drought-breaking rain has brought out new foliage. Use the leaves either fresh or dried. Gather by breaking off branches full of leaves. Spread out the branches or hang them individually to dry. If you leave the branches clumped together in a bag or box, the resin on the tops of the leaves will glue the leaves together so you will end up with a black, sticky, unusable mass. Once dried, the resin is no longer a problem. When using fresh leaves for tea or tincture, cut them into small pieces with scissors or a knife, then use alcohol to clean the resin build up from the utensil. If dried leaves are being used, simply crumble them into small pieces. For smoking, it is best to use the mature leaves that are starting to dry and turn yellow around the edges and are almost ready to fall off, found near the base of large stems and the main trunk of the bush.

Yerba Santa is a great upper respiratory herb. It has a resinous coating and is aromatic. Use as a tea or tincture for coughs, lung and sinus congestion and infused in oil for muscle and chest rubs. In order to infuse Yerba Santa into oil you must first sprinkle it with alcohol to dissolve the resins. Drink the tea hot to induce sweating to break a fever. Inhale the steam from the hot tea to clear sinus and chest congestion. It thins mucous and is useful as an expectorant, decongestant and bronchial dilator for chest colds, bronchitis, asthma, sinus infections and hay fever. The resin complex and phenols in Yerba Santa make it useful for mild bladder and urethra infections. Since these properties are only partially water soluble, an alcohol tincture is preferable, twenty to thirty drops in water several times per day. Yerba Santa has no specific toxicities in moderate doses and up to an ounce of the leaves can be used to make a tea or infusion to drink in one day. It is safe for children, using one half of the normal adult dose. The leaves can also be used in a vaporizor to relief congestion.

Inhaling smoke from Yerba Santa leaves is useful to calm mild bronchial spasms. Burning a Yerba Santa smudge can be used to warm up trigger points, especially on the hands and feet. This will give relief from headache and muscle spasms. The fresh leaves make a pleasant and tasty chewing gum, bitter and balsamic at first, with a sweet aftertaste which freshens the mouth and breath. In Baja, for skin eruptions, boil leaves with Atriplex and wash the sores. Or grind dry leaves and apply. For malaria, make a tea with Haplopappus and Larrea, and massage with the lotion. For stiff neck, tie the leaves around the throat. For sore throat, make a leaf tea. For aches, bruises, wounds, bruises, wounds, heat leaves, apply to affected area. For coughs, colds, boil leaves and drink.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.calflora.org/cgi-bin/species_query.cgi?where-calrecnum=3181
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eriodictyon_angustifolium
http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/img_query?rel-taxon=contains&where-taxon=Eriodictyon+angustifolium
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm

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