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Botanical Name: Eriodictyon glutinosum
Species: E. californicum
Synonyms: Mountain Balm. Consumptive’s Weed. Gum Bush. Bear’s Weed. Holy or Sacred Herb. Eriodictyon Californicum (Hook and Arn.).
Common Names: Yerba Santa, California yerba santa
Other Name: Holy or Sacred Herb
Habitat: Eriodictyon glutinosum is native to California and Northern Mexico,found growing abundantly in clumps on dry hills in California and Northern Mexico.
Description: Eriodictyon glutinosum is a low, shrubby evergreen plant, 2 to 4 feet high. The stem is smooth, usually branched near the ground, and covered with a peculiar glutinous resin, which covers all the upper side of the plant. Leaves, thick and leathery, smooth, of a yellowish colour, their upper side coated with a brownish varnish-like resin, the under surface being yellowish-white reticulated and tomentose, with a prominent midrib, alternate, attached by short petioles, at acute angle with the base; shape, elliptical, narrow, 2 to 5 inches long 3/4 inch wide, acute and tapering to a short leaf-stalk at the base. The margin of the leaf, dentate, unequal, bluntly undulate. The flowers, bluish, in terminal clusters of six to ten, in a one-sided raceme, the corolla funnel-like, calyx sparsely hirsute….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Requires a position in full sun in a well-drained sandy soil. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to about -5°c. It is probably best grown against a sunny wall. If the plant needs pruning to keep it within bounds, then this is best carried out in spring or early summer. Do not cut back to wood more than 2 years old. This plant is remarkable for the coating of varnish-like resin that covers the upper leaf surface. The foliage is very aromatic.
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow on the young plants for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer. Give some protection from the cold for at least their first couple of winters outdoors.
Edible Uses: The fresh leaves are chewed for their refreshing taste and to relieve thirst. An aromatic sweet tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves. An extract of the leaves is used as a flavouring in baked goods, sweets, ice cream and soft drinks.
Parts Used:Dried leaves.
Constituents: The chief constituents are five phenolic bodies, eriodictyol, homoeriodictyol, chrysocriol, zanthoeridol and eridonel. Free formic and other acids, glycerides of fatty acids; a yellow volatile oil; a phytosterol, a quantity of resin, some glucose. Taste, balsamic and sweetish, afterwards acrid, but not bitter, recalls Dulcamara and creates a flow of saliva. Odour, aromatic. The leaves are brittle when dry, but flexible in a warm, moist atmosphere. Eriodictyon Californicum is official in the United States Dispensary. Alcohol is the best agent for the fluid extract of the dried plant.
Recommended for bronchial and laryngeal troubles and in chronic pulmonary affections, in the treatment of asthma and hay-fever in combination with Grindelia robusta. Likewise advised for haemorrhoids and chronic catarrh of the bladder. Much used in California as a bitter tonic and a stimulating balsamic expectorant and is a most useful vehicle to disguise the unpleasant taste of quinine. Male fern and Hydrastis. In asthma, the leaves are often smoked. Aromatic syrup is the best vehicle for quinine.
E. californica is more soluble in alcohol while the other varieties do better in water. Dosage: Dry herb tincture: 20-30 drops up to 5 times a day. Other uses include: catarrh of the bladder, hemorrhoids, and as a poultice for bruises, sprains, wounds, and insect bites.
Known Hazards: Not recommended during breast feeding or pregnancy. Iron & other minerals absorption can be effected by Yerba Santa.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.