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Common Name: Yerba Santa
Eriodictyon californicum is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 2.25 metres tall.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
South-western N. America - Oregon to California.
Dry mountain slopes at altitudes up to 1,200 metres[
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[
Yerba Santa (the name means Holy weed) is a famous domestic remedy from south-western N. America where it is considered to be especially useful as an expectorant[
]. It is an ingredient of many patent cough medicines[
The leaves are an aromatic pleasant tasting tonic herb that reduces spasms, expels phlegm and lowers fevers[
]. They are especially recommended for treating diseases of the chest and respiratory system, including asthma, and are also used in the treatment of hay fever[
]. A bitter tea made from the leaves has been much used as a bitter tonic and a stimulating balsamic expectorant[
A steam bath made from the branches and leaves has been used in the treatment of rheumatism[
A decoction of the leaves has been used as a wash for sore areas and painful fatigued limbs[
A natural mouthwash is prepared by rolling the leaves into balls and allowing them to dry in the sun[
]. These are then chewed and at first have a bitter flavour but this is soon replaced by a sweetness if a drink of water is taken[
The leaves are harvested in the summer and dried for later use[
The plant has been smoked as a remedy for asthma[
The leaves have been woven into skirts and aprons[