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Desert Medicinal Flora


Eriodictyon trichocalyx - Yerba Santa member of the Borage family (Boraginacea). There are three Eridodictyon species in California. E. californicum found in Northern Californi, in Southern California in mid elevation and can be found in Southern Oregon. E. angustifolium is found in Utah, Arizon, Nevada and Southern East parts of California. E. trichocalyx is also found in Southern California. The one I am discussing is the E. trichocalyx species. This species is a woody shrub that can grow from 2-9 feet tall with dark green sticky leathery leaves covered with resin which reflects the sun rays and retains its water. The top part of the leaf is shiny while the underside is silvery to white looking of tone covered with fine hairs which protect it from loosing water and act as a barrier. Plants are amazing, the way that are constructed so that they adapt to their environments and thrive just fascinates me.


Yerba Santa is slightly warming and drying. Having been used for respiratory ailments like bronchitis, phlegm, mucous build up, bouts of asthma when there is dampness in the lungs, urinary tract infections with mucous present in the urine. Yerba Santa is a drying expectorant that means as it loosens up lung crud it will also dry mucosal tissue. Yerba Santa has a unique decongest quality. Unlike many decongestants that stimulate, (like Ephedra spp.)Yerba Santa does not stimulate. This is an herb that can be taken before bed and you will not be up all night.


Yerba Santa can also be a little too drying if taken in copious amounts. I like pairing with Desert Globemallow - Sphaeralcea ambigua. Another native plant that is a herbal ally to the lungs. The mucilage in Desert Globemallow will help balance out the astringency of Yerba Santa. I only use this formula at the end stages of when the phglem is pretty much gone but my tissues are beginning to feel too dry. Anyhow here’s my bit on one of my favorite lung herbs that is close to me. Discover the plants native in your region. There is always going to be a mucilaginous, decongestant, astringent plant near you.





#YerbaSanta will be one of the native medical plants that folks will meet at the upcoming Desert Medicine Plant ID Hike on 1.13.19 and will be one of the plants we will be using for the “Allergy Relief, Respiratory Allies, Herbal Vinegar Workshop” on 1.20.29

Pre-registration required to participate. Tickets available along with materials needed to participate is listed in my website everyleafspeaks.com