Introduction of Yerba Santa:Gum Bush or Sacred Herb.

Popular Herbs. ✵The article gives records of the herb Yerba Santa, its English name, Latin name, common names, property and flavor, its botanical source one plant species, ①.Eriodictyon californicum(Hook. et Arn.)Torr., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of this plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of this plant species, the features of the herb Yerba Santa, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Yerba Santa(Sacred Herb).

Yerba Santa:Sacred Herb English Name: Yerba Santa.
 Latin Name: Eriodictyon californicum( Arn.)Torr.
 Common Names: Bear's weed, California Yerba Santa, consumptive's weed, eriodictyon, gum plant, Gum Bush, holy herb, mountain balm, Sacred Herb, tarweed.
 Property and flavor: The taste is balsamic and the odor, pleasant and aromatic.

 Brief introduction: This aromatic, flowering evergreen shrub is native to mountainous regions of the American southwest. It bears clusters of bluish to lavender flowers, and has thick, lance-shaped leaves. The dried leaves are used medicinally. The herb got the name Yerba Santa or Holy Weed as the early priests including Spanish missionaries and later settlers held it in high esteem.

 Botanical source: Common herbal classics defined the herb Yerba Santa as the dried leaves of the species (1).Eriodictyon californicum(Hook. et Arn.)Torr. It is a plant species of the Eriodictyon genus, the Hydroleaceae family. The dried leaves are used medicinally. This commonly used species is introduced:

(1).Eriodictyon californicum(Hook. et Arn.)Torr.

 Eriodictyon californicum:flowering plant Botanical description: Eriodictyon californicum is a plant of the Eriodictyon genus, the Hydroleaceae family, it is a sticky, evergreen shrub and grows up to 1~2.5 meters high, with woody rhizomes. The trunk is smooth and usually branched near the ground, the twigs are glabrous and sticky. It is completely covered in sticky resin. The leaves are up to 15 cm long and about 2 cm broad, short-petioled, the blade is up to 15 cm long, 4~5 cm wide. They are thick, coriaceous, glabrous, greenish-white, lanceolate to oblong, and irregularly dentate at the margins, or entire margin. The upper surface appears to be varnished with resin, the lower surface is reticulate and tomentose.

 The flowers are tubular to funnel-shaped, white to lavender or deep lilac, and clustered at the top of the plant. The calyx is ciliate. The fruit is a small, oval, grayish-brown seed capsular fruit containing shriveled, almost black seeds. The flowering period is from April to June.

 Eriodictyon californicum:growing shrubs Ecological environment: The plant grows in dry mountain slopes, ridges, fields, roadsides, woodland, and chaparral at altitudes up to 1,200 or 1,800 meters above sea level, normally grows in a redwood forest, yellow pine Forest, or mixed evergreen forest, it is native to California, and the plant is distributed in the south-western and western area of North America, from California to Oregon of USA (the United States of America), and parts of Mexico.

 Growth characteristics: The plant grows in full sun with good drainage and little water once established, the plant is deer resistant.

 Yerba Santa:herb photo Characters of herbs: Yerba Santa is the above-ground part or mainly dried leaves of Eriodictyon californicum. The plant is harvested from the wild field for local use as food, medicine, and source of materials.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.expectorant; ②.cancer-preventing; ③.mildly diuretic; ④.antioxidant actions and anti-cancer; ⑤.anti-inflammation; ⑥.anti-microbial; ⑦.anti-depression; ⑧.weight loss.

 Studies found Yerba Santa component eriodictyol has expectorant properties valuable in treating respiratory ailments, as it was used as a decongestant.

 Yerba Santa components flavones were identified with potential chemopreventive effects and inhibit the metabolism of the cancer-causing chemical benzopyrene, these flavones were studied to investigate their potential cancer-preventing properties.

 The herb has a mildly diuretic effect and masks bitter tastes, so it is used as a flavoring in bitter-tasting medicine.

 Studies proposed its component sterubin has antioxidant actions and is helpful to prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease, it has potent neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory compound.

 Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most frequent age-associated dementia, with no treatments that can prevent or slow its progression. Its antioxidants components are effective in reducing the effects of oxidative stress on the body, help to prevent diabetes, heart disease or cancer. The antioxidants in yerba santa fight against free radical damage, thus helping to prevent cancer, its flavonoid luteolin could kill cancer cells and prevent them from replicating.

 The herb has an anti-inflammatory property, and it is used as a treatment for inflammation-related disorders like arthritis.

 The herb has antimicrobial properties and its antioxidant component eriodin can kill gram-positive bacteria and acid-fast organisms such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

 A study found that the herb has a neuroprotective effect and helps protect against depression and other mental health disorders.

 A study found Santa herba extract has energizing and antioxidative properties and may aid in weight management of people with obesity, obesity is often accompanied by inflammation and metabolic imbalance.

 Eriodictyon californicum:flowering plant Medicinal efficacy: The leaves of this plant were smoked or chewed by various Native American tribes to treat asthma, and leaf tea was used to relieve congestion from coughs and colds. It was also used to treat tuberculosis, asthma, and genitourinary infections, its external formulations were used to relieve rheumatic pains and treat wounds and inflammatory skin conditions such as poison ivy, dermatitis, bruises, skin rubs were used to lower fevers. It is still recommended by contemporary herbalists for clearing upper respiratory congestion caused by coughs and colds, asthma, chronic bronchitis, and hay fever. The herb is also used as a flavoring in many bitter-tasting medicine, and also used in foods and beverages. The fresh leaves are chewed for their freshing tastes and to relieve thirst, its fresh or dried leaves are made into an aromatic sweet tea, its leaf extract is used as a flavoring in baked goods, sweets, ice cream, and soft drinks.

 Administration of Yerba Santa (Sacred Herb): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Yerba Santa (Sacred Herb)
Herbal classic books: Dosage: An infusion is prepared with 1 teaspoon of dried herb per glass of hot water and drunk once a day. The extract is taken in dosages of 10~20 drops per day. To make a tea from yerba santa, normally 3 leaves per cup of water is used.
 Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions: There are no reports of toxicity of the herb Yerba Santa, and very little is known about its possible adverse reactions. The FDA approves the herb as a food ingredient. It is not recommended to be used by women who are breastfeeding or pregnant, and some practitioners strictly advise against its use by pregnant women. Some people have been known to have an allergic response to Yerba Santa. Yerba santa should not be used in large doses, because it is astringent and dries out mucus, so can cause dry mouth if taken in large doses.

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