Summary of desert brittlebush and its traditional use

Desert Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa)

Desert Brittlebush is a flowery shrub that is common to northern Baja and the southwestern states of North America. The stems of this plant become exceptionally dry and delicate, hence the name ‘brittlebush’.

This shrub displays attractive, yellow flowers that have the appearance of daisies.

Brittlebush has been used by multiple Native American peoples. The Kumeyaay create a decoction of various plant materials (blossoms, leaves and stems) for the intention of treating toothaches. Native American groups in Arizona collect resin from the base of the plant and use this as a glue to attach arrowheads and harpoons. The Cahuilla place the gum on their chest to relieve chest pain.