Summary of yerba santa and its traditional use

Kumeyaay name: sa'maall

Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon crassifolium)


Yerba Santa is an attractive shrub that produces a cluster of bell-shaped creamy, purple flowers. The plant grows about 3-6 feet in height and displays lance shaped leaves that are 12-15 cm. in length. Yerba Santa is the primary nectar source for the Variable Checkerspot butterfly.

The Kumeyaay boiled the leaves of yerba santa to make a tea. This tea was consumed to alleviate a cold or cough. The plant is also eaten to treat thick or slow blood. Additionally, Kumeyaay people produce a cold compress of yerba santa material to treat headaches. A hot compress was used to treat rheumatism.



photo credit: Public Domain