Yerba Santa

Eriodictyon Glutinosum Californicum

Mountain Balm, Holy Herb, Consumptives Weed, Tarweed



Yerba Santa
Yerba Santa, sticky & oily leaves with a fuzzy underside.

Description:

Part of the same family as Borage called Hydrophyllaceae, formerly they used to think this plant was more of an independent specie called Hydrophyllaceae. Now they classify them as a sub family under Borage (2.7). Growing 3’ to 9’ tall Yerba Santa has 2 toned lanceolate to oblong shaped leaves. Between the leaf veins under the leaf is very densely hairy with small white hairs, on the top is a smoother green and oily surface. At the end of the branches Yerba Santa's flowers clusters form white - purple appearance (2.1). Its this purple color that gives away a lot of what we know about Yerba Santa and its energies, think 3rd eye chakra association (1.4). The flowers form a funnel or trumpet shape that is slightly hairy. The shape reminds one of an ascension or a cone of energy. Able to cope with hot environments thanks to its strong relationship with the water element. It can seem a bit more opposite than what we would think about a relationship with water. This plant has tough resinous leaves that conserve water, making them slightly sticky (1.4). The stickiness can attract a lot of what is in our environment so be aware of where you are when handling the leaves. Butterflies absolutely love Yerba Santa! Considered GRAS approved, or Generally Regarded As Safe (1.8).


Habitat and Propagation:

Yerba Santa grows best in zones 5 - 10 and is very drought tolerant (1.2). Thrives best in arid regions at max 4,000’ on hillsides and ridges. Found in California and Oregon regions also found in Northern parts of Mexico (1.1). Needing these areas to be in full sunlight and sandy soil with very good drainage. When growing it at home put it against a wall that gets a lot of sun for best growth. Prune your plant in early spring or summer, do not cut any wood that has grown to be 2 years old. To germinate seeds soak them in willow tea overnight. Next day place small pinches of the seed in groups on a sandy soil surface. Press them firmly to the soil and keep warm in artificial light or sunlight and water every other day. It can take up to 17 or more days for germination. When propagating seeds grow in a greenhouse environment for the first year, within that year once the growth of the seeds is enough dig them up carefully to plant in individual pots. After the first year and winter plant in its permanent position in early spring or summer (1.1). A permanent position is important this plant does not like to be moved too much as it gets older.


Harvest:

Always practice sustainable and safe harvesting techniques. The parts used are the new leaves of a well established plant. One would harvest these leaves in early Spring or Summer (1.3), that is when its moisture content would be at its best meaning more medicine. Harvest only first year growth. When harvesting it can be more sustainable to pick just the leaves not the whole branch. This way can take longer but if you do it right you can conserve the buds for another years growth. Be careful where you harvest from Yerba Santa is a very sticky resinous plant, anything in its environment will stick to it. Do not harvest next to roadsides or any other area where there can be heavy environmental pollutants that may stick to the leaves. When near roadsides and you see this plant do not eat its leaves. Look out for Black Fungi that grow on older leaves and sometimes younger but not often, do not use these leaves. Another good reason to pick just the leaf and not the whole branch.


Constituents:

Flavanoids (Eriodictyol), Homoeriodictyol, Chrysocriol, Zanthoeridol and Eridonel. Formic and other plant acids, Volatile Oil, Phytosterol, Resin and Glucose (2.1).