Yerba Santa

Yerba Santa (the name means Holy weed) is a famous domestic remedy from south-western N. America where it is considered to be especially useful as an expectorant[238]. It is an ingredient of many patent cough medicines[238]. The leaves are an aromatic pleasant tasting tonic herb that reduces spasms, expels phlegm and lowers fevers[238, 254]. They are especially recommended for treating diseases of the chest and respiratory system, including asthma, and are also used in the treatment of hay fever[4, 200, 238]. A bitter tea made from the leaves has been much used as a bitter tonic and a stimulating balsamic expectorant[207, 213]. A steam bath made from the branches and leaves has been used in the treatment of rheumatism[257]. A decoction of the leaves has been used as a wash for sore areas and painful fatigued limbs[257]. A natural mouthwash is prepared by rolling the leaves into balls and allowing them to dry in the sun[213]. These are then chewed and at first have a bitter flavour but this is soon replaced by a sweetness if a drink of water is taken[213]. The leaves are harvested in the summer and dried for later use[238]. The plant has been smoked as a remedy for asthma[213].