Pó’ polóóv téngalish.
That’s a good type of medicine.
Pí’ potówla pó’ polóóv.
Its root is good.
Pó’ chévnish qayááwima ‘o-’óówi.
Chévnish cleans the blood.
— Villiana Calac Hyde, Luiseño elder in Yumáyk Yumáyk, translated by Eric Elliot
Yesterday, my friend Ignacio and I cleared some weeds, pulled up a rogue laurel sumac, which grows in abundance on my land, leveled the area, and rounded up some rocks to create a garden area for my 4 new chévnish, or yerba mansa plants, purchased from Las Pilitas in Escondido and Tree of Life Nursery in San Juan Capistrano, my two favorite native plant nurseries.
I think it’s really important to cultivate medicinal plants such as yerba mansa / Anemopsis californica. Also known as swamp root, yerba mansa is on the United Plant Savers Medicinal Plant To-Watch List, which along with their Medicinal Plant At-Risk List, identifies native medicinal plants most at risk in their native habitat, that are most sensitive to the impact of human activities, and that have the potential to become at risk in the near future.
One of the things UpS encourages us to do is to plant the herbal medicines we use most in our organic gardens, to establish a backyard botanical sanctuaries to help preserve and restore biodiversity and act as a repository for these plants. The yerba mansa in the photo above is from the Los Jilgueros Preserve in Fallbrook, CA.
For me the most spectacular part of the preserve are the yerba mansa stands, all looking quite healthy right now, especially those shaded by willows and sycamore trees.