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.

I’ve written lots more about yerba mansa and the tinctures we made from the leaves and roots in Mexico, and will post another day . . .

Posted by deborah small

6 Comments

  1. please click the next web page

    Sanctuary: yerba mansa – Deborah Small’s Ethnobotany Blog

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  2. ESTHER AND VICTOR DE ANDA October 19, 2010 at 4:18 am

    WE ARE A FAN OF YOUR BLOG, AND WOULD LIKE VERY MUCH IF YOU COULD SEND US MORE INFORMATION ON YOUR STUDIES AND KNOWLEDGE ON YERBA MANSA. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. WE LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU.

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  3. Great to see someone doing this in America! We have several groups in Australia which encourage backyard conservation of endangered plants, including the Soil Association, Seed Savers and the Rare Fruit Society

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    1. deborah small July 1, 2010 at 6:42 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Bev. The United Plant Savers organization is really fantastic, and they have published a wonderful book, Planting the Future, Saving Our Medicinal Herbs, edited by Rosemary Gladstar. When I have a moment, I’ll do a google search on the organizations you mention in your comment. Best, Deborah

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  4. Hello
    When & where are the native food cooking classes offered?
    Do you sell books and/or videos of these classes?
    I saw your videos in YOU TUBE but you had only 4 videos, are you thinking to have more?
    Please send me all the information about Native plant uses.

    Thank you very much

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  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by OnlineHerbalist, Howard Bright. Howard Bright said: Sanctuary: yerba santa « Deborah Small's Ethnobotany Blog http://bit.ly/c8e6eL […]

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