California Native Medicinal Plants
Prepared by Chris Dye
Using Native Plants
Provided By Kami McBride of the Living Awareness Institute
Harvest the blue elderberries when they are plump and ripe. Make the brandy with the fresh berries.
2 cups brandy
1 cup fresh blue elderberries
Put brandy and berries in a glass Mason jar. Put the lid on and store in a cool, dry place. After one month use cotton muslin cloth and a funnel to strain the berries from the brandy. Discard the berries into the compost pile and the remaining liquid is your elderberry brandy. Store it in a clean glass jar. Shelf life of the elderberry brandy is about two years. Take 2 tablespoons three times a day at the onset of cold and flu symptoms.
Harvest the fresh leaves from March through June
Mugwort Massage Oil
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped mugwort leaf
Chop mugwort finely and put oil and mugwort into a sterilized glass jar. Store in a cool, dry place for one month. While the mugwort is infusing into the oil it is very important that the plant not pop up above the oil because it can mold. You have to check your jar regularly to make sure the plant is completely covered with oil. Sometimes you have to add more oil. Let sit for one month and then strain out the plant. Discard the plant material and store the oil in a cool, dark place. Shelf life of the oil is about one year. This is a terrific massage oil for sore joints, an achy back or belly oil for menstrual cramps.
Dig up a piece of ceanothus root in the fall. Using your best clippers, chop it into small pieces immediately. When it dries, it turns rock hard.
Red Root Tincture
1 cup 100 proof vodka
3/4 cup fresh chopped red root
Put vodka and chopped ceanothus root into a clean Mason jar and store in a cool, dry place. After one month, use a funnel lined with cotton muslin cloth and strain the roots from the vodka. Discard the roots into the compost pile and the remaining liquid is your red root tincture. The shelf life of this tincture is about 3 years depending on how you store it. Take 30 drops up to 4 times a day at the onset of colds, flu and sore throats.
Harvest fresh yarrow leaves and/or flowers. Use them fresh or dried for making tea.
2 cups water
2 tablespoons yarrow
Put water and yarrow into a pot with a lid on. Bring it to a boil and then turn off the heat. Let the tea continue to steep for another hour. Strain out the herbs and then re-heat the tea. Drink 1 to 4 cups of warm tea a day for colds, flu, urinary tract infections and heavy menstruation. You can also apply yarrow tea topically to scrapes and cuts to prevent infection.
Harvest the medium sized green yerba santa leaf and use it fresh to make your yerba santa syrup.
Yerba Santa Syrup
2 cups water
1 cup fresh yerba santa leaf
Simmer water and leaf on the lowest heat in a pot without a lid on. When the water has slowly cooked down to one cup, strain the yerba santa out. You now have one cup of a very strong yerba santa tea that nobody I know will drink. So what you do is add 3/4 cup honey and make a syrup. Stir the honey in well and store in the refrigerator. Shelf life in the fridge is about 3 months. Take 3 to 5 tablespoons a day for coughs that have lots of phlegm and mucus. This syrup is not good for hot, dry coughs.
These books are available at the shop at Yerba Buena Nursery
Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West by Gregory Tilford
Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West by Michael Moore
Edible and Useful Plants of California by Charlotte Clarke
Yerba Buena Nursery
Open Tuesday - Saturday 9 am-5 pm, Sundays 12pm-4pm CLOSED Mondays