The healthy use of the Yerba Santa herb has been known to Native Americans and people in the southwestern U.S. for their antibacterial, astringent and stimulant properties.
Yerba santa is a sticky-leafed evergreen shrub that grows in large numbers in the southwest area of the United States. The shrub grows up to a height of one to three meters. It has light purple flowers that grow in clusters. Its leaves are narrow, long and lance-shaped.
In the old days, the sticky leaves of yerba santa were used to help seal wounds until a more appropriate bandage is found. Spanish missionaries in the 17th century were quite amazed with the medicinal properties exhibited by the yerba santa herb as it was reported to have treated a host of respiratory ailments. Because of this, the herb was given its name which means “holy herb” or “holy weed” in English. Nowadays, there are some cough syrups that incorporate the yerba santa herb.
The active constituents of yerba santa herb are bitter resins, eriodictyol, eriodictyonic acid, essential oils and tannins.
Yerba santa tea can be made by steeping 1 teaspoon of dried herbs for about 30 to 45 minutes in about 8 ounces of boiling water. There is a need for this long steeping time to extract the beneficial resins from the leaves of the plant. Yerba santa tea has quite a pleasant taste and flavor.
This tea is believed to be safe when taken internally or used topically as a wash. However, young children, pregnant and nursing women and those with severe liver problems should take caution in taking yerba santa tea as its safety to them is yet to be concretely ascertained.
Following are some health benefits believed to be imparted by this infusion:
- Used to fight respiratory ailments such as asthma, cough, bronchitis, pleurisy and other congestion problems
- May assist in the treatment of bruises and sprains
- Thought to help combat rheumatic and joint pain
- May aid in reducing fever
- May help battle fatigue and counter stress
- Said to help combat allergies
- Believed to help fight insect bites