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Eriodictyon californicum - (Hook. & Arn.) Decne.
Common Name Yerba Santa, California yerba santa
Family Hydrophyllaceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards Not recommended during breast feeding or pregnancy. Iron & other minerals absorption can be effected by Yerba Santa [301].
Habitats Dry mountain slopes at altitudes up to 1,200 metres[254].
Range South-western N. America - Oregon to California.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Frost Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun


Eriodictyon californicum Yerba Santa, California yerba santa

Eriodictyon californicum Yerba Santa, California yerba santa
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of shrub
Eriodictyon californicum is an evergreen Shrub growing to 2.3 m (7ft) by 2 m (6ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)Suitable for: light (sandy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Eriodictyon glutinosum Benth. Eriodictyon trichocalyx A.Heller.

 South Wall. By. West Wall. By.
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Tea.

The fresh leaves are chewed for their refreshing taste and to relieve thirst[183]. An aromatic sweet tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves[183]. An extract of the leaves is used as a flavouring in baked goods, sweets, ice cream and soft drinks[183].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiasthmatic;  Expectorant;  Pectoral;  Tonic.

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].
Other Uses

The leaves have been woven into skirts and aprons[257].
Cultivation details
Requires a position in full sun in a well-drained sandy soil[200]. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to about -5°c[200]. It is probably best grown against a sunny wall. If the plant needs pruning to keep it within bounds, then this is best carried out in spring or early summer. Do not cut back to wood more than 2 years old[238]. This plant is remarkable for the coating of varnish-like resin that covers the upper leaf surface[200]. The foliage is very aromatic[200].
Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse[200]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow on the young plants for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer. Give some protection from the cold for at least their first couple of winters outdoors.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants


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(Hook. & Arn.) Decne.
Botanical References
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Subject : Eriodictyon californicum  

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