Yerba Mansa

Yerba Mansa (Anemopsis californica)
Identification: Yerba mansa is a perennial herb with spinach-like leaves that arise from a stout aromatic rhizome (underground stem). It thrives in saline and alkaline soils that many plants find inhospitable. The stems are upright, up to 1-1/2 feet tall, woolly, bearing a terminal group of flowers, one large leaf on the stem and a few basal leaves. The basal leaves are elliptical to oblong, up to 6 inches long, rounded at the tip, heart-shaped at the base and somewhat hairy. The
flowers are few, terminal in spikes, surrounded by 4 to 8 white, petal-like bracts up to 1-1/2 inches long, the entire structure up to 3 inches across. You are not observing one flower but a whole group of flowers arranged in an elongated cluster that resembles an anemone flower. What look like petals are in fact white petaloid bracts (modified leaves). Each flower has 6 or 8 stamens and 3 fused pistils. The fruits are cone-like capsules, rusty colored, with numerous seeds.
Family: Saururaceae (Lizard’s Tail Family)
Other Names: Bearsweed, Consumptive Weed, Holy Herb, Mountain Balm, Swamp Root
Flowers: March – September
Parts Used: Roots.
Habitat: Wet meadows, marshes, swamps, and along streams; in alkaline soil. Southwestern United States and Mexico. It is found in areas of boggy swamps and marshes, along rivers like the Colorado and down into areas in Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico.
Constituents: Methyleugenol (antispasmodic), esdragole, thymol methylether, linalool, P-cymene, and asarinin.
Medicinal Properties:
Properties: Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, diuretic and blood cleanser.
Main Uses: Yerba Mansa is receiving a lot of attention as an herbal medicine because it has similar antibiotic properties of Goldenseal. It can be used in similar ways and therefore is taking some of the pressure off of Goldenseal which is quickly approaching the endangered list of plants.
As an anti-inflammatory, it relieves irritated mucous membranes and helps to prevent tissue damage that may happen during inflammation. It can be useful for acute or chronic throat, lung, and sinus irritations. It helps colds, sore throats, periodontal disease (pyrrhea), colitis, Crohn’s disease, bladder and kidney infections, and it is also effective as a douche for yeast infections. It is also used to treat urinary tract infections, stomach and duodenal ulcers, wounds, bruises, diaper rash, skin inflammations, arthritis, aches and pains. It can be used as a sitz bath for pelvic infections, vaginal warts, fissures and hemorrhoids. Improves lymph drainage in mild colds, sore throats and sinus infections; also in subacute colitis and cystitis. It is also useful for arthritis because it stimulates the excretion of uric acid and has an anti-inflammatory effect. It is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, so it is useful for skin infections also.
Harvest: The roots are gathered in the fall and winter, when the foliage has died back. Wash them well and allow to dry for several weeks, then slice into sections and allow it to finish drying. When totally dry, grind into a powder.
Preparation and Dosages:
Tincture: [Fresh root, 1:2; Dry root, 1:5], 60% alcohol, 20 to 60 drops up to 5 times a day.
Cold Infusion: 2 to 4 ounces, up to 5 times a day.

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