Yerba Santa

Other Name(s):

Bear's Weed, Consumptive's Weed, Eriodictyon, Eriodictyon californicum, Eriodictyon glutinosum, Gum Bush, Gum Plant, Herbe des Montagnes, Herbe à Ourse, Herbe Sacrée, Herbe Sainte, Hierba Santa, Holy Herb, Holy Weed, Mountain Balm, Sacred Herb, Tarweed, Wigandia californicum.


Yerba santa is an herb. The leaf is used to make medicine.

Yerba santa is used for respiratory conditions including coughs, colds, tuberculosis, asthma, and chronic bronchitis. It is also used for fever and dry mouth. Some people use it to relieve muscle spasms, to loosen phlegm, and as a tonic.

Yerba santa is sometimes applied directly to the skin in a warm dressing (poultice) to treat bruises, sprains, wounds, insect bites, and to relieve joint pain (rheumatism).

In foods and beverages, an extract of yerba santa is used as a flavoring.

In the manufacturing of medications, yerba santa is used to mask the bitter taste of certain drugs.

How does it work?

Yerba santa contains chemicals that are thought to loosen mucus in the chest and may increase urination.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Coughs.
  • Colds.
  • Fever.
  • Tuberculosis.
  • Asthma.
  • Chronic bronchitis.
  • Loosening mucus.
  • Spasms.
  • Use as a tonic.
  • Bruises, sprains, wounds, insect bites, or joint pain when put on the skin.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of yerba santa for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Yerba santa is LIKELY SAFE when eaten in amounts commonly found in food or when taken by mouth for medicinal reasons. However, the potential side effects are not known.

There is not enough information to know whether yerba santa is safe when put on the skin.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking yerba santa if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.


LithiumInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Yerba santa might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking yerba santa might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.


The appropriate dose of yerba santa depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for yerba santa. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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