Common Names: Narrow Leaved Yerba Santa
Synonyms: Eriodictyon angustifolium, Eriodictyon angustifolium var. amplifolium
Family: Boraginaceae (Borage/Forget-me-not)
Habit: perennial shrub, evergreen
Size: up to 6 feet
Bloom: May, Jun, Jul, Aug
Eriodictyon angustifolium is a medium-sized shrub, which produces freely branching stems that become woody with age; they are generally hairless, and somewhat sticky. The leathery leaves are quite distinctive; they are long and narrow, lower leaves lined by edge teeth, and are usually sticky on the upper surface. Flowers are a five-lobed calyx and a larger white, funnel-shaped corolla, densely short hairy on the outer surface.
Distribution: AZ, CA, NV, UT, Baja CA
Seen: NV (Red Rock Canyon)
Habitat: native to pinyon-juniper woodland habits of western North American deserts 4000-6000 feet
The name Yerba Santa, “Holy Herb or Sacred Herb” was given by the Spanish priests who learned of the medical value of the shrub from Native California tribes. The thick, sticky, lance-shaped leaves were chewed fresh for dry mouth – they start out bitter and slowly get sweeter. Dry or fresh leaves were also mashed into a poultice or used to brew a tea. Western physicians listed yerba santa as an official remedy for coughs, pneumonia, and bronchitis in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia, a standardized drug reference, in 1894. Eriodictyon angustifolium extract, but not Eriodictyon californicum extract, reduces human hair greying. Sterubin is the most abundant flavonoid in Eriodictyon angustifolium extract.