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Yerba Buena Family: Labiatae/Lamiaceae (Mint) Latin Name


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Yerba Buena

Family: Labiatae/Lamiaceae (Mint)
Latin Name: Satureja douglasii (BENTH.) BRIQ.

(Also Known As): Satureia douglasii

Micromeria chamissonis

M. douglasii

(1:278).

Mentha spicata (2:34). Mistakenly called. See Appendix A.
Common Names: Yerba Buena is the only name I found Satureja douglasii correctly called by. There were two references where Yerba Beuna was used incorrectly to refer to Spearmint. The first was (2:34) cited above. The other reference uses Yerba Buena and the correct Latin name, but also erroneously says the plant is Spearmint (3:6) See Appendix B.
Native American Names: Luiseno: huvamel (3:6)
Related Species: S. hortensis L.

S. montana

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Botanical Description: (1:279) and (4:245) See illustration.

Habit: Trailing, evergreen perennial herb with thin, wiry 4-sided stems.

Size: This plant is short, perhaps 6 inches tall, but can form very large intertwining patches with stems that root in many places wherever they contact the ground.

Branching: Stems run laterally along the ground, sending up many 6 inch tall leafy flowering

branches every few inches along their length.



Leaves: Strongly and distinctly scented, the ovate to round, cordate-based, bluntly toothed 1/2 to

3/4 inch-long leaves with sunken, resin-filled dots on the surface stand out at right angles on short

petioles from the branches in a decussate pattern (opposite pairs with each pair at right angles to

the pairs above and below it) along the upright branches.



Flowers: One-half inch long white, sometimes purple-tinged, solitary flowers emerge at 45 degree

angles to the branches on petioles as long or longer than themselves. They have the classic mint

shape: tubular corolla with petals fused into three upper lobes and two lower lobes.There are 4

stamens and a single pistil.



Fruit: 4 nutlets
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Ecology:

Habitat: Open well-drained, coniferous forest, rocky thickets. Often associated with Garry oak

and arbutus at low to middle elevations. (1:279-280)


Range: Found along the Pacific Coast from the Santa Monica Mountains of California up to

Southwestern British Columbia; along the western sides of the Cascades; into northern Idaho.

(4:245)
Native Where: Same as range. See map.
Places/Dates Observed/Description: Red Square Native Plant Garden. The Evergreen State College, Olympia Wa. Oct-Dec 2000.

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Indigenous and Non-Western Use/Significance/Relationships:

(5:Database) and (6:Database). See Appendix C.



Food: Has been used as a tea/drink by the Diegueno, Luiseno, Mendicino, Pomo, Saanich, Salish

and Tolowa indigenous groups



Materials/Technology: No information found.

Medicine:

Indigenous Group: Has been used by the Cahuilla, Kashaya, Luiseno and Pomo indigenous peoples.

Part Used: Stems and leaves

Medicinal Actions: Cold Remedy

Indications: Cough, runny nose, headache, fever.

Body System Associations: Lungs, throat, nose and head.

Energetics:

Harvest: Gather and dry stems and leaves.

Storage: Can be stored for a year.

Preparation: Decoction of plant parts.

Pharmacy: Drink decoction.

Cautions: None.
****

Indigenous Group: Has been used by the Cahuilla and Luiseno indigenous peoples.

Part Used: Stems and leaves.

Medicinal Actions: Febrifuge.

Indications: Fever

Body System Associations: Whole body.

Energetics:

Harvest: Gather and dry stems and leaves.

Storage: Can be stored for a year.

Preparation: Decoction of stems and leaves.

Pharmacy: Drink decoction.

Cautions: None.
***

Indigenous Group: Has been used by the Kashaya, Mendocino, Pomo, Saanich, Salish and Yurok indigenous peoples.

Part Used: Stems and leaves

Medicinal Actions: Blood Medicine.

Indications: Blood needs purifying.

Body System Associations: Blood.

Energetics:

Harvest: Gather and dry stems and leaves.

Storage: Can be stored for a year.

Preparation: Infusion or decoction of stems and leaves.

Pharmacy: Drink decoction or infusion.

Cautions: None.
****

Indigenous Group: Has been used by the Kashaya, Mendocino and Pomo indigenous peoples.

Part Used: Stems and leaves.

Medicinal Actions: Gastro-intestinal aid.

Indications: Colic, upset stomach.

Body System Associations: Stomach.

Energetics:

Harvest: Gather ansd dry the stems and leaves.

Storage: Can be stored for a year.

Preparation: Decoction or infusion.

Pharmacy: Drink the decoction or infusion.

Cautions: None
****

Indigenous Group: Has been used by the Kashaya, Mahuna and Pomo indigenous peoples.

Part Used: Stems and leaves.

Medicinal Actions: Sedative.

Indications: Insomnia.

Body System Associations: Central nervous system.

Energetics:

Harvest: Gather and dry the stems and leaves.

Storage: Can be stored for up to a year.

Preparation: Infusion or decoction.

Pharmacy: Drink the infusion or decoction.

Cautions: None.
****

Indigenous Group: Has been used by the Costanoan indigenous peoples.

Part Used: Stems and leaves.

Medicinal Actions: Anthelmintic

Indications: Pinworms

Body System Associations: Intestines.

Energetics:

Harvest: Gather and dry the stems and leaves.

Storage: Can be stored for up to one year.

Preparation: Decoction.

Pharmacy: Drink the decoction.

Cautions: None
****

Indigenous Group: Has been used by the Costanoan and Ohlone (7: 6) indigenous peoples.

Part Used: Fresh leaves or plant.

Medicinal Actions: Toothache Remedy.

Indications: Toothache.

Body System Associations: Teeth/mouth

Energetics:

Harvest: Gather leaves or plant.

Storage: N/A

Preparation: Poultice or whole plant.

Pharmacy: Poultice of warm leaves held to jaw or plant held in mouth.

Cautions: None.

****

Indigenous Group: Has been used by the Karok indigenous peoples.

Part Used: Leaves.

Medicinal Actions: Kidney aid.

Indications: Trouble with kidneys.

Body System Associations: Kidneys.

Energetics:

Harvest: Gather and dry the leaves.

Storage: Can be stored for up to one year.

Preparation: Infusion.

Pharmacy: Drink the infusion.

Cautions: None.
****

Indigenous Group: Has been used by the Karok indigenous peoples.

Part Used: Leaves.

Medicinal Actions: Love medicine, aphrodisiac.

Indications: Willing but unable to acheive sexual arousal to desired degree.

Body System Associations: Reproductive system.

Energetics:

Harvest: Gather and dry leaves.

Storage: Can be stored for up to one year.

Preparation: Infusion.

Pharmacy: Drink infusion.

Cautions: None.
****

Indigenous Group: Has been used by the Chumash indigenous peoples (8:10).

Part Used: Leafy vines.

Medicinal Actions: Emmenogogue.

Indications: Insufficient or delayed menstrual flow.

Body System Associations: Female reproductive organs.

Energetics:

Harvest: Gather (and dry?) the leafy vines.

Storage: Can be stored for up to one year.

Preparation: Boil the leafy vines in water.

Pharmacy: Drink the water.

Cautions: None.

****
Other: Has been used as a deodorant, fragrance and incense by the Karok and Salish indigenous groups. (6:Database). It has also been crushed and rubbed on the body to disguise the human scent when hunting for deer (group not specified) (4:245).
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Western (European-American) Uses/Relationships:

Food: Used as a tea or to mask unpleasant taste of other medicinal infusions or decoctions.

Materials/Technology: N/A

Medicine:

Part Used: Leaves and flowers. Stems are less aromatic and tend to be bitter (1:280)

Medicinal Actions: Diaphoretic: skin wash for rashes and prickly heat (1:280).

Indications: Mild fever: rash (1:280).

Body System Associations:

Constituents: (5:Database). See Appendix D (9:Database).

1,8-CINEOL (ILLUSTRATION)

ALPHA-PINENE (ILLUSTRATION)

ALPHA-TERPINENE (ILLUSTRATION)

ALPHA-TERPINEOL (ILLUSTRATION)

BETA-BOURBONENE

BETA-PINENE (ILLUSTRATION)

BICYCLOGERMACRENE

BORNEOL (ILLUSTRATION)

CAMPHENE (ILLUSTRATION)

CAMPHOR (ILLUSTRATION)

CARVONE (ILLUSTRATION)

CARYOPHYLLENE (ILLUSTRATION)

CIS-OCIMENE

DELTA-CADINENE

GAMMA-TERPINENE (ILLUSTRATION)

GERMACRENE

ISOMENTHONE (ILLUSTRATION)

LIMONENE (ILLUSTRATION)

LINALOOL (ILLUSTRATION)

MENTHONE (ILLUSTRATION)

METHYL-CARVACROL

MYRCENE (ILLUSTRATION)

P-CYMENE (ILLUSTRATION)

PIPERITENONE (ILLUSTRATION)

PIPERITONE

PULEGONE (ILLUSTRATION)

SABINENE (ILLUSTRATION)

TERPINEN-4-OL (ILLUSTRATION)

TERPINOLENE (ILLUSTRATION)

THYMOL (ILLUSTRATION)

TRANS-OCIMENE



Harvest: Gather the runners from April through August (September on the coast) and dry them. After drying, the leaves and the flowers can be stripped from the stems and used.

Storage: Can be stored for up to a year (1:280).

Preparation: Put a few leaves in a cup, pour boiling water over the leaves and let steep for 10 minutes (1:280).

Pharmacy: Drink the infusion for fever or apply the wash to skin rash. (1:280).

Other:

Cautions: Buena Yerba often grows in association with poison oak. Be certain that your supply has not come in contact with this possible neighbor as the oil from the poison oak can contaminate your future tea (1:280).
Essential Oil Information: Not found. There was information on S. hortensis L. and S. montana L.

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Ecological Relationships: Frequently found with Garry Oak, arbutus (4:245), and poison ivy (1:280).

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Other Notes of Interest: Spanish priests gave the plant its name. San Francisco was named Yerba Buena until 1847 (4:245).

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Harvest:

Plant Part: Leaves and flowers.

Season of Harvest: April through August.

Method of Harvest: Longer runners without many rooting sections are preferrable.

Ecological Considerations of Harvest: Only gather where the plant is locally abundant and

well-established. The plant is becoming harder to find in Southern California.



Cultural Considerations of Harvest: Do not gather on private property without permission or

from parks or nature preserves.



Cautions: Watch out for poison oak.
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Chemistry:

Constituent and/or functional groups present (with parts of plant & chemical drawings):

See Appendix D.

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Cautions: Buena Yerba often grows in association with poison oak. Be certain that your supply has not come in contact with this possible neighbor as the oil from the poison oak can contaminate your future tea (1:280).

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References Cited:
1. Moore, Michael. 1993 Medicinal Plants of the Pacific Northwest. Santa fe, New Mexico: Red Crane Books.


  1. Author Unknown. " A Mexican Healing Garden". The Herb Quarterly; 09/30/1999; No. 83; p.33-34. Accession #: 0200HQSB-977-000043-(P=1-).

3. Crouthamel, Steven J. "Luiseno Ethnobotany" Online http://daphne.palomar.edu/scrout/luisnob.htm

This is an excellent website for American Indian Studies information.


  1. Pojar, Jim and MacKinnon, Andy. 1994 Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Lone Pine Publishing, Redmond, WA, USA.

5. Duke, James. 1995. Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Online at http://www.ars-grin.gov/duke.




  1. Moerman, Dan. Native American Ethnobotany Database. Online at http://www.umd.umich.edu/cgi- bin/herb .

7. Smith, Chuck. "Ohlone Medicine" Online at http://www.cabrillo.cc.ca.us/~crsmith/OhloneMed.html.




  1. Author unknown. "Medical Ethnobotany: Girl's Puberty Ceremonies & Menstuation" Online at http://www.cabrillo.cc.ca.us/divisio...ocsci/anthro/index/menstruation.html .




  1. Author Unknown. The information presented in the chemical constituents illustrations was cobbled together from several areas of the Chemfinder Website. Online at http://www.chemfinder.com .



References Consulted but no information on Satureja douglasii found.


  1. Gunther, Erma. 1977. Ethnobotany of Western Washington. Seattle, Wa.:University of Washington Press. ISBN 0-295-95258-x (paper)




  1. Lawless, Julia. 1995. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils. Rockport, MA.: Element Books. ISBN 1-85230-721-8 paperback. Did have information on S. hortensis and S. montana.




  1. Li, Thomas S.C. 2000. Medicinal Plants - Culture, Utilization and Phytopharmacology. Lancaster, PA.: Technomic Publishing Company, Inc. ISBN 1-56676-903-5. Did have information on S. hortensis and S. Montana.




  1. Mabey, Richard. 1988. The New Age Herbalist New York, NY.: Gaia (Collier). ISBN 0-931432-82-0 (pbk.).




  1. Ody, Penelope. 1993. The Complete Medicinal Herbal. New York, NY.: Dorling Kindersley, Inc. ISBN 1-56458-187-x




  1. Schauenberg, Paul and Paris, Ferdinand. 1990 (Reprint of 1977). Guide to Medicinal Plants. New Canaan, CT.: Keats Publishing, Inc. ISBN 0-87983-489-7 (pbk.).




  1. Schofield, Janice P. 1989. Discovering Wild Plants. Bothell, WA.: Alaska Northwest Books. ISBN 0-88240-369-9 Paper.




  1. Warwood, Valerie Ann. 1991. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. San Raphael, CA.: New World Library. ISBN 0-931432-82-0.

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Ron Bell

Cultural Ecosystems



Fall 2000


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