Yerba mansa ... ?growing

vieja_gw(z7NM)April 12, 2013

On a recent trip we found some yerba mansa growing along a dirt road. Daughter-in-law's family has used this herb for years! I read it now is being destroyed in its dwidling small areas by road building, home building; etc. so we carefully dug some of it & transplanted a bit of it back home in our yards to keep it growing & to give away to spread it. I love having it now & hope it spreads in my herb garden. Unfortunately when used, the root is usually dug & used so that will destroy part of the herb area in the wild. Anyone have any experience in growing/using this herb? Any special requirements? Sad to see its numbers depleted by encrouching building/civilization!

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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

I haven't had experience with Yerba Mansa, but I am familiar with medicinal root crops.. If you are using the roots solely for yourself and family, you probably only need a trivial amount.. I know where you are coming from about commercial harvesting, depleting the ecosystem,etc.. But if you just want to use it for yourself, cut off a small piece of root, it will probably regrow quicker than you could use it.. That's what I do with the root crops here..

As far as propagation:

I appreciate your concern for the environment etc; you remind me a lot like myself. Matter of fact, i just potted up some wild strawberries.. Collect the seed, and spread it... You could also take cuttings, and plant the.. If that doesn't work, check out air layering. You could probably cut some root and plant that and it'll grow and spread.. Be careful about the laws,etc..


    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 5:30PM
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I've made an alcohol extract of it and use it on occasion along with other herbs. I live in Arizona and supposedly it grows in marshy areas of this country. But I haven't actually seen it growing.

In clinical use, I found it a bit less effective than Osha. Also, I'll add a bit of myrrh extract for a little extra kick especially for sinus infections. It's a good herb to have on hand, though. (I assume you meant to use it for sinus infections?)

So, a good recipe would be: 2 parts osha, 1 part myrrh and 1-2 parts yerba mansa. I want to add one precaution: Use the above recipe for painful sinusitis, but only when there's no fever. If there's fever, you don't want to rely solely on this recipe.


This post was edited by HerbDoctor on Fri, Apr 12, 13 at 22:57

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 7:03PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

"In clinical use, I found it a bit less effective than Osha. "

You always mention you work with 600 or so herbs,etc... What exactly do you do? Where do you obtain your herbs?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 7:49PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)


What should one do if they have a fever?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 11:02PM
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imitate natural growing conditions best you can for happy results. its a desert plant that likes some moisture. i saw it used as a ground cover in the high desert area of california, it was gorgeous! a friend living at 11,000' here in colorado grows it in her greenhouse year round.

like osha yerba mansa is used for respiratory issues but also has anti microbial properties (osha isn't known for this) that make it useful for many other things as well.

i personally won't use at-risk plants, meaning ones that are under tremendous pressure globally due to increased demand. myrrh is an at risk plant so i usually sub organically cultivated goldenseal, both are cold, bitter and have an affinity for mucus membranes. its a reasonable fit.

good question, i too am very curious to learn how 'herb doctor' treats fever.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 12:09PM
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This will sound like cop-out, but I can't tell you on a forum what I'd do for a fever. I mean I WON'T tell you how to treat a fever. If an illness gets to the point of a fever, you're playing with fire if you don't have enough experience in such matters. If a person has a fever, it's best to consult a professional near you.

I hope you understand why I won't share such information. I'd feel irresponsible to do otherwise. Sorry.

Perhaps I can add a little information for you to build on in the future. All ACUTE (for instance) disease starts with a restriction of healthy blood flow to the tissue. Initially, there can be a number of reasons for this restrictions (i.e. trauma, exposure to elements, poor diet, etc.) Regardless, if this restriction of healthy blood flow takes place, you'll first have inflammation and pain of the tissue which is the beginning of the decaying/putrefying process. If you're called on the scene to restore circulation in the early stages of blood-flow restriction, you'll use certain herbs. These herbs will be chosen on the degree of problem and even the constitution of the individual. Herbs can cleanse these restrictions, restore circulation and health to the tissue. At that point the symptoms of pain and inflammation will have disappeared.

IF the early stages are not dealt with early, with more time the body will begin to recognize the severity and degree of the problem and will heat up with a fever IN ORDER TO DISSOLVE THE BLOOD-FLOW RESTRICTION THROUGH THE USE OF INFUSION (HEAT). With a body's fever, it's attempting to restore healthy circulation of blood by dissolving waste build-up with the ultimate goal of restoration of healthy tissue.

By the time the body heats up, the herbs that may have been used at the early stages of pain and inflammation may not be adequate to remedy the problem. Here's where experience comes into play. Under which circumstance does one switch to other herbs in order to assist the body in restoring healthy circulation to the tissue thereby relieving all symptoms including the fever?

Sorry for the lengthy explanation, but this is the basis for effectively treating an acute illness. And I've found, after 40 years, that the Chinese system of herbalism is the most functional and workable system for integrating the science of herbs with the science of physiology.

One final thing . . . Not only are there herbs for various degrees of the problem, there are also herbs that have an affinity for a certain body part or tissue. For instance, you wouldn't give myrrh for a bladder infection. Even though myrrh is good for an infection, it doesn't have the affinity for the lower regions of the bladder/kidneys.

Sorry if I got too wordy. Hope I made things clear.

If you have any comments, raise your hand.


This post was edited by HerbDoctor on Sat, Apr 13, 13 at 15:31

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 2:59PM
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oh for pete's sake!

not touching that with a ten foot pole....

: )

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 8:51PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Kaliaman, I agree. I don't use at-risk plants. And no offense to anyone, but I often question those who do when there are so many other great alternatives. The book Planting the Future: Saving Our Medicinal Herbs ed. by Rosemary Gladstar is an excellent book for those wishing to learn about the herbs on the UPS's at-risk list and alternatives for those herbs on the list. Both osha and yerba mansa have chapters in the book. From the book...

Osha alternatives: thyme, elecampane, marsh mallow, lovage, angelica, and rosemary. (All but rosemary are in my gardens and are very easy to grow.)

Possible yerba mansa alternatives: tormentil (Potentilla tormentilla) and self-heal (Prunella vulgaris). Who doesn't have self-heal growing in their untreated lawns? ;)

The OP may wish to check out the chapter on Yerba Mansa which includes cultivation and harvesting info.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 8:30PM
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Yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica) is becoming rarer because of loss of wetlands in the southwestern states in which it is native, so unless you know specifically that a particular habitat is about to be developed, best to obtain the plant only from a nursery that grows its own stock (and does not collect from the wild (another reason this makes sense is that wild-harvested wildflowers and plants often do poorly in gardens because they were carelessly collected or because the soil in their new locales lacks essential microorganisms)).

It's good to see posters aware of this problem and concerned enough to want to harvest affected plants responsibly. Goldenseal for instance is listed as endangered or threatened in twelve eastern and midwestern states, having been overharvested for years for sale in over-the-counter cold remedies (doubly misguided, because its effectiveness in those remedies is questionable).

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 8:32PM
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Looking over your selection of osha and yerba mansa alternatives . . . none of them are anywhere close to being a good alternative. For instance, elecampane is mostly for the lower respiratory conditions, not sinusitis. Marshmallow is a demulcent and emollient - hardly something you'd rely on for a sinus infection. Those herbs listed are so unrelated as to their classification, I can't understand why this author would put them as alternatives.

Sometimes you'll find that just because someone wrote a book, it doesn't mean they have authority using those herbs.

Another one that caught my attention: Tormentil root to replace yerba mansa? If you try that, you'll find that tormentilla is such a strong astringent, you'll probably get a little constipated, but you'll hardly get rid of a sinus infection.

Don't mean to rain on your parade, but there's lots of misleading information put out by people who are more skilled at marketing than actual clinical practice.

Contrary to popular belief, myrrh is not an at-risk herb. Mine comes from the middle east and is in great abundance. In fact, you can tell by the "supply and demand" principles that it's not at risk when you consider that I can get it from my Chinese supplier in San Francisco for $1.99 per pound. There's a plethora of myrrh. Could it be that there are unscrupulous business people who try to create a shortage of an herb in order to raise the prices?


This post was edited by HerbDoctor on Sun, Apr 14, 13 at 22:05

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 8:46PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

The alternative herb suggestions were from the book - agree with them or not as you choose, but it is "no rain on my parade." There are many herbs that can be used for any given specific purpose or action. There is no just one herb can be used. Mother Nature has given us many choices so there is absolutely no reason to continue to use and advocate the use of at-risk medicinal plants. To do so is irresponsible and short-sighted.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 8:21AM
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But neither yerba mansa nor osha is at risk. Someone is pulling peoples' leg. Creating an artificial shortage is one of the oldest tricks in the book used to jack the prices up.

I think that book being quoted is another misleading piece of literature. There's nothing further from the truth about those other herbs being a substitute. Their classifications aren't even remotely similar.


This post was edited by HerbDoctor on Mon, Apr 15, 13 at 10:49

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 10:28AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

See link....


Here is a link that might be useful: UPS At-Risk Medicinal Plants

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 4:30PM
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I can see by that sight and by the species they've listed that they are not the final say in what's at risk and what's not. I would agree that many are at-risk in the wild, but there are so many good sources for the commercial purchase. Many of the sources have wild-crafted sources which makes me wonder how they came up with that list. It's not quite accurate. Just their opinion.

Here's some sources some may find helpful:
ginseng - Hsu's ginseng in Wisconsin
Pacific Botanicals
Frontier Co-op
I've had trouble with other company's quality control, so I don't recommend Starwest, etc.

Just another thought . . . it was earlier mentioned that a person wouldn't use an "at risk" herb, otherwise it's irresponsible of that person to do otherwise. I have my favorite tools (herbs) to use under different situations. So, it's better to buy from reputable suppliers are professionally trained and have their fingers on the pulse of the industry to make available sustainable products. Those companies above are quite responsible. I rely on their expertise. As a result, I may have to pay a premium price for an "at risk" herb, but it's a reasonable and fair choice without endangering an particular species of plant.

Thanks for listening.


This post was edited by HerbDoctor on Mon, Apr 15, 13 at 21:11

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 6:24PM
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Thanks to FataMorgana for posting that link to the list of endangered and "to watch" medicinal plants.

Groups like United Plant Savers are performing a valuable function in promoting awareness of this issue, so we can preserve wild populations for future use.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 9:06PM
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jll0306(9/ Sunset 18/High Desert)

Thank you all for your are educating me

I saw a bundle of mint labeled 'yerba mansa' in the fresh herbs section of a Food 4 Less grocery store yesterday. I don't know if it was wild crafted, but since this is a chain store, I presume the supplier must have access to a large stock of it. Perhaps I should pick some up and root it. (Edited to add: now that I've looked at pictures of yerba mansa, I can tell that what I saw yesterday was either mislabeld...or, most likely, MISremembered. It was clearly a mint, and nothing at all like yerba mansa.)

A side note on fever: I take aspirin, drink a cup of sage tea, soak in a sage infused bath and roll up in blankets to help sweat it out.


This post was edited by jll0306 on Tue, Apr 16, 13 at 15:05

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 10:31AM
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Your fever treatment is a good one to release the exterior when needed. To those reading this, a word of caution . . . this will work IF that action is called for. (Personally, I prefer using different herbs to break a fever.) However, by mixing sage and aspirin one cannot be sure what's working, the sage or the aspirin. It's what we call the "shot gun approach". Sometimes, though, specific location and degree of febrile infection must be determined and the appropriate herb given as well as the fever treatment. For example, if you had pneumonia, you would want to also use a garlic remedy for a couple days. Not too much garlic or you'll go into a yin deficiency stage which means garlic would be too drying after a couple days of doing its job. After about two days and after the fever stage, it's good to stop the garlic and follow-up with slippery elm bark powder. That will then moisten the mucous membranes and prevent those evening, dry, hacking coughs that sometimes follow with overuse of garlic. Sometimes a cold maceration of marshmallow root can be incorporated with the slippery elm bark. And finally, you always want to make sure the bowels usually move well without constipation. (If not, I give an extract of cascara sagrada for short-term use until the person is well. If constipation exists only while they're sick, it's not critical to deal with it because it wouldn't necessarily be a case of qi stagnation of the liver's bile flow, but more a drying of the mucous membranes in the colon from the fever. In the case of dryness, the marshmallow and slippery elm bark would take care of the dryness in the colon, too.)

The above example could actually be applied to any acute, lower respiratory infection.

Word of caution: Helping someone with a fever/infection is an art. Every situation is different. It's good to know your herbs and how they react in the body. Then you'll know which tool to use at the proper time.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 12:26PM
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yerba mansa grows really well in the splash zone of a pond or fountain ... it likes wet roots.

Establish several clumps and harvest them in rotation - 100% harvest and replant.

OR harvest a set amount from each clump - one suggested routine is to harvest 1/4 or 1/3 of a clump, like cutting out a chunk of pie. The next year, take the next chunk.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 3:18PM
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lazygardens: Thanks! I just wanted to keep this herb going & in my garden/yard. I put one clump on the north side of a block wall with some of my other culinary herbs & another clump in the main garden out in the direct sun. Will see which area it grows best! I didn't realize how big & fibrous that root is!! Many locals here swear by the use of the herb! I'm not much into any but the culinary use but am interested in the other kinds... esp. maintaining ones that are becoming more scarce. My son & wife can smell the herb in an area before they find the plant but even with it in my hands, I can't smell it at all!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 5:57PM
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