Yerba Santa, Reveal Date: 4/22

Article published at: Apr 16, 2024 Article author: Lily Michaud
Yerba Santa, Reveal Date: 4/22
All Brown Bear Herbs Herbalism & Tactics for Thriving Together Article comments count: 0

Trigger Warning: This post discusses violence including Intimate Partner Violence (Domestic Violence), and harm to children. 


Yerba Santa, areas for further investigation:

Physically: Yerba Santa for vein health.

Emotionally: Recovering from miscarriage. Recovery from abuse by people who use drugs and alcohol, and/or are violent. Yerba santa for greater resilience and allyship. 

This week we meditated on Yerba Santa, Eriodictyon californicum, an herb of traditional Western herbalism. This plant is native to parts of California, Oregon, and Northern Mexico. Prior to this plant meditation I already considered this herb to be one of the most powerful herbs for psychological issues, particularly in use with alcoholism and substance use disorders. I now feel it may be the strongest herb I know for use with deep psychological issues, particularly related to addiction, whether through personal experience, or being close to addicts. I look forward to others meditating with the herb and sharing their experiences. 

yerba santa herb plant meditation club subject Brown Bear Herbs

Resinous and sweet. Sweeter on the second steep. Bitter then sweet and sweeter.**



My daughter recognizes this herb instantly, because of its distinctive sweet flavor. She starts being atypically goofy. She grabs her belly and starts making it "talk" like we used to do together when she was little.


Meditation 1:

Me: I see my lungs fill up with blue/green energy (the wood energy color in Chinese medicine). My lungs are full of vital energy. The energy rises to the top of my head and it shakes strongly as a reaction to the energy movement (feels like a typical kundalini response). The rest of the time I feel energy gently coursing/massaging upwards along the left side of my face. It is healing me where I need help.

My daughter: This is an extensive vision that she explained her higher self had very specific instructions for her to write down and draw out and they were not to be amended in any way. I have strict instructions to not alter or change anything by interpretation. (I wasn't planning on it.) So here you have a very helpful new insight into this herb's capacity to work in relation to the impacts of substance abuse and for healing from miscarriage. 

She was hearing the song "I Kill Children" by the Dead Kennedys. The intuition was to specifically draw out the illustrations below. 

Dead Kennedys I kill Children Yerba Santa meditation 
Pencil drawing of yerba santa information from Plant meditation club. It shows a mother and daughter being separated from the family and eventually individuating.


On the left there is one vein that eventually becomes two veins. She heard the blood pumping first and saw a straight line. This is a woman trying to have a baby. Where the vein curves out to the side, that is a pregnancy attempt. Eventually there is a successful pregnancy and childbirth, and one line becomes two. In the top center we see a mother and child (like us) they are separated from the rest of the family. In the frame below is a photo of the two of them, it is like a photograph of us we have taken in tall grass. Then it shows the two people in the photograph being separated. They are becoming individuals. It is unclear whether this is positive or negative. Then the image shifts to the "make way for pregnant people" sign from the city bus.

Meditation 2: 

Me: The energy is at my 6th and 7th chakras. I am having a deep meditation experience. I have a deep meditation but, I am not getting information that is more specific. I am a little distracted because there is a lot of fast pencil work happening, and usually this is silent meditation time. 

My daughter: "I have a side vision that Superman is talking to Lois Lane, saying, 'Are you getting this all down?' I have to make sure I do the drawing right so everything is recorded." Second drawing:

Yerba Santa, plant meditation club, drawing with information the plant is describing "God told me to skin you alive" lyric from Dead Kennedys, pencil drawing showing miscarriages due to alcohol, drugs, and violence and later the herb helping.

Again, in this vision, there is an arm with veins. There is the sound of blood pumping. The vein represents her life (the mother). The vein is straight. A second vein comes out from the first and comes back when there is a miscarriage. When another attempt happens the curving out of the vein below shatters like glass. Eventually there is a a child. After there was drinking there was a miscarriage. After there was drug use (represented by cigarettes) there was a miscarraige. After there was violence, she was punched in the stomach, there was a miscarriage. She wanted to kill herself or the baby, with a knife. She wanted to give up. She even believed that God did not want her to have a child. This herb helped with that. It proved God/the system wrong. She took some pills from the doctor to help her keep a pregnancy. She also took the tincture of this herb, not thinking it would help. It helped. Then she had the baby. 

"I believe this herb can help healing from miscarriages. You should take it to help heal from your miscarriages."'

2007 Plant Meditation with Yerba Santa:

In my early years of studying herbs through plant meditation with Scott Kloos this was one of the first ones I explored. From my old notes:

Physical Use (from meditation): for a very sweet woman, a mother (but not a specific mother). She introduced images of soot (where light is absorbed completely) in the Winter. Good for cold and darkness. 

Spiritual use (from meditation): To give a winter tree to the lady: "Ascension causes grounding to grow stronger and stronger." The energy pushes upwards and as it does it earths. Up and out through the crown, and then the energy comes down around the and into the earth. It is wider at the base than the top, like a tree or a mountain. The impulse is up, causing grounding. Rather than down, causing ascension.

Summary & Traditional Use:

This herb was traditionally a lung herb, helpful for grief, helpful for alcoholism, walled-off emotions, tuberculosis*. For "Obscure disease; brings the disease out of hiding and makes its nature more evident." (M Wood, Earthwise Herbal, New World, 147). In my previous plant meditation (from my younger days) it came through as evergreen (give the lady a winter tree). Because of this, I use it for the first cold type illness as the darkness comes (ie in the fall) it has been reliable. I also use it in the Social herbal smoking blend, for its way of addressing emotions that we deal with by using alcohol to avoid them. From Scott Kloos, this is "For people who have strength of character but problems that cancel it out". Such as when we know what is called for but cannot carry out the impulse. Often referred to as for the 'Fallen leader' or drunken leader. This person has all it takes to lead, give fabulous speeches, etc, but they will also be found drunk in their vomit. They may have forgotten their integrity. *It can help with TB, a condition where the body walls of the tissue that is infected by germs which makes it hard to treat with antibiotics, this herb helps approach difficult emotions and integrate them. Avoiding emotions is a common problem with drug and alcohol misuse.  

There were several mentions in meditations to the circulatory system, as well as affirmations and good feelings, and springy/wood season (in Chinese medicine) energy. The Amah Mutsun used this herb for purification of the blood (a common historical need in the Spring, due to months of eating meat and/or preserved food). This plant was adopted into the US Pharmacopoeia by the US medical establishment by the late 1800s. It was primarily used for lung conditions but also for as a last resort treatment for hemmorhoids (a vascular issue). The hot tea improves circulation to the extremities (School of Forest Medicine). This herb is used for inflammation and wasting.

Botanical Illustration of Yerba Santa (californicum) 1825 author Henry Kraemer, wikicommons

Matthew Wood writes this about this herb, “The sanctity of psychic space is the internal, property, which Yerba Santa guards” source.  

This seems related to the experiences illustrating miscarriages due to drug and alcohol use and violence. I did have several miscarriages (and a domestic violence situation with a person with alcoholism and substance use disorder). I notice that people who are surrounded by a certain condition may develop the energy patterns of the condition even if they don't have the problem. For example a bartender who doesn't drink or rarely drinks may have energetic symptoms similar to alcoholics, or a therapist dealing with abuse victims may develop some energy patterns of abusers, because their clients are often imprinted by energy patterns of abusers. In a different way, as a nurse I found those working with pediatric patients (even very sick ones) seemed much more youthful and to have more spirit than people working with adults with similar health problems. I believe that it is sometimes helpful to use treatments that would work for the person with the original problem on those associated with them. Because the collateral energy imbalances are not usually as deep, this often does not require an extensive connection with the herb or other tool for energetic shift/realignment. Because of this general observation and personal experiences it makes sense to me that this herb would help victims of abusers who have substance use disorders or alcoholism as well as the abuser. They both would likely be burying their emotions, one because they are overwhelmed and probably cannot process the intensity emotions while being abused/living in fear, and the other frequently using substances to check out of difficult emotions and bypass responsibility. 

Trauma leading to wisdom and appreciating the sweetness of life is a common thread. 


I tended to think of the extensive miscarriage information as being about addiction paired with violence and its impact on the environment the sensitive fetus must grow in. Overnight I had two dreams about about people I know and pregnancy. One with a woman who has experienced intimate partner violence, and another being someone who had had two children successfully and was trying for a third but also had a history of abuse and very limited ability to access emotions, especially empathy. While I still think it has a lot to do with repressed emotions, in my daughter's vision the woman did not appear to be thinking at all that the negative emotional evironment and abuse were impacting the pregnancies. I will try taking yerba santa and see if it shifts things around my miscarriages. I tend not to think about them because I was able to have a child, and so it seems like part of the past that was conquered. It was a long, difficult time to live through. Anyways, because of the dreams, I think the herb would be good to experiment with taking for anyone who has experienced a miscarriage (regardless of cause). Indeed if stress is repressed, the person may not be conscious of harm they are experiencing. *Abuse risk increases during pregnancy (read more here).* Another herb that people have reported being helpful after miscarriage is mistletoe.

**By the philosophy of the doctrine of signatures, by starting bitter and becoming sweeter this herb indicates the intelligence of being able to move from bitter times to sweet times, or joy and revitalization after hardship/trauma.


As always, please consult your healthcare provider before taking any herbs. Herbs consumed for the Plant Meditation Club are taken for experimental purposes only. Please join us in you are curious about learning directly from herbs (and sometimes gem essences). 

Join the conversation:
Have you worked with or experimented with yerba santa? What was the context of using it? What was your experience? Please share in the comments. 



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