The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

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Manzanita

Scientific Names

Manzanita - Arctostaphylos patula

  • Arctostaphylos patula L.
  • Arctostaphylos mewukka L.
  • Ericaceae
  • Heath family

Common Names

Arctostaphylos patula L.

  • Common manzanita
  • Green leaf manzanita

Arctostaphylos mewukka L.

  • Grey leaf manzanita
  • Indian manzanita

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Parts Usually Used

Fruits, leaves
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Manzanita - Arctostaphylos mewukka

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Both green leaf and grey leaf manzanita are large, distinctive, evergreen shrubs; large crooked-branched from 3 to 6 feet high with smooth, red wood which is frequently used for dry decorations. The leaves are approximately 2 inches long, oval shaped, and leathery. With drooping panicles of attractive, small, urn-shaped pink or white flowers, followed by round berries in shades of red or pink. Tolerates poor soil but must have good drainage. Do not tolerate lime in the soil but once established care is minimal and rarely needs watering in summer.

Another variety: Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi L.) or kinnikinnick as the Native Americans call it, is a third member of the heath family of manzanitas. It is a trailing evergreen that reaches a height of 6 inches and spreads to 15 feet or so. Reddish branches contrast with small bright-green leaves that turn bronze in the fall.
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Where Found

Grow wild from northern California to Alaska; native to the west and northwest; Arizona, New Mexico.
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Medicinal Properties

Fruits and leaves are astringent
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Legends, Myths and Stories

Manzanita has been used in Europe and America as early as the 13th century. Leaves are harvested in late summer. Native Americans used the plant for food, leaves were for smoking, berries were eaten raw or ground into a meal for porridge. Cider and jelly were made from the berries.

Used as a tobacco substitute or additive.
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Uses

A strong decoction of the leaves, applied warm externally, used to treat poison ivy and oak, rashes, and shingles. Berries and leaves are used to relieve bronchitis, kidney ailments, dropsy, and female disorders.
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Bibliography

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

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