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Yerba Santa: Spiritual Meaning, Uses & Benefits
Everything you need to know about the plant Yerba Santa.


Plant history

Yerba Santa is a plant that was historically used by Native Americans for a wide variety of ailments from bruises to muscle soreness and its effects on the respiratory system.

The plant's Spanish name (yerba means “herb” and santa means “sacred”) dates to the time of the Spanish missions, when this “holy herb” was an important part of the padres' herbal medicine repertoire.

Plant Identification

  • Origin: Southern Mexico, Central America, and the northern parts of South America.
  • Growth: The plant grows about 3-6 feet in height and displays lance shaped leaves that are 12-15 cm. in length.
  • Plant family: Boraginaceae
  • Scent: Aromatic, sweet.
  • Colour: The leaves are yellow-green and the flowers may vary in colour from white to pink to purple.
  • Harvesting: Harvest the vibrant, new-growth leaves from early to late summer. Cut the twig ends just above an outward-facing bud to encourage bushier growth. Lay the stems with attached leaves flat to dry. Turn them regularly so the leaves don’t stick together and turn brown.
  • Endangered: Not endangered.



Yerba Santa gives off a pleasant and uplifting scent. These herb sticks are used in traditional smudging practice for protection, purification, healing, spiritual strength, courage, psychic abilities, and finding your innermost self.

It is traditionally used for protection and setting boundaries. Yerba Santa has also been used for love, purification, growth, empowerment and beauty, and the release of emotional pain stored in the heart chakra.

You can also burn Yerba Santa to nurture and protect that which is ancient, sacred and wild within yourself. Use it when you need encouragement or courage. Set boundaries by working with this sacred plant.

  • Yerba santa is connected to the element of Water
  • Associated with the zodiac sign Sagittarius 


Yerba Santa has many wonderful attributes for medicinal purposes. 

The leaf is used to make medicine. Yerba Santa is used for respiratory conditions including coughs, colds, tuberculosis, asthma, mucus and chronic bronchitis. It is also used for fever and dry mouth. Can also be used to relieve muscle spasms, to loosen phlegm, and as a tonic. It is an excellent plant to use for bruises, wounds, insect bites and joint pain; best in an oil or cream formation. 

You can chew on Yerba Santa leaves to promote saliva production; it helps clear congestion within this area to release allergies, it can also clear dry mouth. Yerba Santa is useful for soothing chronic gastritis and irritation; it will also promote salivation and stimulate to the digestive system.

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