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An Herbal Fungal Remedy.

Updated on July 31, 2014


Yerba Mansa's Latin name is Anemopsis californica. Other names it is known by include bear root and lizard tail. The flowers consist of a show of white petals, in a conical cluster (Wikipedia, Anemopsis). The Yerba Mansa plant has been used successfully as a ground cover. The plant grows like a vine, providing a low cover of gray-green leaves. The roots do resemble bear claws, thick and with fingers reaching out in search of water.

Anemopsis californica 

Anemopsis californica in Calico Basin west of Las Vegas, Nevada, taken May 2005
Anemopsis californica in Calico Basin west of Las Vegas, Nevada, taken May 2005 | Source


The most common places to find Yerba Mansa is along rivers and marshlands. Should you decide to grow this plant in your garden, remember it requires very wet soil. It loves the water and does well along ponds and riparian landscapes. Keeping the area around your designated placement of the Yerba Mansa dry will keep it from spreading further.

Yerba Mansa

A Garden Pond
A Garden Pond | Source
The conical blooms of the Yerba Mansa
The conical blooms of the Yerba Mansa | Source

Common Medicinal Uses

  • Decoction of Roots used for the common cold
  • Powdered Root used for athletes foot
  • Root Tea used as a douche for uterine cancer and to stop bleeding after childbirth
  • Leaves made into a poultice for insect bites and skin irritations

Medicinal Uses

The Native Americans of the Southwest have used the Yerba Mansa for a variety of illnesses and skin problems. Decoctions, infusions, poultices, and tea are made from the roots and the leaves. The roots are used far more often than the leaves.

The leaves and roots have been used medicinally. The leaves have been used as a poultice for insect bites, open wounds, and other skin irritations. The leave can be mushed and mixed with water to make a smooth poultice and applied to sore muscles (

The roots' primary component is methyleugenol, considered an antispasmodic. It is suggested as a replacement for golden seal which is now becoming extinct due to over-harvesting (Andrea Medina). The root has been used as a calming agent, though there appears to be no scientific evidence to support this. The Native American tribes in California, Arizona and New Mexico have used Yerba Mansa to treat sore throats, and other similar inflammatory conditions (Andrea Medina).

The root is used as a tincture, infusion or a tea. Infusions are used to treat inflammatory conditions like gout, as a diuretic, and works by reducing the uric acid known to cause inflammation and pain. Tinctures are traditionally used externally to treat skin irritations. A tea of the root may be used as a douche to treat venereal sores and to stop excess bleeding after childbirth (Andrea Medina). To treat athletes foot, powder the root and sprinkle on the infected area or create a tincture with white vinegar to soak the foot. The information provided by the USDA Plant Database includes the bark boiled and used as a wash for open sores by the Cahuilla. The most common use of the roots as a decoction for colds and to calm coughs. (USDA Plant Guide)


As with all herbal remedies, women who are pregnant or nursing should not use Yerba Mansa internally without consulting with their doctor. Do not use on children unless advised by a naturopath or other medical professional. If you are known to have allergic reactions to herbs, avoid its use. When using the powder form, do not inhale.

If allergic reaction occur, discontinue use immediately and seek medical attention if required.

The information contained in this article is not intended for diagnosis, treatment, or to replace medical advice. This article is provided as educational and informative. It is your responsibility to conduct further research. Always talk with a medical professional about your conditions and possible treatment options.

Further Reading

For more information about the Yerba Mansa and how to grow your own herbs, the following links have been provided.

USDA Plant Database (pdf)

Yerba Mansa: The Medicinal Plant of the Past, Present and Future

Wikipedia: Anemopsis

Medicinal Plants of the Southwest: Anemopsis californica

Las Pilitas Nursery Yerba Mansa plant information and purchase opportunity


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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Always enjoy learning about the medicinal applications of plants.

      Great hub.