One year after the devastating fires, we gathered with the Latine community at La Luz Center in Sonoma to nourish our lungs and heal from grief. We circled up in the kitchen, to share evacuation testimonies still alive with trauma and to prepare a batch of fresh Yerba Santa syrup.
Yerba Santa, a shrub native to California grasslands (especially those touched by wildfire, as its seeds germinate with heat), supports lung health by toning respiratory tissue. It’s sticky leaves are full of volatile oils that act as a powerful expectorant, helping to balance and soothe wet lung conditions. Yerba Santa is traditionally used as a sacred herb to free the breath and release deep sadness.
Lu Lu shared that she harvests fresh Yerba Santa and packs it in warm compresses for a wet cough. Others agreed that it makes an excellent addition to broths.
We mixed the Yerba Santa, with elderberry, rose hips, and thyme over low heat and the crowded kitchen filled with its warm, spicy scent. Stirring in local, raw honey, we passed around the finished syrup for all to try. Yerba Santa STRONG! An immunity syrup made in community that empowers our resilience and recovery!
Our growing group is making plans to visit eachothers gardens, share medicinal plant seeds, and prepare more community medicine.