Botanical Name: Arctostaphylos patula or Arctostaphylos mewukka.

This beautiful California native shrub/tree with reddish bark is a wonderful edible and medicinal herb. Used externally in formulas to treat poison oak, rashes, and bug bites.

Below is an overview of manzanita, combining and interpreting the best of Western science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), shamanism, folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of manzanita.

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Western Name: Manzanita

Also Known As: Mountain Driftwood

Organs/Systems: Stomach, Bladder, Uterus, Skin

Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Antimicrobial, Anti-inflammatory, Genitourinary Remedy, poison oak, kidney ailments, urinary tract infections (UTI’s), headaches, prostate infections, cramps.


Pin Yin: Not traditionally used in TCM.

Also Known As: N/A

Meridians: Lung, Kidney, Bladder, Chong and Ren

Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Clear Heat, Reduce Inflammation, Clear Toxins: stomach, urinary tract infections (UTI’s), skin disorders. Tonify Urogenital Organs: urinary tract infections (UTI’s), uterine cramping. Stimulate Uterus: promote contractions and enhance labor.

Basic Habitat/Botany:

In the Heath family (Ericaceae). They are evergreen shrubs or small trees present in the chaparral biome of western North America. 106 species total; 95 are found in colder mountainous regions of California. They are evergreen and highly drought-tolerant.

Parts Most Frequently Used: Berries are edible, Leaves (both green and grey varietals), Bark

Flavors: Astringent, Cold, Dry

Caution: Pregnancy and overuse can cause stomach upset, due to high tannin levels.

History/Folklore: Name comes from the Spanish for “little apple.” Used as early as the 13th century by Native Americans for food and smoking. The bark is very difficult to cure, so it is seldom used as timber. Some furniture will use whole branches to prevent cracking and preserve deep red color. The dead wood decays slowly and can last for many years, both on and off the plant. Branches are often used as perches for pet parrots and other large birds. Unlike other woods, manzanita wood does not leach out tannins in water, which makes it an excellent decorative wood for aquariums. Although it is an excellent wood to burn since it retains heat for long periods, it can crack stoves and thin-walled barbecues.

Key Constituents:


Did you know?

Mountain Driftwood

Called Mountain Driftwood due to grey color of wood/bark as it ages.  Decay resistant; ages very slowly.



Bearberry (Uva-ursi, Arctostaphylus uva-ursi) is a third member of the heath family of Manzanita, is also good for urinary tract infections (UTI’s) and uterine cramping. See Bearberry.

Fun fact!

Manzanita Dye

Yellowish-brown dye is obtained from leaves; it does not require a mordant.


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ATTENTION: All material provided on this website is for informational or educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of your healthcare professional or physician. Redistribution permitted with attribution. Be Healthy. Be Happy. Be Whole. Be Free.

ATENCIÓN: Todo el material proporcionado en este sitio web es sólo con fines informativos o educativos. No es sustituto del consejo de su profesional de la salud o médico. Esté sano. Sea feliz. Siéntase completo. Sea libre.

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