Botanical Name: Arctostaphylos patula, A. mewukka

This beautiful shrub/tree native to the Western United States, especially California, used as a medicine to heal poison oak, nausea, and stomach ulcers, has small red berries that are edible and have long been used by Native Americans as a food.

Watch a short video, from Ann Christensen, Founder and Creator of White Rabbit Institute of Healing™ – How To Use Manzanita to Cure Poison Oak…

Remember to check with your doctor before trying new medicines or herbal remedies, especially if you are taking other medication where drug interactions are possible.

Below is an overview of manzanita, combining the best of Western Science, Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore, and a wide range of healing modalities. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of manzanita.

How to take FULL advantage of Manzanita's healing powers...

JOIN ME in an exploration of the healing herb, Manzanita. Dive deep into the benefits and applications of Manzanita, from Eastern and Western perspectives, and so much more!


Western Name: Manzanita

Also Known As: Mountain Driftwood

Organs/Systems: Stomach, Bladder, Uterus, Skin

Key Actions: Antimicrobial, Anti-inflammatory, Diuretic, Astringent, Antiseptic, Demulcent, mild Vasoconstrictor

Medicinal Uses: Genitourinary remedy, poison oak, poison ivy, shingles, insect bites, bronchitis, kidney inflammation, urinary tract infections (UTI’s), headaches, prostate infections, cramps, nausea, stomach ulcers, diarrhea, edema, whooping cough, fevers, heavy menstrual bleeding, postpartum vaginal and cervical bruising/bleeding.


Pin Yin: Manzanita

Also Known As: N/A

Meridians: Lung, Kidney, Bladder

Key Actions: Clears Heat, Reduces Inflammation, Clears Toxins, Tonifies the Bladder, Tonifies the Kidneys

Medicinal Uses: Stomach cramping, nausea, diarrhea, urinary tract infections (UTI’s), skin disorders, uterine cramping. Stimulates the Uterus: promotes contractions that can enhance labor.

Basic Habitat/Botany:

Manzanita is identifiable by its fragrance, heavy blooms, finely cut, leathery, dark green foliage, and reddish twisting branches. Its flowers are white to pink and bell-shaped. They become the mahogany-red fruits that look like little apples.

Manzanita is in the marigold and heath families of plants. They are evergreen shrubs or small trees present in the chaparral biome of Western North America, including California, Arizona, and Nevada. There are 106 total species; 95 are found in the colder mountainous regions of California. They are a highly drought-tolerant plant.

Parts Most Frequently Used: Berry, Leaf (both green and grey varietals), Flower, Bark

Flavors/Temps: Berry – Sour, Slightly Sweet. Leaf – Slightly Bitter, Astringent, Cold, Dry.

Caution: Considered safe, it is not recommended during pregnancy and overuse can cause stomach upset, due to high tannin levels.

Key Constituents: Tannins, Arbutins, Hydroquinone-glycosides, Ursolic acid, Allantoin, Ellagic acid, Quercetin, Vitamin C

History/Folklore: The name Manzanita derives from the Spanish for “little apple.” It was used as early as the 13th century by Native Americans for food and as tobacco. They also made cider from the fresh berries. The berries are edible, the leaves are used to treat urinary tract infections, and the green bark is used to treat nausea. The green bark lies just below the outer red bark of the branches. The tannins found in the green bark help kill microbes that can cause gastrointestinal distress.

The bark helps to kill H. pylori, the microbe associated with stomach ulcers. Too much bark tea can also upset the stomach, be sure to use recommended doses and not take the tea for more than 2 to 3 days.

Compounds found in the green bark also help to treat dermatitis, poison oak and ivy, as well as insect bites.

The edible berries are high in vitamin C and contain 3 times more antioxidants than blueberries or pomegranates.

Chewing the leaves of a manzanita tree into a poultice can treat open sores and ease headaches. Chewing on the leaves without swallowing them can also help to ease stomach cramping.

Manzanita contains arbutin, a compound known for converting to hydroquinone that can help counter urinary tract infections, by rebalancing pH and fighting bacterial infections. The leaves are also high in tannins that help tone skin, tissues, and help prevent recurring infections. The leaves are vasoconstricting and helpful for treating heavy menstrual bleeding and postpartum, to help tone injured vaginal and cervical tissues. A douche made from the leaves will also help rebalance vaginal pH.

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 its 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 due to their shape, resilience, and nontoxicity. Unlike other woods, manzanita does not leach out tannins in water, which makes it a popular decorative wood for aquariums.

Mananita is an excellent wood to burn as it retains heat for long periods, but be aware, it burns so hot that it can crack stoves and thin-walled barbecues. The wood adds flavor to smoking foods and BBQ. Manzanita is one of the most dense woods in the world.

Some manzanita species are very rare, such as the San Francisco Presidio Manzanita, that only grows in the area’s Presidio park.

Manzanita is related to heather (Family: Ericaceae), cranberry and is very similar to bearberry (aka Uva Ursi/Archtostaphylos uva-ursi). Bearberry and manzanita are considered by many to be almost interchangeable. Similar to bearberry, bears love manzanita berries too!

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Did you know?

Mountain Driftwood

Called Mountain Driftwood due to the grey color of its wood and bark as it ages. Manzanita is decay resistant and ages very slowly.


Bearberry (Uva-ursi, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) is a third member of the Heath family of Manzanita. Similar to manzanita, it is also good for urinary tract infections (UTI’s) and uterine cramping. See Bearberry.

Fun fact!

Manzanita Dye

A yellowish-brown dye can be obtained from manzanita leaves. It does not require a mordant(substance that fixes the dye) and will last a long time.

How to use Manzanita and take FULL advantage of it's healing powers!

Find out how to safely use this powerful herb and get specific recipes you can make use of immediately. Dive deep into Eastern and Western perspectives about HOW and WHY this herb works. Includes uses, benefits, essential oils, gardening tips, and much, much more.

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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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