Pavaskavit occupies a position of great importance in Tongva culture for both its medicinal and non-medicinal uses. The Tongva cure snakebites by making a poultice of the grape leaves and applying it directly onto the bite. To strengthen falling or thin hair, they rub sap from the plant onto the head. For gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, they drink a juice extracted from the leaves. Chewing the grape leaves will relieve thirst. Note that only the leaves and the fruit are beneficial; both the stems and the roots can cause allergic reactions.

Pavaskavit's primary non-medicinal use is as food. The grapes, small and grayish-purple, are eaten fresh or dried. The Tongva steam the leaves and eat them as greens, and also eat the green shoots of the plant raw or steamed.

In addition to consuming pavaskavit, the Tongva use its long, pliable branches to tie things together, such as wooden fence frames and tule canoes.

Finally, folklore says that juice from pavaskavit leaves will calm down particularly "hot" women.


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  Mario Incayawar, M.D., 2010

Disclaimer: All material provided here is for educational purposes only. Consult your own physician regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.