Ashuwet has many medicinal uses within the Tongva community.  The plant alleviates some forms of pain.  For stomach pains, bark and leaves are steeped in hot water to make tea.  The same tea can serve as a seasonal tonic and ease other body pains.  Also, applying mashed ashuwet to sores eases pain.  Infected wounds are washed using an infusion of bark and leaves.  

Ashuwet also helps for gynecological problems.  Pulverized flowers are steeped in hot water to make tea, which may be taken to ease ailments.  

The Tongva have many non-medicinal uses for ashuwet as well.  Ashuwet berries are eaten fresh, roasted, or boiled.  After boiling, the berries are baked in an earthen oven for 2 or 3 days.  The berries are also made into cider.

The plant may also be used to create everyday tools.  Wood from the plant is made to build arrows, awls, wedges, and scrapers.  Cooking utensils like spoons, mashers, and stirrers can be made from ashuwet.  The berries are used for making dye: they are simmered and crushed. The dye may be applied to fishnets.  Finally, menís hairpins are made of ashuwet with flicker feathers tied to the ends.




Heteromeles arbutifolia 


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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.