Donketsip is a useful plant for the Tongva,
particularly for the leaves. However, they are poisonous and
must be prepared carefully.
Donketsip is used to treat respiratory
ailments. The steam from boiling leaves is inhaled to relieve congestion.
An infusion of the leaves calms coughs. This plant is also helpful for
treating skin problems. A poultice is made to reduce bruises,
swellings, and sprains. For rashes, sores, and wounds, a bath is
drawn with donketsip leaves.
To treat gastrointestinal symptoms, the
crushed inner bark is infused in hot water. It is a good
treatment for diarrhea and is an effective laxative. The tea is also
indicated for nervousness.
Donketsip has useful non-medicinal properties.
The fruit may be eaten, often ground into a cake. The pit of the
fruits may be leached, crushed, ground, and boiled in order to thicken
soup. However, the fruit is not eaten raw as it can trigger an
It is said that donketsip was once very sweet,
but an angry shaman turned the fruit thick and bitter.
WARNING: Parts of donketsip are toxic and
poisonous. The leaves contain hydrocyanic acid and if chewed can
provoke an allergic reaction. The fruit can be toxic. The Tongva boil
the leaves carefully to remove its toxicity.