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 allergic reaction.

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.

Prunus illicifolia

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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.