Pawots is one of the most important medicinal plants for the Tongva.  It is essential in women’s medicine.  A woman drinks a tea made from pawots beginning from her first menstruation and for the rest of her life.

In addition, the plant is also used to treat various ailments.  To relieve toothaches, the Tongva make a poultice from the leaves and apply it directly onto the painful tooth.  The leaves are also chewed for stomachaches and made into a poultice for burns and wounds.

Pawots is also useful in the treatment of respiratory ailments.  The Tongva make a decoction for asthma and coughs.  They also use this to relieve rheumatic pains.  Finally, a tea made from the leaves is made to help reduce fever and pain.

This plant is also important in Tongva rituals.  For instance, it is a major plant in girls’ puberty ritual.  In addition, men who are preparing for a hunt are smudged with a mixture of white sage and pawots.

Artemesia californica

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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.