Avakhat has several medicinal properties.  For headaches, the Tongva apply a poultice made of the boiled leaves and bark to the head. They use the same poultice for swelling, cuts, wounds, insect bites, and strained muscles. A wash made of the green leaves or the inner bark is used to relieve the pain and bring down the swelling of sprains. For burns and skin irritation, the Tongva add some fat or oil to dried flowers to make a salve. The chewed stems and leaves are used to reduce inflammation of the gums to tighten the teeth. The Tongva also drink a very strong decoction made of the bark for stomachaches and pneumonia. They use the roots to make a general tonic.

Avakhat is very important in other aspects of the Tongva culture as well. The Tongva use the inner bark to extract a fiber to make cordage and women's skirts. Avakhat is also a source of food: the catkins are boiled with antelope meat.  

Avakhat is also part of Tongva legends and tales. In one story, Coyote hears the leaves of the avakhat tree singing in the wind. He believes that they are singing his name so he tries to imitate the song but runs out of breath and faints. He awakens having learned not to try to imitate the songs of others.

cottonwood3 small.BMP (230454 bytes)
Populus fremontii

Turtle icon.jpg (2856 bytes)


Back Up Next


  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.