Ahiko ahen is a parasitic plant that the Tongva use as medicine in many different forms. It is used to relieve asthma. The stems of the plant are boiled to produce a steam, which is then inhaled by the asthma sufferer. Ahiko ahen is also good for nosebleeds. Fresh stems are collected and crushed to make a juice. This juice is then mixed with the powder of dried stems, which the patient inhales through the nostrils. 

The Tongva also use ahiko ahen as an emetic, brewing the stems and then drinking the compound to induce vomiting. The whole plant can even be eaten for use as a contraceptive. Finally, they use a special type of ahiko ahen for treating spider bites. This type of ahiko ahen only grows on buckwheat, and the Tongva gather and brew the plant into a tea to apply to the bites.

The Tongva consider ahiko ahen a very powerful plant, and its effects may be very dangerous if the amount used is not monitored closely. Too much ahiko ahen can lead to excessive vomiting and even death.

Cuscuta 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.