Kwiash holds medicinal properties useful to
the Tongva. The Tongva use a decoction of the leaves to treat respiratory problems like bronchitis and asthma. This decoction is
also taken for urinary problems. Mothers that have recently given birth
also drink this tea to improve circulation.
For rheumatic pain and wounds,
the Tongva apply a kwiash poultice. To alleviate earaches, they place heated
kwiash leaves in
the ear. A tea made from kwiash bark helps to relieve
stomaches, sore throats, and coughs. Parts of the kwiash plant are made into a poultice to treat cuts, bruises, sores, and back
pain. The leaves are used to wash hair and relieve scalp irritation.
Kwiash holds a special place into Tongva ceremonies. Bundles
of the plant hang in sweathouses. Girls preparing for puberty rites must bathe in a kwiash
wash. To protect themselves from the spirits of the dead, men and
women in charge of handling the dead wash and rub their hands in kwiash.