Yatatko is a very versatile medicinal plant.
The Tongva use it to treat skin problems. They make a poultice from
roots and barks and apply it to relieve sores. The bark alone is
used as a lotion for skin diseases. Root juice is applied to wounds.
The Tongva use chewed leaves to treat acne by applying them directly
on the affected areas. A decoction of the stems helps heal skin infections.
Yatatko may also be used to treat sore throats. The
Tongva use bark and roots to make a tea. These, when crushed, also serve as a wash for
rheumatism. The roots of the plant are used as a tonic to stimulate
appetite. To relieve fever, the Tongva use the crushed fruits and
hang the leaves in the sweat houses. In addition, the bark is used
as a laxative.
The Tongva also use yatatko for many
non-medicinal purposes. They make an acidic drink with the berries. They
also dry them for use during the
winter. Yatatko is also very useful to produce a dye for ceremonial objects, basketry, and for
bow and arrow paint. The stems provide a yellow dye for basketry.
Additionally, the shoots are split into fibers for basketry.