My old coworker who now works for Juniper Ridge contacted me again for more work, this time harvesting some other tree or shrub near Grass Valley, CA. This project involves schlepping all the chainsawing gear up a mountain and camping for several days at a time instead of staying in a hotel and working on flat ground like the last few trips. But I can’t go because I love my new job and my days off are incompatible with their camping trips. So if anybody in the San Francisco Bay Area or Grass Valley/Nevada City/Tahoe region has the cojones to attempt this kind of work, send me a message — pleasefixsteepster oot gmail doot coom. They’re chill people.
Yerba Santa is a highly resinous evergreen shrub with long, toothed-lobed leaves and white- to lavender-colored flowers, indigenous to Oregon south to Mexico. I’ve only come across it in one location here in the Bay Area, on the west peak of Mt Tamalpais while doing restoration work. While eradicating an invasive grass, I’d toe my way around the yerba santa plants, trying not to disturb them too heavily but I’d always emerge at the end of the day with a sticky pair of work pants, more fragrant with this plant’s sap than with my own sweat. I love the resinous smell, so I’d admittedly wear my work pants for as long as possible before having to wash them :P
The aroma of this tea is difficult to describe and since I’m intimately familiar with the plant, it of course smells like yerba santa. Very resinous, sappy, medicinal. The taste is the same but also quite bittersweet at the same time, with the sweetness seeming similar to stevia for me. The finish is tart and drying with a lingering light bitterness. Immensely body cooling, more like balsam or pine than menthol. As far as medicinal claims, it’s supposed to be good for relieving the symptoms of lower respiratory ailments and allergies and bladder issues as a diuretic. I’m not testing whether this is true but if you follow herbal medicine, maybe give this one a try.
Flavors: Biting, Bitter, Drying, Medicinal, Resin, Sap, Sweet, Tart