TAKAPE KAKAAKA

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Takape kakaaka has many important medicinal uses for the Tongva.  The plant relieves many types of aches. To treat headaches, takape kakaaka leaves are bound to the head or crushed into little tubes and placed in the nostrils.  Tea from the leaves is used to treat headaches.  Leaves bound to the abdomen will alleviate stomachaches. 

Takape kakaaka can also help to treat other kinds of pain.  For sore muscles, the Tongva apply a poultice made from the seeds to the painful area.  Menstrual cramps are treated with a decoction made of cooked leaves.  Rheumatism may be treated using an infusion of leaves for a bath. 

The leaves of takape kakaaka are very effective in treating skin ailments.  Oil from the leaves, made into a decoction, can be rubbed onto the skin as a coolant and also as an insect repellant.  For swellings of the skin, a poultice made of takape kakaaka flowers helps reduce swelling. 

Finally, in places where someone has suffered an illness, wet takape kakaaka branches are burned and the smoke is used to purify the area. 

The Tongva also have non-medicinal uses for takape kakaaka.  The fruit is eaten after being roasted, crushed, and pounded into small cakes.  Takape kakaaka burls may also be carved into bowls since the hard wood can stand heavy polishing.

CALIFORNIA BAY LAUREL

Umbellularia 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.