Pavaskavit occupies a position of great importance in
Tongva culture for both its medicinal and non-medicinal uses. The Tongva
cure snakebites by making a poultice of the grape leaves and applying it
directly onto the bite. To strengthen falling or thin hair, they rub sap
from the plant onto the head. For gastrointestinal problems such as
diarrhea, they drink a juice extracted from the leaves. Chewing the grape
leaves will relieve thirst. Note that only the leaves
and the fruit are beneficial; both the stems and the roots can cause
Pavaskavit's primary non-medicinal use is as
food. The grapes, small and grayish-purple, are eaten fresh or dried. The
Tongva steam the leaves and eat them as greens, and also eat the green shoots of
the plant raw or steamed.
In addition to consuming pavaskavit, the Tongva use
its long, pliable branches to tie things together, such as wooden fence
frames and tule canoes.
Finally, folklore says that juice from pavaskavit leaves will
calm down particularly "hot" women.