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yerba mansa... photo courtesy of Mihai Costea


Yerba Mansa Nasal Spray


Even though I have a decided preference for using local herbs I've picked myself, Yerba Mansa, a plant native to the American southwest, has become an indispensable member of my family of most valued herbs.  I use it more or less exclusively for treating chronic sinusitis; as little as 7-10 drops, taken as needed, seems to almost immediately improve the congestion, pain, and stuffy/sleepy feeling that accompanies this condition (it’s not as good a remedy for leaky-drippy, “hay fever” sinus problems… think Goldenrod, Ragweed and Ox Eye Daisy here…).  Even better, continued use of the herb appears to act restoratively, gradually lessening the severity and the occurrence of symptoms.  Michael Moore tells us Yerba Mansa both astringes the tissues of the sinuses (which lessens secretions), and promotes circulation to those tissues (which helps resolve chronic inflammation or infection).


Browsing through an old copy of Ellingwood's Therapuetist, I came across an article extolling its virtues for this very complaint, and also providing an intriguing recipe for a Yerba Mansa nasal spray.  I've made this formula, and can attest that it’s pretty damn cool.


It's prepared as follows:

  ~ 5-30 drops Yerba Mansa Tincture

     (I've always used 5-10 drops, which seems to work fine)

  ~1 dram (about 60 drops) Glycerine

  ~Enough distilled water to make 2 fluid ounces of the mixture


I've frequently adapted this recipe to leave out the glycerine and add salt to make a basic saline solution; to do this, add 1/4 rounded teaspoon salt (ideally some clean water sea salt, but use what you have in a pinch and don't stress too much about it) to an 8 fluid ounce cup, stir till the salt is dissolved, and add your tincture to two ounces of this.


The ingredients are thoroughly mixed and can be used to refill a store-bought saline nasal spray bottle.  Take a spray as needed, and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by its prompt and efficient action.


Please be advised, however, this preparation is not adequately preserved, and it will go bad.  Make a new batch daily, or make a big batch and freeze the excess in ice cube trays to preserve… the last thing someone with sinus problems needs to do is go and spray a spoiled herbal solution up their nose…

jim mcdonald

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