Museum / Nature

Medicinal Plants of Kuaua


Visit Coronado Historic Site to touch, smell, and learn about local plants.

The Coronado Historic Site property has a surprising abundance of plant life. The site covers three ecosystems; a desert landscape, the Rio Grande Floodplain, and the riparian zone directly along the Rio Grande’s normal path. Rangers Ethan and John recently attended the 16th Annual Santa Ana Environmental Fair, and Ethan created a display of native plants that all have medicinal properties. There are ten described below, but there are many more here, the specimens represented were particularly abundant after the recent monsoon rains. Click the image for a larger view. The information below is taken from Michael Morre’s Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West.


Can be used as a mild diuretic, and is an aniseptic to the urinary tract. This plant is more commonly known as “Indian Tea” and has a very plesant taste, and creates a reddish beverage. It has been used by Spanish and Native Groups as a folk remedy for arthritis, kidney, and blood complications.


DSCN1818One-Seed Juniper

Primarily used as a urinary tract herb. The berries are boiled to create a beverage which can also be used to help kidney irritation. Eating the berries periodically through the day can decrease appetite by stimulating the stomach secretions.



A tea or poultice can be made to treat fever or the common cold. Some groups also cook and eat the leaves as greens.


DSCN1816Globe Mallow

Primarily used as a demulcent or emollient. The fresh or dried leaves make a soothing poultice, lessening pain and reducing inflammation. A tea can be made from the leaves that calms indigestion and stomach irritability.


A tea can be made to help with sore throat, fever, and other cold symptoms.


DSCN1814Horse Nettle

Used as an astringent and diuretic. The seeds can be soaked in water and used as a particularly effective hair conditioner.



This plant is commonly used as an herb for various purposes, and can also be used as a salt substitute once the seeds have dried.


DSCN1812Three-Leaf Sumac

A tea can be made and used as an astringent, or as an antiseptic tonic. The branches of this plant can also be used in basket making, and used as a dye.



Used as a pleasant mild astringent for the mucous membranes. A strong tea can be taken for stomach and intestinal irritations. The seeds of this plant can be used as a dietary supplement for individuals who are anemic or vitamin B12 deficient.


DSCN1809Sand Sage

A tea can be taken for cold symptoms, or for stomach pain and as an astringent for sore throats. The tea also causes a decrease in sweating, which is a great side effect in dry climates. This plant can also be used as an incense.


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