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Garrya Leaf

Veterinarian Reviewed on June 15, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Garrya Leaf


Garrya Leaf is the leaf of Garrya elliptica or commonly called Wavyleaf Silktassel or Silk Tassel Bush, and is an ordinary evergreen shrub that is native to California and southern Oregon. The shrub can reach a height of five meters. Garrya Leaf is silvery white and finely and ornately veined with deep blue-green color and black undertone, which makes it rather unique. From afar, the flowers of this plant look like a plain ivory white, but when you look closer, they are actually many shades of violet, green, blue, grey, and other colors.

Garrya Leaf tastes bitter with an odd smell. When made into a tincture, the resulting color is a mixture of black, gray, and blue. The twigs and leaves are the parts used for making medicine. The leaves can also be made into tea, either fresh or dried.

History and Origin

Garrya Leaf belongs to the family of Garryaceae that are connected to the temperate regions of North America. Leaves of this plant are waxy with wavy leaf margins. It needs a sheltered area since it can easily suffer leaf scorch in an exposed and windy area.

Garrya elliptica is found particularly within the mountains of Montara, San Bruno, Pacific Coast range, and the coast range in Napa County. It is a native plant that is very appealing as a landscape species besides its qualities as a medicinal plant. Garrya Leaf has been used for centuries as a remedy for fevers, malaria, and other periodic diseases probably due to its bitter taste. The natives have used these leaves as an antispasmodic in treating gastrointestinal cramping.

Ancient Uses

Garrya Leaf was used in ancient times as a remedy for menstrual pains and as a uterine stimulant. They are also used for the treatment of stomach pains. Garrya Leaf is a safe, reliable, and smooth muscle relaxer. It was used for relieving tense, sharp, and convulsive cramps, especially among women. It was also best in treating acute situations of infectious diarrhea and other intestinal tract problems.

Modern Uses

Today, Garrya Leaf is best known as a good muscle relaxant. It is very effective in easing pains related to menstrual spasms, all kinds of ducts cramping, gut cramps from food poisoning and similar pains.

Garrya Leaf is also used externally for wounds, painful inflammation, cuts, and other minor scratches and bruises. It has the capability to reduce and eliminate pain from these minor mishaps when utilized as a poultice or when applied as a tincture or ointment to unbroken skin. Garrya Leaf has other important uses that modern herbalists have yet to identify and prove.

Side Effects

Since Garrya Leaf is very strong and drug-like in its effect, it is not advised to be used by people with allergies. It is best used in acute stages of a chronic disorder such as kidney stones, gallbladder attacks, menstrual cramps, and others. People under medications are also advised not to use this. Garrya Leaf should not be used for a prolonged period or in large doses. It should not be used by pregnant or lactating women and by small children.

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Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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