California Sagebrush is a highly aromatic plant that can be found all over California, including at the St. Francis Dam site. The pleasant aroma from this plant is due to the terpenes that the plant contains. This plant is extremely drought tolerant, and sometimes is the only plant that can be found in very dry areas. It is a very tough plant, and very easy to grow as it requires very little care, and very little water. It can survive on as little as 3” of rain throughout the year.
This plant had many medicinal uses for the Native American Indians. They used it to help relieve a cough, to hasten childbirth, to relieve menstrual cramps, as a pain reliever, and a cure for colds, asthma and rheumatism.
California Sagebrush has a colloquial name, “Cowboy Cologne”. It is said that instead of submitting to a bath after many long, hard days on the trail, that cowboys would seek out this plant for the aromatic qualities. The cowboys would rub the leaves all over their bodies to eliminate offensive body odors. Then, they were free to spend their hard earned cash on poker, beer/whiskey and the ladies, never having to submit to the rigors of the bath tub. It is said that using this plant as a pain reliever is more potent than opiods, and is much safer. It has been used to relieve pain from broken bones, sprains, strains and arthritis as quickly as 20 minutes.