Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Yerba Santa

Here is a beautiful example of a medicine which I really know little about. These are fairly large bottles which come with a crudely applied top and I have seen one example with a tooled top. I have not heard of a Yerba Santa being dug for a long time, and they are pretty scarce medicines. I recall seeing an ad years ago which connected them to Oroville, California, though they are embossed "San Francisco" on one side panel and "California" on the other. I have also seen a couple specimens with a cross embossed on the reverse, and a few with a faintly embossed outline of the cross on the reverse panel. This one has no evidence of a cross ever being embossed there, and no "peened out" cross. It is otherwise boldly embossed so I wonder why the reverse cross on some? I estimate about 40 examples of the Yerba Santa in collections. I have never seen a true green Yerba, but a couple in a greenish aqua. This is another of the classic western medicines with "California" fully spelled out, and not a "mystery med" with known S.F. heritage, and

no city or state embossed...McBride, Dr. Perry's, Dr. Henry's, Pratt's Abolition Oil, etc.

thanks to Bruce Silva for the copy of the advertisment -I have been looking for a Yerba Santa for years...yes they are a tough one to aquire - rs


  1. Wilson states that: A. McDermott from Oroville formulated the brand in 1870 (hence your Oroville ad), and had Redington-Hostetter & Co distribute it. In 1877 he gave sole agency to Tufts & Speiker. Later he sold the rights to a Chicago firm.

    I dug a beautiful dark aqua example last yr about this time ! It's a bottle that had been on my "dig wish list" for a long time...


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