Photo of Goldenbush plant with a Praying Mantis

Therapeutics of Santa Barbara Goldenbush (Hazardia squarrosa): A Medicinal California Native Herb Profile

Hazardia squarrosa 

(Haplopappus squarrosa)

Goldenbush (Sawtooth Goldenbush, Common Hazardia) 

Sunflower Family (Asteraceae)

Pharmaceutical name: Herba Hazardiae Squarrosae.

Characteristics: Plant: Sweet, slightly bitter, aromatic, neutral. Essential oil: Middle note, very sweet, green, lemony, neutral. Hydrosol: Same as the oil except very sweet and floral.

Channel Tropism: Liver, Heart.

Western Actions: Antirheumatic, euphoric (aphrodisiac).


Chinese Medicinal: ACTIONS & INDICATIONS:

1. Alleviates pain and circulates Qi: Topical remedy for Qi stagnation resulting in body aches and pains.

2. Calms the Mind: For mild cases of Mind (Shen) disturbances and Heart and Liver deficiency leading to depression.





Patients report this essential oil and hydrosol to be energizing and uplifting but the same time calming to the shen (spirit/mind). One patient, who suffered from clinical depression, claims to be “addicted to it” and applies the essential oil to the nape of her neck continuously throughout the day.




Topical treatment: To use neat (direct application without dilution) on the skin place a small drop on the arm first to test for allergy. If there is a reaction of burning, redness, or rash add 15 drops of essential oil to 1 oz of vegetable oil (such as apricot kernel, grape seed, or hazelnut oil) and retest with the diluted essential oil. If there is another allergic reaction discontinue topical use.


1. Internal: For depression drink 2 tablespoons of hydrosol in a liter of water throughout the day.

2. Inhalation: Diffuse through an atomizer into the patient’s room continuously for depression.

3. Topical: For body aches add 15 drops of essential oil to 2 Tbsp of talcum powder or vegetable oil (e.g. olive, sweet almond, or grape seed oil) and rub on the abdomen in clockwise direction (or use Japanese abdominal massage techniques). Add 5 drops of oil or 1 oz of hydrosol to bathwater. Recommended pain relief synergistic essential oil blend: Blend Nutmeg, Black Pepper, Honey Button Sage, Rosemary, Peppermint, Bay Laurel, Mugwort, Artemisia and Goldenbush essential oils. Add 1 dropper full (.5-1mL or 20-30 drops) of this blend to 1 oz (2 Tbsp or 30 mL) of any carrier oil.





Goldenbush’s sweet euphoric scent permeates the air in late fall as the bright green-yellow flowers are the latest of the local flora to bloom. This scent reminiscent of sweet orange, ylang ylang, jasmine and cloves (almost like a pear cider) is an excellent remedy for depression, fatigue and melancholy. Simply inhaling this oil can uplift one’s mood, aid in meditation and boost one’s energy. This herb seems to have been either not used by most Native Americans or simply not paid attention to by early ethnobotanists. One reason for this may be due to its character. This brushy spiny bush is avoided and disdained by hikers because it is sharp, dry and prickly to the touch. I only discovered its precious oil because I was desperate for a bouquet and braved getting a skin rash in order to pick its inconspicuous flowers one late September. To my delight I noticed it had an incredible aroma and left a wonderful oily resin on my hands. Needless to say, it was quickly harvested and distilled. The resulting oil and hydrosol were indeed divine; well worth the rash. 





Little is known about this hidden treasure of a plant. The Diegueno Native Americans used this herb as an external antirheumatic. A decoction of the plant was used for bathing body aches and pains (Hinton 220.) Interestingly, a decoction of a similar species’ root, Happlopapus spinulosus (Yerba del Pasmo), is used in Mexico for rattlesnake bite.





Sabinene (28.20%), β-Pinene (18.91%), Limonene (15.10%), Myrcene (10.51%), 1,8-Cineole (3.18), (Camphor (3.15%), ⍺-Pinene (2.83), Terpinen-4-ol (2.61%), (E)-β-Ocimine (2.51%), γ-Terpinene (1.61%), ⍺-Terpinene (1.00%), β-Eudesmol (.87%), Germacrene D (.56%), β-Phellandrene (.54%), Terpinolene (.52%), Methyl decadienoate isomer l (.38%), ẟ-Cadinene (.37%), (E)-Nerolidol (.29%), ⍺-Thujene (.26%), γ-Cadinene (.26%),  Camphene (.25%), cis-⍺-Bergamotene (.23%), Methyl (4Z)-decanoate (.19%), cis-Sabinene hydrate (.18%),  Eremoligenol (.17%), τ-Cadinol (.19%), Shyobunol (.17%), ⍺-Terpineol (.16%), trans-para-Menth-2-en-1-ol (.16%), ⍺-Eudesmol (.15%), cis-para-Menth-2-en-1-ol (.15%), para-Cymene (.14%), ⍺--Cadinol (.13%), Δ3-Carene (.13%), (Z)-β-Ocimene (.13%), β-Selinene (12%), trans-Sabinene hydrate (.10%), epi-Cubebol (.10%) 


*Further research is suggested to determine the medicinal/pharmaceutical properties of this root, leaf, flower, and essential oil.



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