Palsingili is important to the Tongva
for its medicinal properties. A laxative is prepared by making a tea from the leaves;
however, this tea should be taken in moderation.
For sore throats, an infusion of the leaves and stems is taken.
To treat rheumatism, a poultice is made of the leaves and stems and
applied. A mild wash for sore eyes may be made using the
juice of the stems.
Many different forms of food may be taken from
palsingili. The leaves may be eaten raw or cooked. Palsingili may be
picked in the Spring before the flowers appear, or it can be eaten after having removed
the flowers. The roots are also eaten raw, and are considered very
nutritious. The tiny bulbs may be eaten raw or roasted.
Palsingili's small black seeds may be cracked open and eaten.
In addition, palsingili juice is used as an appetite restorer.
Interestingly, palsingili may be used to enhance its own flavor.
The Tongva place palsingili leaves and stems at the entrance of red
ant holes. The ants climb onto the plant and are then irritated,
forcing them to deposit their formic acid all over the leaves and stems.
The acid leaves an acerbic vinegary flavoring on the plant, which, after
having shaken off the ants, the Tongva greatly enjoy.