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Other: Porter's lovage
Ligusticum porteri J.M. Coult. & Rose
Plant family: Apiaceae
A native of the higher altitudes of the Rocky Mountains and the Southwest in the USA, the root of the osha plant is a traditional Native American herb. The related Ligusticum wallichii has been used for nearly 2,000 years in traditional Chinese medicine, and most of the scientific studies of osha were actually performed on the Asian species. Osha is sometimes confused in the wild with poisonous hemlock; the difference between the two is that the osha root is extremely "hairy" and smells like incredibly strong celery. Osha got the name "bear medicine" because it was noted by Native Americans and early settlers that bears would seek it out when they first emerged from hibernation as a means to stimulate their appetite, as well as chewing it into a "cud" of sorts and then dripping it down and rubbing it into their fur.
Teas, tinctures, encapsulations. Tinctures and extracts vary widely in concentration; be sure to follow instructions on the label. Also used is steams and saunas.
Osha Root, (Ligusticum canbyi, L. filicinum, L. grayi, L. porteri, L. scoticum, L. tenuifolium) Pieces Bulk
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)
The genus name Ligusticum was given in honor of the Italian region Liguria.
Range of Appearance
Osha is a hairless perennial with hollow stems that can grow to a height of 5 feet. The pinnately divided leaves are primarily basal, with several smaller leaves clasping the stalk. The hermaphroditic white flowers grow in flat umbels. The seeds have narrow wings. The plant's aroma is distinctly like that of pungent celery. L. porteri is native to eastern and western North America; it is often found growing among damp aspen lodgepole pine groves over 7,500 feet in altitude. Other species are native to Eurasia. If you are collecting osha from the wild, take care not to confuse it with poison hemlock, which it resembles. Osha has not been cultivated on a large scale successfully, and wild populations are at risk of becoming endangered, so use it with respect.
Root (primarily), leaf
Alterative, analgesic, anesthetic, antibacterial, antibiotic, antifungal, antihistamine, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, antiviral, aromatic, bitter, bronchial dilator, carminative, circulatory stimulant, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, hypotensive, immune stimulant, mucolytic, stomachic, vasodilator
Osha promotes chi circulation, stimulates the lungs, strengthens the resiliency of the alveolar sac, and reduces mucus in the lungs. In many Native American traditions it is carried in a medicine bag around one's neck to prevent illness. It is known to increase respiratory capacity; in fact, Arapahoe runners would chew the roots to increase their endurance. It also remoistens the lungs and soothes irritated bronchioles and sinuses. Osha is used in the treatment of allergies, altitude sickness, asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, colds, cough, emphysema, delayed menses, fever, flatulence, flu, hay fever, headache, herpes, indigestion, laryngitis, lung infection, pain, placenta retention, pneumonia, rheumatism, sinus infection, sore throat, stalled labor, stomachache, tonsillitis, and tuberculosis. Topically, a poultice of osha can be used to draw out pus and to treat toothache. Applied as a tincture, salve, or powder, osha can speed the healing of a herpes lesion. It also can be prepared as a steam inhalation to treat sinus infection and congestion or as a gargle or spray to relieve sore throat.
Osha leaves and root are edible and have a spicy, celery-like flavor. Apache Indians traditionally boil the root with meat.
Osha was considered to be a sacred plant by many Native American peoples. Traditionally it is worn in a medicine pouch and around the ankle to ward off rattlesnakes. Flathead Indians would wash the roots in a mountain stream near where they had grown to help bring rain. The root can also be burned as incense for purification, and it has been used to increase psychic ability and enhance dreaming. It is also sometimes smoked with tobacco and other herbs in some Native American religious ceremonies.
Silicon, essential oil (ligustilide, terpenes), lactone glycoside, saponins, ferulic acid, phytosterols, coumarin, flavonoids
Avoid during pregnancy and in cases of blood and yin deficiency.
Plant details were provided by iPlant by Brigitte Mars.
Hyperlink it to https://brigittemars.com/iplant-app/