Osha (Ligusticum porteri) Root, Wild Harvested
NEW MEXICO. Osha (Ligusticum porteri) Root, Wild Harvested
Common names: Porter's Lovage, Porter's Licorice Root, Loveroot, Bear Medicine, Colorado Cough Root, Indian Parsley, Wild Celery Root, Mountain Ginseng, Nipo, Empress of the Dark Forest, Perejil de Campo, Chuchupate, Guariaca, Yerba de Cochino, Washí, Ha’ich’idéé, Ha ‘Il Chii' Gah
Osha is a perennial herb that grows up to 6 or 7 feet high, in high altitude forests in the Rocky Mountains, southwestern US, and northern Mexico.
Osha Root has a long history of use in Native American healing. According to Paul Bergner, it has been used by Rocky Mountain tribes in much the same way as Indian groups in the Great Plains used Echinacea—an antiviral, antibacterial, and immune modulating herb, a potent medicine for the early stages of colds and flus, inducing perspiration and quelling fever, and also an expectorant and bronchodilator for lingering coughs, bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma.
A wonderfully aromatic medicine that many tribes burned as a purifying incense, Osha is said to have an antihistamine action that makes it helpful for allergies and hay fever symptoms. It is valued by folk healers in Mexico for treating pain, digestive problems and ulcers, delayed menses, tuberculosis, diabetes, and arthritis.
Osha Root contains volatile oils, glycosides, alkaloids, terpenes, phytosterols, saponins, ferric acid, and phthalides. Its key antiviral components are not water-soluble, so chewing the root or making a tincture may be best for treating colds. Michael Moore’s advice for to making an Osha cough syrup: “Grind up the root, and steep in twice its volume of honey over low heat for an hour, then press out [the plant material] when it is partially cooled.” Osha can be applied as a tea or tincture to wounds, scrapes, or herpes sores.
Research on this relatively rare North American herb is scarce compared to many plants with wider distribution. So far, experiments have confirmed the value of Osha and its extracts for relieving pain and inflammation, modulating immune function through its antioxidant action, preventing stomach ulcers, controlling blood sugar in diabetes, and as an antispasmodic and sedative.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.