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Osha Root - Ligisticum porteri

Osha is the powerful alternative for immediate respiratory and immune system support. It promotes healthy lung function and clear breathing.

Ancient Chinese physicians used plants like osha to "open the interstices" or sweat out a respiratory infection. Like its Chinese cousin ligusticum, osha will induce sweating, thought to prevent the development of a full-blown cold or flu. Osha is also used to help coughs become productive. Like other bitter herbs, osha stimulates appetite ("feeds a cold").

As Echinacea is the antibacterial herb from the American Great Plains, osha is the antibacterial herb of the American Rocky Mountains. Osha is a perennial herb bearing glossy, toothed compound leaves and greenish yellow flowers. It has a camphor like scent due to its essential oil, which is responsible for much of its healing properties. The root of the plant is the part used in herbal medicine.

Pour 1 cup of boiling water over ½ to 1 teaspoonful of herb. Allow to steep 4-7 minutes, then strain. Drink 1- 2 cups of tea daily. If desired, add honey and/or lemon to taste.

Osha root is typically chewed, then spit out after the medicinal components have been extracted by the chewing action.

Osha is an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It is ideal for viral infections of the sinuses, throat, and upper and lower respiratory systems. It helps bring up respiratory secretions and relaxes smooth muscle, making it beneficial for coughs and asthmatic breathing difficulties. Osha induces sweating and helps eliminate toxins through the pores of the skin.

Benefits of osha for specific Health conditions include the following:

Arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. Osha is a traditional remedy in Native American medicine and Home Remedies of the American West for providing long-term relief of inflammation.

Bronchitis, colds, influenza, and sinusitis. One of the active constituents of osha is Z-ligustilide, which acts gently against bacterial and yeast infections. In the minute quantities provided by the herb, this chemical stops the multiplication of bacteria and yeast cells while relaxing the muscles lining the respiratory passages. It is very useful for stubborn respiratory conditions and viruses that linger.

Osha root or Ligusticum wallichii (Ligusticum) root can be steeped in ethanol (whisky, vodka, etc.) for at least a month. The resulting tincture is an effective, albeit pungent, liniment for sore muscles that can be stored (in a cool place) indefinitely.

Osha is strictly a mountain plant, and it is most commonly found in deep, moist soils rich in organic material. The plant requires partial shade. Osha is widely distributed from British Columbia south into Oregon and Washington State, and throughout the Rocky Mountains and the high mountains of New Mexico. It is most common in the upper limits of the subalpine zone, so in the southern part of its range, it grows at elevations from 7,000 feet to 10,000 feet (2100 m to 3000 m), while from Utah, Wyoming, and Montana northwards, it grows as low as 5,000 feet (1500 m). Osha is dependent on mycorrhizal fungi, and attempts to artificially cultivate the plant outside of its habitat have not been successful. Cultivation of osha in areas where it naturally grows have been more successful.

Osha should not be used during pregnancy, as large amounts may cause uterine contractions. Osha contains oxytocin and should not be ingested or used by women who are nursing or pregnant.
This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.