Osha / Bear Root (Ligusticum porteri)
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ALSO KNOWN AS: Bear Root, Chuchupate, Colorado Cough Root, Indian Parsley, Ligusticum porteri, Mountain Lovage, Perejil de Campo, Persil Indien, Porter's Licorice Root, Racine d'Ours, Wild Celery Root, Empress of the dark forest
PLANT FAMILY: Apiaceae
PART(S) USED: Dried roots and leaves
OVERVIEW: Osha, has a long and colourful history of use by the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island. It came to be known as “Bear Root” because the root resembles a furry Bear’s claw, and because Bears have been observed digging and eating the roots after emerging from hibernation. Osha is said to stimulate the respiratory, immune, and digestive systems, all of which would need a boost after a long winter’s nap. Osha is also said to have powerful protective, antimicrobial, and pesticidal properties.
TRADITIONAL USES: Osha Root is traditionally used in herbal medicine to treat symptoms of respiratory illnesses such as the common cold and bronchitis. Osha Root is also known to have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Traditionally, Osha is taken as a tea, or eaten raw, or sometimes used as a smudge (burning the root and bathing in the smoke).
Often employed as a talisman in ritual cures, a piece of Osha root is sometimes worn on the body to ward off negative energies.
PRECAUTIONS & CONTRAINDICATIONS: Do not use Osha Root if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as it could possibly trigger menstruation and miscarriage. Consult a healthcare practitioner before use, especially if you are on any medications or have any allergies, especially to plants in the Apiaceae family (fennel, parsley, parsnips, dill, etc.).
WARNING: This information is for educational purposes only, has not been evaluated by Health Canada, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
HEALTH CANADA REFERENCE: