Osha/Bear Root (Ligusticum porteri)
All our herbs come from certified organic sources or trusted wildcrafters.
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 history of use by Indigenous peoples. 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. Bears have also been reported to pack their own wounds with mashed Osha fronds and roots.
Osha is now considered to be an at-risk species due to overharvesting. Always be sure to obtain Osha root from trusted suppliers. Osha also has a non-medicinal look-alike, the deadly poison Hemlock. So, it’s especially important to know your sources.
TRADITIONAL USES: Osha is said to stimulate the respiratory, immune, and digestive systems and to have antimicrobial and pesticidal properties. Indigenous healers are also said to use it in the treatment of altitude sickness, and to fight viruses and a wide variety of respiratory ailments, flu, cough, fever, sore throat, migraine headache, rheumatism, congestive heart failure, and internal parasites.
Often employed as a talisman in ritual cures, a piece of Osha root is sometimes worn on the body to ward off negative energies.
Traditionally, Osha is taken as a tea, or eaten raw, or sometimes used as a smudge (burning the root and bathing in the smoke).
Like many medicinal plants, Osha also has a non-medicinal look-alike, the deadly poison Hemlock. So, it is especially important to know your sources.
STORAGE: Store in an airtight container in a dry cupboard away from light. Will keep for many years.
PRECAUTIONS & CONTRAINDICATIONS:
- Use at your own risk.
- Always consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using any herbal products, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, have an existing medical condition, have allergies, or are on any medications.
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: