Ligusticum porteri, known as Osha or oshá, is a perennial herb found in parts of the Rocky Mountains and northern Mexico, especially in the southwestern United States.
Its common names include osha root, Porter’s lovage, Porter’s licorice-root, lovage, wild lovage, Porter’s wild lovage, loveroot, Porter’s ligusticum, bear medicine, bear root, Colorado cough root, Indian root, Indian parsley, wild parsley, mountain ginseng, mountain carrot, nipo, empress of the dark forest, chuchupate, chuchupati, chuchupaste, chuchupatle, guariaca, hierba del cochino or yerba de cochino, raíz del cochino, and washí (tarahumara). In the Jicarilla language, osha is called ha’ich’idéé. The White Mountain Apache call it ha ‘il chii’ gah.
Osha was (and still is) a sacred herb to various Native American tribes, including the Zuni, Aztec, Chiricahua, Yaqui, Tarahumara, and Mescalero Apache. While the seed and leaf were once traditional foods, the root was attached to moccasins or tied about the ankle to protect the wearer from rattlesnakes.
Flathead tribe members ritually washed freshly harvested roots in streams near plant growth locations to precipitate rainfall in times of drought. Fresh or dried root brings a tingling sensation to tongue and gums.
Background: This American native herb is found in upland meadows and ravines, and thrives in many, many areas with an affinity for the southern Rocky Mountains. It was both a sacred and indispensable herb to many tribes of Native Americans including the Zuni, Aztec, Chiricahua, Yaqui, Tarahumara, and Mescalero Apache tribes. The seed and leaf were eaten.
Some burned it as a purifying incense for protection from evil spirits and dangerous pathogens. Osha has been fervently used for centuries, in ways similar to Echinacea.
Native American runners chewed roots for increased endurance.
Description: Ligusticum porteri has a long, thin, hollow stalk with large divided leaves similar to the related parsley and carrot. Stem, leaf can reach to 2 ft in height. Seeds and flowers top the plant spreading outward in an arrangement resembling an umbrella. Flowers are white. Plant and seeds have a celery-like fragrance. Root is haired, brown outside, yellow inside. This native American perennial herb thrives in dry, upland meadows and ravines. Its fern shape leaves are spotted in various shades of green, turning golden yellow. For medicinal uses the tap root is harvested at maturity. Osha Root Extract has been traditionally used in a variety of ways, including:
…May help treat respiratory infections.
…Supports a healthy digestive system.
…Known as an effective remedy for colds.
…Often used to treat viral infections.
…May support overall stamina and endurance.
…Contains anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal healing properties.
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