LIGUSTICUM PORTERI (Oshá Root)
Botanical Name: Ligusticum porter
Common Name: Oshá
Other Names: bear medicine, Canby’s licorice root, Colorado cough root, empress of the dark forest, Indian root, licorice root, loveroot, mountain carrot, mountain ginseng, nipo, oshala, Porter’s licorice root, Porter’s lovage, Scottish licorice root, wild lovage
Family: Apiaceae (Parsley Family)
Part Used: Root
Oshá is a perennial that can grow up to 5 feet tall. The stem is hollow and the leaves are pinnate and basal with several smaller leaves that clasp to the stalk. The flowers are white and grow in umbles and its aroma smells like pungent celery. It is native to the eastern and western
North America and is found in damp aspen groves over 7,500 feet (Mars, 2007). Harvest Oshá in the fall after they have seeded but before the leaves have died off. The roots can be dried in the sun because of their dark bark and will not rot or mildew. They can also be stored for years ( , 2003). Moore
CLASSIFICATION: eliminatingà warms the exterior, promotes sweating and dispel wind-cold (Holmes, 2006).
Taste: Spicy, bitter (Tierra, 1988)
Temperature: Warm (Tierra, 1988)
Moisture: Dry (Mars, 2007)
Element: Fire (Mars, 2007)
Planet: Sun/Mars. Jupiter (Mars, 2007)
Strength: mild herb with minimal chronic toxicity (Holmes, 2006)
Body System(s): nervous, reproductive, respiratory
Anti-viral: Oshá works to get rid of viral infections by elimination of toxins and sweating (Moore, 2003).
Bronchial dilator: Helps to strengthen the resiliency of the alveolar sacs (Mars, 2007).
Major Chemical Constituent(s):
Silicon; essential oils: ligustilide, terpenes; lactone glycoside; saponins; ferulic acid; phytosterols; coumarin; flavonoids (Mars, 2007).
Chinese Syndrome(s): external wind-cold, lung wind-cold, wind-damp-cold obstruction, spleen yang deficiency, kidney Qi stagnation (Holmes, 2006).
Nervous system: acute neuralgic or rheumatic pains, fibromyalgia, arthritis, toothache (Holmes, 2006).
Reproductive system: delayed menses, placenta retention, stalled labor (Mars, 2007); constant abdominal pain, amenorrhea, spasmodic dysmenorrheal (Holmes, 2006).
Respiratory system: cold miseries constantly moving down into your lungs, after cold and wet or exhausted you regularly come down with a sore throat or bronchitis, laryngitis and hoarseness from yelling or singing (Moore, 2003); tracheobronchitis (Hoffmann, 2003); asthma, catarrh, cough, emphysema, lung infection, pneumonia, sinus infection (Mars, 2007); sneezing, clear nasal discharge, coughing up white sputum, lung TB (Holmes, 2006).
Type of Preparation: Tincture Dosage: fresh root 1:2, dry root 1:5, 70% alcohol, 20-60 drops (Moore, 2003).
Type of Preparation: Cold-infusion Dosage: prepare a 12 hour cold infusion and drink containing 3-8 grams of root. The mixture should be consumed hot for diaphoretic effects (Holmes, 2006).
Avoid during pregnancy and in cases of blood and yin deficiency (Mars, 2007).
Drug and/or Herb Interactions:
In Montana and places in Arizona, Osha is at risk and should not be collected (Moore, 2003), but because it grows so abundantly in the mountains of Colorado, we are lucky to be able to harvest it.
Oshá can be a valuable asset to individuals living or doing strenuous activity at high altitudes. It helps to slow the pulse, diminish pounding of the head, lessen effects of high altitude strenuous activity as well as increase respiratory volume by 15 to 20 percent (
, 2003). Moore
Hoffmann, David. (2003). Medical herbalism: the science and practice of herbal medicine.
: Healing Arts Press. Rochester, VT
Holmes, Peter. (2006). The Energetics of western herbs.
: Snow Lotus Press, Inc. Boulder, CO
Mars, Brigitte. (2007). The Desktop guide to herbal medicine.
: Basic Health Publications, Inc. Laguna Beach
Moore, Michael. (2003). Medicinal plants of the mountain west: revised and expanded edition.
: Santa Fe, NM Press. Museum of New Mexico
Tierra, Michael. (1988). Planetary herbology.
: Lotus Press. Twin Lakes