liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

Herbs: Ligusticum porteri aka OSHA root (and other sp)

FAMILY: Apiaceae (parsley family)
SPECIES: porteri
COMMON NAMES: loveroot, OSHA, osha root, Porter's lovage, Porter's licorice-root, lovage, wild lovage, Porter's wild lovage, 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/yerba del cochino, raíz del cochino, washía (tarahumara) (some of these names overlap with lomatium, some confusion probably inherent)
Jicarilla language: ha’ich’idéé
White Mountain Apache: '"Ha 'il chii' gah".

genus of about 25 species of flowering plants
native to cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere
name may derive from the Italian region of Liguria where Levisticum officinale is abundant
food plants for the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Mouse Moth on L. scoticum

parts of the Rocky Mountains
North American Southwest
very common in mountains of Four Corners area esp the San Juans
may cover acres of meadows and grow under aspens
one source: MO, WY, UT, CO, NM, AZ, NV
another: British Columbia south into OR and WA, throughout Rocky Mountains and high mountains of NM
strictly a mountain plant
usu in deep, moist soils rich in organic material
requires partial shade
most common in the upper limits of the subalpine zone
in the southern part of its range grows at 7,000-10,000 feet (2100-3000 m)
in Utah, Wyoming, Montana and Canada, grows as low as 5,000 feet (1500 m)
dependent on mycorrhizal fungi
cultivation has failed so far
older roots more strong and bitter than young
Native Americans typically harvest the younger plants for medicinal use

ethanol tincture good liniment for sore muscles
clinically verified to possess anti-viral properties
effective for treating viral infx of the upper respiratory tract incl colds, flu, pneumonia
powerful stimulant if used in excess
root typically chewed and spit out
mb consumed small amounts to treat fever, stomach ache, and heartburn
chewing root for sore throat, flatulence, gum irritation, nicotene addiction
bitter ingested for indigestion, increase appetite
cough suppressant and expectorant during respiratory infections
syrup of root and honey used for coughs and sore throats
salve of root w/ tallow, turpentine, chamomile and contrayerba/Kallstroemia disinfectant for wounds
roots mixed with olive oil for rheumatism
tea of leaves and stems for child colic, onset of viral or bacterial URI
tea of the boiled root loosens phlegm and combats viral colds and flu
for herpes

parsley-like leaves and umbels of small white flowers
flower heads begin in shades of greens and rosy purples
leaves arch upward to two or three feet and are followed by three-to-six foot flower stalks
terete fruits
leaves irregularly divided with shades of green
golden in autumn
bases of the leaves where they attach to the root crowns have a distinctive reddish tint
roots are fibrous, with a dark, chocolate-brown, wrinkled outer skin
inner root fibrous yellowish-white with hairy crown of dead leaf material
root has strong odor: astringent, celery like
roots dry quickly
plants form large clumps over time, up to 7 feet tall in colonies with many crowns from central root mass

grows in same habitat as poison hemlock = highly poisonous plant in same family
OSHA: root dark brown, has "spicy celery" smell, hairlike root crown
leaves have strong fragrance
likes fertile but well-drained soil
POISON HEMLOCK: Conium maculatum
root white, fleshy, thin-skinned, usu branched (not always)
little to no odor, plant smells musty, mousy or rank
weedy, grows at low elevations in disturbed soil???
stem may have purple spots/blotches on mature plants, flower small umbels, white flowers
likes consistently moist soil, can tolerate standing water
coniine = poison in hemlock, absorbable through the skin
***beware of physical contact and wash as needed
WATER HEMLOCK = Cicuta douglasii
also highly poisonous
has different fruit, root smell, leaf shape (to a botanist anyway)
grows at low elevations in aquatic or semi-aquatic ecosystems
aka Oshala, Gray's Lovage, mb confused with osha
another native perennial with aromatic taproots
confused with Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum
may also be used medicinally
**always harvest umbelliferaes when identifiable in seed
**don't harvest plants in mixed stands, you might loose track
also sometimes confused with yarrow, cow parsnip, and all the other apiaceaes

blistering of mucous membranes that contact fresh root (strong astringent)
should not be ingested or used by women who are nursing or pregnant (dt oxytocin content)

used by the Apaches and other tribes
White Mountain Apache elders used as snake and insect repellent
as well as for colds, sore throat, cough, sinusitis
one source recommends harvesting in the afternoon to avoid the bears in the morning
Osha = "bear root" or "bear medicine" in some Native American language (Ute??)
eaten by bears when they appear ill, wounded, or just after emerging from hibernations
plant populations are seriously threatened due to overharvesting
cannot be cultivated outside native habitat
Thomas C. Porter, 1822-1901, Professor of Botany, collected osha along the headwaters of the Platte in 1873
1870 Porter and John Coulter published the first Colorado flora: the Synopsis of the Flora of Colorado.

volatile oil
ligustilide, a lactone, anti-asthmatic, anti-viral and antimicrobial per CSU study

Ligusticum wallichi aka Cnidium
rhizome used
blood tonic
esp for women
improve circ of blood and Qi and disperse stagnation
nourish blood, relieve wind conditions, analgesic
has helped with heart disease
enhancement of the immune system
treatment of ischemic disorders
should not be confused with Cnidium seed, a Yang essence tonic
warm, pungent and bitter
liver, Gall Bladder, Pericardium, Heart
for menstrual disorders, activate flow, warm uterus, decongests pelvic basin
related to Dong Gui, similar, Dong Gui is stronger blood tonic
Ligusticum stronger blood vitalizer and analgesic
induce interferon production
one of the "four things" in the most famous women's formula
add late to cooking as aromatic oils can be lost
never use alone, usu combine with Dang Gui, rehmannia, white peony root for menses
combine with salvia and notoginseng for heart
if odor is gone, herb is no good
Chinese have long used Astragalus, Ligusticum and Schizandrae
Chinese research suggests that Ligusticum wallichii can relax smooth muscle tissue

good pictures here:
available from:
Tags: arizona, colorado, desert, herbs, monograph, mountains, natives, new mexico, plants, respiratory, the west, tribes, utah, viruses, wildlife

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