Osha Root Whole
Botanical Name - Ligusticum porteri
Other Names - Bear Medicine, Loveroot, Porters Lovage, Porters Ligusticum, Chuchupate, Wild Parsley
Origin - USA
Flavor Profile - Similar to a peppery celery, or lightly like anise - brewing a decoction all day does great things for a home-air’s aroma. The dried root brings a mild tingling sensation to tongue and gums.
Culinary Usages - To make a decoction, simply add a handful of dried root to several cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer and allow to reduce for at least thirty minutes - though five to six hours is preferable as the longer the roots simmer, the stronger, and more beneficial the decoction. Remaining roots from decoction may be dried and pulverized using a coffee or spice grinder in order to provide a unique spice for salmon, sauteed onions, honey and even brownies!
Aromatic Usages - has a very strong odor, something like a spicy celery-like scent. Root pieces are burned on the hot rocks during a sweatlodge as part of Native American ceremonial smudging.
Cosmetic Usages - Hot water infusions are used as skin washes and gargles.
Typical Preparations - Smudging, Teas, tinctures, encapsulations. Tinctures and extracts vary widely in concentration; be sure to follow instructions on the label. Also used is steams and saunas.
Osha root is a perennial herb of the carrot and parsley family it is extremely "hairy" and smells like incredibly strong celery. Osha was (and still is) a sacred herb to various Native American tribes, including the Zuni, Aztec, Chiricahua, Yaqui, Tarahumara, and Mescalero Apache. Osha got the name "bear medicine" because it was noted by Native Americans and early settlers that bears would seek it out when they first emerged from hibernation as a means to stimulate their appetite, as well as chewing it into a "cud" of sorts and then dripping it down and rubbing it into their fur.Bears are then side-affected by its “lovage” properties and take to nuzzling each other.
Native American Indian parents used to wrap Osha roots, which contains anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties, with leaves and strings and placed them near newly born babies to cleanse the air they breathed. Osha's roots were also chewed to increase respiratory endurance and attached to moccasins, or tied about the ankle, in efforts to protect the wearer from rattlesnakes and to serve as an antivenom remedy if bitten.
This is a VERY popular herb and Native American tradition assigns much therapeutic effect to this plant.
Precautions - Drinking more than 6 cups of the herbal infusion each day is likely to result in diarrhea, loss of appetite, insomnia, vomiting, dizziness, and headache.
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