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Green Medicine > Medicinal Plants > Osha


Photo of Osha
Photo of man with osha roots.
Photo donated by: Dr. David Inouye, Director of the Conservation Biology Program at Univ. of Maryland
Photo by Trish Flaster of Botanical Liaisons, Boulder, Colorado

(Ligusticum porteri)

Osha is a member of the parsley family, and inhabits dry meadows in the West. It is traditionally used as a purifying tonic, and is a part of some Native American ceremonies. Modern clinical use of osha includes employing it as a decongestant, and a tonic for the respiratory and upper digestive systems.

Like some other wild members of this family, osha is difficult to cultivate, and so most (if not all) of the commercially available osha is taken from the wild. Because the plants do not reproduce freely, and because the root is the part of the plant taken, stands of osha that are harvested from will diminish in size unless the harvest is done in a very careful, precise way.

Cultivation: Osha is probably best cultivated by assisting propagation in existing (wild) stands. Seeds can be germinated by freezing, then planting in a cold frame, but will generally not thrive or survive under cultivated conditions, apparently requiring some specific combination of soil type/chemistry, weather, and sunlight.

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Last Updated: 8 July 2003