Boost Your Immunity With Osha Root This Winter Season

Updated on December 26th, 2020
Osha Root

Native Hispanics have traditionally used Ligusticum porteri (Osha), and American cultures have traditionally used Osha as a treatment for conditions like colds, pneumonia, influenza, bronchitis, hay fever, tuberculosis, and coughs [1]. Today, the extract is generally used as a decongestant, and few believe it boosts the immune system.

A representative of the parsley or carrot family (Umbelliferae/Apiaceae) and perennial herb, the Osha plant is most commonly found along forest edges and ravines of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Columbine, and Aspen Bluehills and can grow up to 3 feet tall.

In the North of America, there are twelve species of Osha. Among these, Osha is known as “true” osha.

Also Known As

  • Chuchupate
  • Bear root
  • Colorado cough root
  • Perejil de Campo
  • Indian parsley
  • Wild celery root
  • Mountain lovage
  • Racine d’Ours

Possible benefits

Osha root is thought to treat sore throats, respiratory illnesses, and lung diseases. However, no studies currently exist to back these claims.

Still, limited studies show that Osha root and its plant compounds may have health benefits. For hundreds of years, osha was used by North American indigenous groups in various ways, including as an incense, ceremonial drug, medicine, and food.

The Tarahumara tribe in Mexico used L. porteri during ritual curing rituals to protect people from rattlesnakes and witches. The Zuni tribe in the Southwest United States would chew on the root during healing ceremonies.

In conventional medicine, Hispanic and Native American cultures have used Osha to treat medical conditions such as coughs, colds,  skin wounds, sore throat, fever, gastrointestinal problems, heart issues, and circulation [2].

Today, few people believe Osha root can help treat medical conditions, including:

  • Sore throats
  • Respiratory infections
  • Skin wounds
  • Digestive issues such as indigestion
  • Viral infections such as herpes and H.I.V.
  • Cough

These health assertions have not been proven in research.

Supplement manufacturers and health purveyors and often claim that Osha root extract can help people with emphysema, asthma, and other respiratory illnesses [3]. These assertions should be followed by disclaimers saying the data is not meant to replace a medical professional’s expertise.

In fact, the U.S. F.D.A (Food and Drug Administration) has warned multiple Osha distributors and suppliers about making medical claims, stating that making claims about medical benefits or cures  qualifies Osha as an “unapproved drug.”

May fight inflammation and oxidative stress 

Osha root extract can fight oxidative stress due to its powerful antioxidant effects. Antioxidants are compounds that combat free radicals or unstable molecules that cause oxidative stress in your body. 

Oxidative stress is linked with chronic inflammation and an increased risk of illnesses, including Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and cancer. One test-tube research observed that 400 mcg/mL of Osha root extract demonstrated reduced inflammatory markers and significant antioxidant activity.

These effects are understood to be due to Z-ligustilide, one of Osha root’s primary plant compounds.

Animal and test-tube studies indicate that Z-ligustilide may safeguard against both chronic and acute inflammation. While these results are encouraging, human studies are needed.


Osha root is periodically used to prevent infections because it’s believed to have antiviral and antibacterial properties. It has been administered topically to wounds to ward off infections and support healing.

While few studies have discovered that extracts of Osha root can inhibit bacteria, more research is needed to prove its effectiveness in this regard.

Osha root has also been used to treat viral infections, including AIDS/HIV, due to its assumed antiviral properties. However, there is little proof to back this use.

Other potential benefits

While studies are limited to animals, Osha root may have other advantages. These include:

  1. Reduced blood sugar levels. In an investigation in mice with type 2 diabetes, Osha root extract substantially reduced blood sugar levels after consuming sugar.
  2. Protection against stomach ulcers. One research in rats observed that Osha root extract helped prevent stomach ulcers formation.
  3. Remember that human studies are required.

Possible Side Effects

It’s unsafe to consume Osha when you’re breastfeeding or pregnant. Ingesting osha can start menstruation in pregnant women, which could lead to miscarriage. Effects during breastfeeding are unclear, so it’s suggested that you avoid osha entirely.

Taken in huge doses over a prolonged period, osha of time may lead to liver or kidney toxicity. Some manufacturers’ labels say you shouldn’t use osha if you have inflamed or impaired kidneys.

Forms and dosage

Osha root is sold in various forms, including teas, tinctures,  essential oils, and capsules. The root itself is available whole, either fresh or dried. You can also see osha root incorporated in other products, such as herbal teas.

However, adequate dosages are unexplored due to a lack of human studies. Therefore, if you’re keen on trying any form of osha root, discuss an appropriate dosage with your medical practitioner.

Moreover, be sure that you don’t take more than the prescribed serving listed on the product label. Furthermore, F.D.A  doesn’t regulate osha root supplements, so it’s essential to buy your product from trustworthy sources.

When possible, go for products that have been certified by a trusted third-party testing company.

Curiously, United Plant Savers, an organization whose mission is to safeguard native medicinal plants, recognizes this plant as an endangered herb. This could affect our ability to find it, and it highlights the significance of purchasing it from renowned companies.

Bottom Line

Many individuals around the world depend on herbal medicines to treat health conditions. Umpteen varieties exist, but some of the most popular include ginseng, ginkgo, ginger, chamomile, and turmeric. Though their applications tend to be very comprehensive, several of their purported benefits lack strong scientific proof.

Remember that, like conventional drugs, herbal remedies may interact negatively with other medicines. Thus, it’s advised that you consult your medical practitioner before adding a supplement or new herb to your routine.

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