Information on Osha

Latin NameLigusticum porteri
Part UsedRoot
Herb FormsTincture, bulk herb, powder.
AffectsUrinary system, Respiratory system, Liver
CautionsContraindicated during pregnancy. Large doses of osha can cause digestive irritation. Use only for short-term acute infections; the herb is difficult to cultivate and could easily be overharvested, depleting populations.
Botanical InfoA medium-sized perennial herb with toothed, compound leaves and umbels of yellow flowers, and later, small plump aromatic fruits.
DescriptionOsha is used in the treatment of coughs, sore throats, colds, flu, fever, and suppressed menses. It is known for its antiviral properties and diaphoretic properties.
Herbalists often carry a root in their pocket or medicine-bag. A small piece is placed in the mouth and sucked to help relieve sore throats, coughs, hoarseness, and other symptoms of colds or flu-like syndromes, especially when accompanied by clear copious mucus, body aches, or chills with little or no fever (wind-cold). This method also works well for toothache or infection. A small piece of the root chewed to a pulp and placed between the teeth and cheek near an infected painful tooth can bring fast relief of pain and help heal the infection.

Osha has a taste of ACRID, SPICY and a temperature of WARM.


Infusion1-2 cups 2-3 x daily
Tincture10-30 drops 2-3 x daily

Ailments Treated by Osha

AilmentTreatment SupportApplication
Lungs, congestedexpectoranttincture, tea
Pneumoniaimmune stimulant, expectoranttincture
Rhinitis, acuteanti-microbialtincture, tea
Toothacheantibacterial, anaesthetictincture, chewed dried root as a poultice
Colds, acuteantiviral; warming respiratory stimulanttea, tincture, chewed root pieces


McGuffin, M. et al. 1997. Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton: CRC Press.