Native to high altitudes in the Southwest and Rocky Mountain states, the root
of the osha plant is a traditional Native American remedy for respiratory
What Is Osha Used for Today?
Osha is frequently recommended for use at the first sign of a respiratory infection. Like a sauna, it will typically induce sweating, and according to folk wisdom this may help avert the development of a full-blown cold
Chinese research suggests that
can relax smooth muscle tissue (perhaps thereby moderating the cough reflex) and inhibit the growth of various bacteria.
Like other bitter herbs, osha is said to improve symptoms of
Osha products vary in their concentration and should be taken according to directions on the label.
Osha is believed to be safe, although the scientific record is far from complete. Traditionally, it is not recommended for use in pregnancy. Safety in young children, nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease has also not been established.
One potential risk with osha is contamination with hemlock parsley, a deadly plant with a similar appearance. 2
2. Moore M. Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West: A Guide to the Identification, Preparation, and Uses of Traditional Medicinal Plants Found in the Mountains, Foothills, and Upland Areas of the American West . 1st ed. Santa Fe, NM: Museum of New Mexico Press; 1979:119.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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