It's that time of year where someone comes home sick and like the domino effect we all end up with a cold. It also comes with the change in the weather no matter how many times someone tries to debunk that fact, it's still happening. The weather changes and someone in our house gets a cold, we mend it, life goes on.
Still every year our son Aidan ends up with a nasty bark that doctor's once perscribed steroids to combat and I was determined to find a way to replace that method with something natural and without negative side effects. That's when my readings took me to the Osho root and it's healing properties.
Its common names include osha root, Porter's lovage, Porter's licorice-root, lovage, wild lovage, Porter's wild lovage, loveroot, Porter's ligusticum, bear medicine, bear root, Colorado cough root, Indian root, Indian parsley, wild parsley, mountain ginseng, mountain carrot, nipo, empress of the dark forest, chuchupate, chuchupati, chuchupaste, chuchupatle, guariaca, hierba del cochino or yerba de cochino, raíz del cochino, and washí (tarahumara).
As I explored the world of herbs, roots and barks and how they can add to the different methods of healing, I discovered Osho root in my readings and conversations. It wasn't local to me as it's Native to the Rocky Mountains so I had some looking to do. Thankfully there are places to get herbs in the area for me to reach out to.
Before I learned about tinctures, I was crushing the roots and boiling them for tea with other herbs meant to strengthen immunity and soothe the common cold.
You can click on the button below for my healing tea recipe.
Healing Properties of Osha Root
Osho root has many valuable properties including:
The beneficial part of the osha plant is the root, which has long been used and considered sacred by Native Americans for cold, cough, and other respiratory ailments. The root contains oils, including camphor, saponins, ferulic acid, terpenes, and phytosterols. Because of the range of mechanisms it has, osha root is, arguably, the best American herb for lung and throat problems.
Osha root can help alleviate breathing problems in a number of capacities. Osha root helps clear mucus from the sinuses and lungs by increasing expectoration; this relieves congestion and makes breathing easier. Osha root also increases blood circulation to the lungs, which increases dilation during constriction. For this reason, it is of particular interest as a support mechanism for emphysema, pneumonia, asthma, and allergies.
The bronchodilating effect is compounded by osha root’s ability to help the efficacy of the lungs by increasing oxygen utilization and uptake in the body. It is believed the increased blood oxygenation is facilitated by an increase in gas exchange through the alveoli in the lungs. In simpler terms, osha root helps one to take deeper breaths.
One of the most notable benefits of osha root is its numbing effect, used to help soothe the irritated tissue of a sore throat. It has been an ingredient in cough drops and lozenges and can even be made into a cough syrup that is said by some to be more effective than echinacea and goldenseal.
Making Bear Root Tincture
I took my dried osho root and crush it with my meat tenderizer, then added 100 proof alcohol to the jar and let it sit, shaking daily for 3 moon cycles. The next time I make this tincture I will be grinding it in my herb-designated coffee grinder to make the mix more potent, although this one is serving us quite well.
This can be added to a tea of your choosing. I add this to the teas I make when we're sick instead of adding the osho directly to the brew as it's simmering.
It can also be made into a few different concoctions.
Bear Root Cough and Expectorant Syrup
Last night our son Aidan's cough was quite deep and it was annoying him. I took to the pantry and looked at a book or two then decided on some common ingredients and this tincture.
I took 3 tablespoons of organic honey, a half tsp of organic cinnamon with about one and a half tablespoons of the tincture and mixed it well in a jar.
Both cinnamon and honey are anti-bacterial and anti-viral, and the honey coats and soothes the throat.
Almost immediatly after taking a half teaspoon of the syrup Aidan's cough was less of a bark and within the hour his congestion began to break up. I've given the same amount to him before bed, then again this morning and although he's still not 100% it's been helping so much in conjunction with a good bone broth/vegetable soup, extra vitamin c, d, Brown Seaweed extract (Modiflan), lots of fluids, mostly water, kombucha and herbal teas, 2 daily shots of fire cider, and plenty of rest. I also make a wonderful chest and back cough and cold rub that we use that helps a great deal aromatically. Wants some? It is soon to be a new addition to my wares in Salves and Such so stay tuned.
Bear Root Honey
My next experiment with osho root will come soon enough when I venture out to the local shop for some more.
I've been playing with honey ferments for a few years now, mostly with garlic and some additions to the garlic honey ferments but the last one I did was with some fresh fermented hot sauce fibres. Although I enjoy it as a culinary addition it's really good for clearning up sinus issues and opening up the airways and getting your blood circulation going.
Now, I'd like to try a bear root honey infusion with cinnamon to add to our pantry of herbal remedies. I've read that some use it at the onset of a cold or nausea. I'm sure it would be a welcome addition to an herbal tea after a meal or when we're sick. Once it's infused it's instant gratification for when I don't feel well and don't want to go walking out into the wee winter woods for some tree medicine.
My 2 cents
I've used over the counter cough and cold remedies for years. I've used antiviral meds and antibiotics to treat many different ailments in my past for myself and my family. When I have used these I have ended up with other issues that needed follow-up treatments and after a while that all became a vicious cycle of the strippig of our gut flora and our immune systems ability to work well on it's own.
Since seeking out a new way for our family with old world methods, that are quite literally all around me every time I bend down to touch the earth, I have noticed that we are healthier and less concerned about our need for store bought remedies. Our children ask for home remedies as soon as hey feel a cold coming on.
I've read enough books and blogs for the few illnesses and irritations we encounter and I'm growing more and more comfortable with my abilities of understand our bodies and the plant world around us intended for our thriving and survival. I'm in no way telling anyone to do as I do. I do however find it all very empowering and fascninating and want to share my experiences in the hopes that someone might be inspired to delve into the world of self healing and understanding the world around us and these bodies we depend upon yet seem to really care for as we should. I'm still not there myself but every day I learn something new and every time one of us suffers I find a way to soothe , mend, comfort and heal us, with the help of the gifts that surround me, the books written before me and the people who shared their knowledge as they went along in their own lives.
Life is good.
Recipes are going to vary from meals to medicines. It's all about healing from the inside out because we truly are what we eat. What's the point? Well, gardening and foraging for your own foods, shopping local and no processed garbage or pharmaceuticals for what ails you? I think that's enough of point, don't you?
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Your medicine is in the woods.
Your pharmacy is in your kitchen.