Other Name(s):

Bear Root, Chuchupate, Colorado Cough Root, Indian Parsley, Ligusticum porteri, Mountain Lovage, Perejil de Campo, Persil Indien, Porter's Licorice Root, Racine d'Ours, Wild Celery Root.


Osha is a plant. Historically, the root has been used as medicine by Native American and Hispanic cultures.

Today, osha is used for sore throat, bronchitis, cough, common cold, influenza, swine flu, and pneumonia. It is also used to treat other viral infections including herpes and AIDS/HIV. Some people use it for indigestion.

Some people apply osha directly to the skin to keep wounds from getting infected.

Be careful not to confuse osha with the very poisonous plant hemlock. The leaves of the two plants are very similar. Osha must be identified by the root, which people say has an unpleasant celery-like odor. Be sure to buy osha from a reputable source, so you can feel confident that the product really is osha.

Osha grows at higher elevations in the western US and is difficult to cultivate. The popularity of osha has led to over-harvesting of the wild plant. As a result, osha has been designated an endangered plant by conservationists.

How does it work?

Osha contains chemicals that might help fight bacterial and viral infections.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Sore throat.
  • Prevention of skin wound infection.
  • Indigestion.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Cough.
  • Common cold.
  • Flu.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Herpes.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of osha for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Osha might be safe for most adults.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It's UNSAFE to take osha if you are pregnant. It might start menstruation, and this might cause a miscarriage. Avoid use.

It's not known if it's safe to use osha during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and don't use it.


The appropriate dose of osha depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for osha. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.


Beck JJ, Stermitz FR. Addition of methyl thioglycolate and benzylamine to (Z)-ligustilide, a bioactive unsaturated lactone constituent of several herbal medicines. An improved synthesis of (Z)-ligustilide. J Nat Prod 1995;58:1047-55. View abstract.

Colorado State Univ. Colorado AES project COL00271. 1999-2000 website. www.colostate.edu/depts/aes/projs/271.htm (Accessed 22 August 2000).

Coulombe RA. Improve food safety through discovery and control of natural and induced toxicants and antitoxicants. Fedrip database, Natl Technical Info Svc (Ntis). Fedrip/1999/07801368.

Herb.com. Herbal Materia Medica 4.0 website. Available at: http://herb.com/materia.htm (Accessed 22 August 2000).

United Plant Savers. United Plant Savers at risk forum website. www.plantsavers.org/endanger2.html (Accessed 5 August 2000).

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