Friday, October 26, 2012

An herb for the season


I live in Oklahoma, where the weather just changed from the upper 70's to a high of 50 degrees. It's that tough time of year when we are still dealing with fall allergies, but weather changes can bring on more colds and upper respiratory infections. If there is one herb that is good to keep on hand this time of year it’s osha.
Osha is a traditional Native American herb. It’s also known as bear root since bears would eat it when sick or weak from hibernation.  The whole plant was used for a variety of purposes, both medicinal and ceremonial, but the root had the most value, used medicinally both internally as a tea or tonic, and topically in a salve or poultice. Due to its warming, stimulating properties, osha was used to increase circulation and to ease digestive and respiratory problems.
Today, this use continues as osha is becoming a popular herb again for upper respiratory issues. Osha stimulates white blood cells in the lungs to fight infection, and helps dilate the bronchial tubes in lungs to allow the blood to carry more oxygen and open up breathing. It helps break up respiratory congestion and acts as an expectorant to clear lungs. It also helps sooth a cough, making it one well-rounded herb for the lungs.
So if this time of year finds you coughing and congested, give osha root a try.