Osha Root Benefits

Osha Root Benefits | HealthSoul

How Osha root benefits were found?

In certain locality, the Osha root is also known as bear root. This root is collected from Ligusticum porteri species of plant Native Americans used this herb to treat multiple disease conditions associated with cardiac and lung-related health issues. Osha plants are preferably growing in high elevated areas. [1] In the traditional medicinal system, this species of plant is used for boosting immune functioning. Traditionally Osha root is boiled with water to prepare the herbal tea and given to patients suffering from gastrointestinal problems, headaches, and fevers. [2]

Hispanics from New Mexico and Southwestern United States people are traditionally using this herb from long back. It was thought that the name of this plant (Osha) was given by Hispanic communities, as most of the places belong to New Mexico is started with the name of Osha. [1]

Hispanic communities and North Americans are widely used Osha root as a traditional medicinal system ingredient to treat respiratory problems like bronchitis, influenza and related conditions. The paste or liniments prepared with Osha root are applied as dressing material to accelerates wound healing. Osha root tea, tincture, and ointment are used for relieving headaches, sinuses. These benefits can be obtained by chewing raw Osha root pieces. [1]

Following are different traditional uses of this herb in different cultures:  

  • Tewa Pueblo people have used Osha plant preparations for diarrhea and gastrointestinal problems treatment.
  • Zuni Pueblo people have used Osha root preparations for body aches, sore throats, and curing ceremonies for illnesses.
  • Cochití and Taos Pueblo people have used Osha plant preparations for multiple health ailments, including colds, thinning and expelling phlegm in lung infections. They drink Osha root tea or chewed root for anesthetic effect and to treat throat infection and treat sore throat. The root of Osha is also used as a disinfectant and skin wash. Other applications of this herb include excessive sweating, stomachic, bitter, carminative, etc.
  • Plains Apache people have used Osha plant preparations for smudging.
  • Rarámuri (Tarahumara) people have used Osha root carried to ward off snakes, lotion for rheumatic joints, wash wounds, and as a poultice for animal bites. [2]

What are the phytochemicals present in Osha root?

The phytochemical composition of Osha root consists of butylidenephthalide, ligustilide, and Z-ligustilide. [3]

The detail phytochemical analysis reported that perlolyrine, tetramethylpyrazine are two alkaloids present in this herb, anthraquinone like chrysophanol, phenolic compounds like caffeic acid, ferulic acid, phenylpropanoids, coumarins, furanocoumarins, phthalides like ligustilide, butylidenephthalide, senkyunolide, and 4-hydroxy-3-butylphthalide are present in this Osha root. α-pinene, β-pinene, and limonene are the terpenoids present in Osha root. [4]

phytochemicals present in Osha root

What is the Mode of action of Osha root health benefits?

The phytochemicals present in Osha root are responsible for its many medicinal health benefits. For example:

  • Butylidenephthalide is an active phytochemical of Osha root, which exerts antihypertensive, anti-angina, antispasmodic, antioxidative, antiplatelet, and vasodilator activities.
  • Ligustilide is another major phytochemical of Osha root, which is responsible for broad-spectrum antimicrobial activities effective against Gram-positive, Gram-negative, and yeast organisms.
  • The essential oil composition of Osha root also provides potent anti-microbial properties effective against the norfloxacin-resistant strain of Staphylococcus aureus.
  • Osha root containing Z-ligustilide has the anti-inflammatory activity. [3]

Researchers have found that Osha root has cytotoxic effect with potent antioxidant properties with immunomodulatory effects. These properties are effective against cancer growth. Research studies reported that the Osha root preparation with the dose of 50–400 μg/mL effective against human promyelocytic leukemia cells by reducing oxidative stress and inflammatory suppression ability.

This research also concluded that Osha root preparation reduces lipid peroxidation and prevents the damage of oxidative stress-induced DNA modulation and cancer progression. Osha root preparation also suppressed interleukins production and release. [3]

What are the different forms of Osha root?

There are different dosage forms of Osha Root are formulated by the herbal medicinal companies. Following are some commonly available dosage forms:

Osha root tincture: This is an effective dosage form recommended for cold, flu, sore throat, cough, pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus, H1N1 influenza, and other bacterial or viral respiratory infections. It is also recommended for Viral infections including herpes, HIV, etc. This preparation also improves digestion ability.

Osha root powder, tea, encapsulation are the other forms of Osha root formulations available in herbal dosage forms. Some preparations are used for inhalation purposes also for chest congestion, sinus blockage, etc. The patient needs to thoroughly read the instructions given in the package insert for an effective result. [5,6] The recommended dosage of liquid preparation varies from symptom to symptom. In bronchial dilation condition, 1/4 to1/2 teaspoon of Osha root tincture is prescribed for 5 days with a small amount of water or other juice to mask the taste. At the initial phase, the dose recommendation is lower and gradually increase depending upon the patient’s response and to avoid side effects reactions. The herbalist may suggest intaking 1/4 teaspoon of Osha root preparations just before or after a meal to improve digestion. The usually recommended dose for infection treatment is 20 to 60 drops for 5 days. Mixing with honey for respiratory infection is a better option to make the Osha root liquid preparation palatable.

Different forms of Osha root

Osha Root Uses

The following are some of the specific uses of Osha root herbal preparations.

Respiratory diseases

Both antibacterial and antiviral properties of Osha root are effective to treat a wide range of respiratory infections. The anti-inflammatory property of the Osha root is effective to alleviate the inflammatory condition of the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract and bronchial passage opens up. These mechanisms help in easy breathing.

  • It helps to produce productive cough and expel out, which helps to relieve chest congestion. The mucus clearing effect of this herb helps to open up sinus blockage, improve lung functioning by making breathing easy. Thus oxygenation in the body tissues improves.
  • Osha root is effective to treat all types of cold and cough symptoms by thinning the thick and accumulated mucus and helps to expel out.
  • Osha root has a soothing effect, which helps to treat sore throat.
  • Asthma patients are also get benefitted from using this herbal preparation.
  • Other serious respiratory conditions like pneumonia, emphysema, and frequent allergic attack with chronic coughing conditions are also treatable with Osha root. [4]

Digestion aid

Osha root also helps in digestion, especially during indigestion conditions. [4]

Osha Root Uses

Osha Root Side effects

Osha root increases blood circulation and some individuals are allergic to these herbal preparations. Osha root preparation may cause kidney and liver problems with prolonging therapy. It is also advised not to take with other medications to avoid drug-herb interactions.

Osha Roots side effects

When should I avoid Osha root?

Osha root is not recommended during lactation. It is not advised to intake during pregnancy, as it can cause miscarriage. It is strictly restricted to use with other bronchial dilators. [4]


  1. Ligusticum porteri (Osha).
  2. Ethnobotany of Oshá (Ligusticum porteri) and Policy of Medicinal Plant Harvest on United States Forest Service Lands.
  3. Effects of Ligusticum porteri(Osha) Root Extract on Human Promyelocytic Leukemia Cells.
  4. Osha Root Tincture.
  5. Osha Root Powder.
  6. Osha Root.