Osha root is a Rocky Mountain herb, the root of which has been used by Native Americans for treating respiratory infections and conditions of the digestive tract. Many of today’s best herbal medicines aren’t necessarily from far-flung countries such as China, but from the forests of North America.
Echinacea is another example, and it has morphed into the world’s most popular natural medicine for colds and flu. For this reason, because so much attention was lavished on it, it’s conceivable that other reasonably effective flu remedies have remained in its shadows. Such could be the case for osha root, which may hold great promise for you.
Health Benefits of Osha Root
Osha, just like echinacea and zinc, is thought to work best when used in the early stages of the flu; basically, as soon as you realize you’re sick. It’s an antibacterial and antiviral herb, best known for its ability to soothe a sore throat, treat a cough, and relieve inflammation of the bronchial tubes. For a fever that won’t go away, it could promote sweating and help kick out the flu virus before it has a chance to turn full-blown.
In the southwest United States, it’s known as “Colorado cough root” and is taken for cough during a respiratory infection. But its effect runs deeper than this moniker. Osha root could relax muscle tissue and prevent any invading bacteria or virus from spreading. Not many studies have looked into this herb, largely because its use is centered on a specific region of the U.S. and it is believed difficult to cultivate elsewhere — therefore, its longevity in medicine is questionable.
But researchers are trying to figure out how to expand osha root’s use. The American Botanical Council has been looking into how feasible it would be to turn osha into an economic crop for Wyoming growers this decade. A step like this may be just what the doctor ordered in bringing attention to this traditional respiratory healer — the same sort of attention echinacea has enjoyed for some time.
But ignoring that for a moment, you can still find osha at many health food stores. Products will vary in how concentrated they are. Simply follow package directions. To make osha tea, find whole or powdered dried roots and steep them in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Take three or four cups a day.
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