Today I am making Osha syrup.
Once a year my daughter comes down with the annual February flu. I saw it coming. I madly emailed other wise women asking if I could use Hemlock instead of Pine to make a syurup, and although they assured me it's not poisonous, I wasn't convinced it would work the same as sister white Pine. So Instead I have been making her regular old teas. Overnight the bug came on and this morning my rugged little blondie is a hot blooded red faced package of "uuuuugh, mommy, I feel awful".
Like the bear spirit I see Osha as, it came in strong, as a crisp peppery breeze (since often my connections are made via olifactory sense), and an unbeatable musculature. AH! That's it! I felt a surge of hope when I realized I could make the powerful, reliable, decoction of brother Osha. This would ensure that not only McKenzie would get better, but that my husband would not get it to begin with, because if HE gets the flu, it's nothing short of a hot lava volcanic houshold nightmare.
He is one of my earlier made plant allies. Ligusticum porteri. I read about it somewhere, Llewellen perhaps, about it's ability to protect one against malicious people (the book probably said 'evil' but to my 14 year old mind that equated most of the people in my classroom). So I bought a chunk of it from the local health market bulk herb section. I smelled it passionately, inhaling the easily absorbed srength that it resonated. I LOVED the earthy, peppery, rooty smell, it was empowering. I was sure that this, tucked into my private crocheted pouch, would protect me from 'evil'.
That was the first year I remember feeling a sense of victory. Self-assurance started to grow inside, this connection I had made with Osha began rooting itself throughout my veins, down into the earth, and into the roots of the plant kingdom. I started collecting glimpses of memories, snuck in silently and fragrantly by my mom, that reminded me of the power of herbs and plants. I started to feel that, along with my place in the world as a dancer, that I had a place in the world as a woman, a green woman, with ancestors, tribes, families before as well as ahead of me, part of the cosmic family tree. I became. It was my herbal puberty.
I'm not suggesting that Osha has any effect on the actual hormones. But to me, it had an effect of self empowerment and inner strength. A calm, unobrusive confidence. Deep health. Bear Medicine.
Osha, is the Bear's choice. It's the first thing they do when they peel out of hibernation, they sniff out Osha root, and eat it and it alone for a good 24-48 hours. It cleans their digestive system, heats thier circulation, grows new fur, brushes thier teeth, and exfoliates every part of them until they are refreshed, strong and re-empowered. Then they face the woods for thier season of bearhood.
In February we are trying to come out of hibernation too. We are trying to melt the snowcaps on our emotions, our work habbits, our closets of bulky sweaters, and too often are attacked by nasty viral bugs.
Osha's prized properties include Diaphoretic, stimulant, carminative, expectorant,and emmenagague.
An ideal ally for a winter flu, with his potent spicy, bitter, warm energy it quickly scares out even the worst virus' of the respiratory or digestive sytems. Tonsilitis and bronchitis are rendered helpless, parasites and food poisoning are overrun efficiently.
The vapors of simmering osha cleanses the air of germs, and most definitely wards of evil of any form. Osha provides strength for smooth transitions, from moon cycle changes to major life changes. It's a strong, fatherly, non-judgemental, bear hug just when you need it.
Although he doesn't come out of my cabinet hibernation very often, he makes a grand impression when he does. I absolutley love this wonderful root, and thank Goddess I have it today! McKenzie will be back to her Ox-self in no time.
Micheal Tierra in Planetary Herbology pp.153 writes:
"It (Osha) is used to treat colds, flus, fevers, coughs, cold phlegm diseases, indigestion, gas, delayes menses, and rheumatic complaints. This is one of the most important herbs of the Rocky Mountains, considered sacred by the Native Americans and widely esteemed by them for it's broad and effective warm healing power. Many tribes burned it as incense for purification, to ward off gross, pathogenic factors, and subtle negative influences. The energy of this North American herb is immediately apparent from it's strong odor, which illustrates superiority of fresh North American herbs over many of the older and weakerChinese Ligusticums that are exported for use.
Dosage: standard infusion or 3-9 grams; tincture: 10-30 drops"
In good green health,