Osha Root & Oxytocin (the love hormone)

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Osha Root

Last week I attended an herbal-product tasting of a "flight" of teas, tinctures, extracts and otherwise from one of my favorite resources for this lifestyle, period: Evolver and their new venture, The Alchemist's Kitchen. (Note my left-nav badge of affection, and I'll definitely reaffirm following their trajectory; it's good things.)

The tasting included more herbs than I've ingested in a single sitting (or week, likely) to date, and made me feel fantastic. Euphoric. So, it was fun too - to say the least. More about their projects and that bigger picture, soon.

Meanwhile, one of the herbs that I wasn't familiar with but curious about was Osha. Otherwise known as loveage, loveroot or bear medicine. Because, bears chew on it for the health benefits (source: Bears) but then get side-affected by the "lovage" properties and take to nuzzling each other.

Make-out twigs! Of course I was promptly in pursuit. Picked some up at The Herb Shoppe (which also stocks Rx Apothecary (plug)) this weekend, made a many-hour decoction and have been drinking definitely more than a mug a night since.

In the pot, pre-decoct:

Post-decoct, tea-dark:

In addition to all of that fun, Osha tastes wonderful - like a peppery celery or lightly like anise, and brewing a decoction all day does good things for a home-air's aroma.

More info and an Osha-Kava "Latte" recipe below - for when you really want to get down.

Osha root: Ligusticum porteri, known as Osha or oshá, is a perennial herb found in parts of the Rocky Mountains and northern Mexico. - Wikipedia

Osha Root About, Uses & Benefits:

  • A perennial herb of the parsley family
  • Seeds and leaves were food to indigenous Americans
  • Also functioned as symbols for different beliefs. Some burned Osha as a sacrifice for protection against dangerous spirits and omens. Others washed it in waterways near vegetation as rituals for producing rain.
  • Roots chewed to increase endurance. This probably because of Osha's positive contributions to a healthy respiratory system. Native American Indian parents even used to wrap Osha roots with leaves and strings and placed them near newly born babies to cleanse the air they breathed.
  • Anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory.
  • Also popular as a warming herb, it supports healing of respiratory conditions (coughs, colds, tonsillitis, flu, and other types of viral infections).

Modern Uses

  • The outstanding antiviral properties of the Osha root are still recognized today. It's still used as early medication for the common cold and flu. Take at the first signals of coughing and sneezing. Osha is very effective as treatment for respiratory conditions such as sinus congestion, sore throat and inflammations in the bronchus. Can also be taken by those traveling to higher altitudes or for long-distance hiking as it promotes easy breathing.

Osha contains Oxytocin:

Oxytocin is a powerful hormone. When we hug or kiss a loved one, oxytocin levels drive up. It also acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. In fact, the hormone plays a huge role in pair bonding. This hormone is greatly stimulated during sex, birth, breast feeding—the list goes on.

- Psychology Today

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Osha Kava Latte

  • 1 C Osha root decoction (a small handful of root, brought to a boil and then reduced to a simmer for at least an hour, for up to five or until water is tea-dark)
  • 2 tbsp Kava (powdered is strongest and my preference)
  • 1/4 C coconut milk (homemade or full-fat store-bought additive free)

Blend all, warm but don't boil. Drink. Get down.