I went on an Osha (Ligusticum porteri) dig in the mountains with a few friends. Osha grows close to Aspen trees usually and can’t be found at less than 6,000 feet. My herbal mentor and I tried to find some Osha to dig the week before but our guide couldn’t find the plant. This time we brought a different guide with us and a local farmer. This guide was much better than the last, who took us straight to the plant, Osha. Osha is also known as Bear Medicine because bears are known to have a great love for the herb. They will dig up the root and eat it when they come out of hibernation. It is also said that the bears will roll over the root to cover themselves in its scent. The powerful herb is rumored to ward off rattlesnakes and bring mystical dreams and protection from negative thoughts if worn. Many Native American groups consider the plant to be sacred and would burn the plant to be rid of subtle negative influences. I heard that it was great for colds which I seemed to be catching a lot from the kids at my job. This is why I wanted some.
The Osha was right next to some Aspen trees. My mentor told everyone to be quiet and to honor the plants. She pulled out two very large Sage sticks and lit them. She quietly stood facing each of the four directions. She then told us to pick a plant. The farmer was eager to dig so that she could get the root swiftly and put it in honey to flavor it. The honey makes it medicinal. My mentor told her to put her tools away because the Osha doesn’t like metal. She told us that we would have to use sticks to dig up the root. The farmer was not pleased and began to question my mentor. “How can a root, not like metal? How can a root not like anything? It is a root and that is all!”
My mentor was not offended by the farmer’s questioning. She simply responded calmly, Continue reading