Benefits of Osha Syrup - Bear Medicine


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Osha, or Ligusticum porteri (also called bear root), is an important perennial herb that inhabits the dry, upland meadows and ravines of the Rocky Mountain. The beneficial part of the osha plant is the root, which has long been used for cold, cough, and respiratory ailments. The root contains oils, including camphor, saponins, ferulic acid, terpenes, and phytosterols. Because of the range of mechanisms it has, osha root is, arguably, the best American herb for lung and throat problems.

Osha root can help alleviate breathing problems in a number of capacities. Osha root helps clear mucus from the sinuses and lungs by increasing expectoration; this relieves congestion and makes breathing easier. Osha root also increases blood circulation to the lungs, which increases dilation during constriction. For this reason, it is of particular interest as a support mechanism for emphysema, pneumonia, asthma, and allergies. The broncho-dilating effect is compounded by osha root's ability to help the efficacy of the lungs by increasing oxygen utilization and uptake in the body. It is believed the elevated blood oxygenation is facilitated by an increase in gas exchange through the alveoli in the lungs. In simpler terms, osha root helps one to take deeper breaths.

Osha root is commonly used as a multi-therapy for cold and flu symptoms. The root has demonstrated activity against harmful organisms and, when taken at the onset of a cold, may help reduce the window of time in which symptoms are experienced. Although osha root doesn't have a direct antihistamine action, its effect is similar, and using a root tincture during a histamine flare up can lessen indications of head colds and respiratory ailments. One of the most notable benefits of osha root is its numbing effect, used to help soothe the irritated tissue of a sore throat. It has been an ingredient in cough drops and lozenges and can even be made into a cough syrup that is more effective than echinacea and goldenseal.

Although osha root should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women, the plant is considered safe and not associated with any negative side effects. Our Osha Syrup is extremely beneficial during cold and flu season for boosting the immune system.



People are always surprised to find out how effective some very familiar herbs can be. Thyme is definitely one of those familiar friends who can surprise us by just how potent they really are. It’s typically associated with adding a bit of flavor to a meal, but thyme is a useful tool in the herbal toolbox for helping your body deal with illness.

Thyme is traditionally an herb used to treat the lungs. Some of the effects thyme has on the body include: reducing lung secretions, being antimicrobial, and relaxing the bronchial muscle. These effects will all be particularly useful when someone has congestion, coughs and colds, a lung or respiratory infection, bronchitis, or asthma.

Thyme contains volatile oils, saponins, tannins, flavonoids, caffeic and rosmarinic acids and luteolin. The main volatile oils in thyme: carvacrol, thymol and gamma-terpinene, are antibacterial and antimicrobial. Flavonoids such as rosmarinic acid have an antioxidant effect, which helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. The saponins are reflex-stimulating expectorants, so they can help to clear congestion in the lungs. Extracts of thyme have been found to bind to the same receptors as bronchodilators such as Ventolin, and cause relaxation of the muscle airways, while improving clearance of mucous. Thyme has also been found to have anti-allergy effects in various studies, preventing histamine release and inhibiting the release of inflammatory mediators.

To benefit from all those helpful properties of thyme you can just pick some thyme leaves from your garden or buy some of the dried herb. This can then be used in cooking, or made into an aromatic tea by adding boiling water (remember to put a saucer over your cup or brew in a teapot to stop the antimicrobial volatile oils escaping with the steam). Another lovely way to take thyme is to make a soothing syrup with a strong infusion. Strain out the leaves after you have made your infusion, then add the liquid to an equal quantity of honey and boil with a lid on until it thickens. This is a particularly palatable way to take thyme and is good for children who won’t drink teas! You’ll only need a teaspoonful at a time and it’ll help to soothe a sore throat.


Elecampane is often planted in gardens due to its tall stature and beautiful flowers. It is a relative of the sunflower and you can see the resemblance in the cheery, long, yellow petals and in its graceful height. This plant can grow taller than a human! Elecampane takes its botanical name, Inula helenium, from the legend of Helen of Troy. Legend has it that the plant sprung up in the places where her tears fell when she was kidnapped from her home.

Elecampane is most famous for its ability to strengthen and support the respiratory system. It is known as one of the best herbal expectorants for congested and stuck mucus in the chest, phlegm-y coughs, and for many respiratory infections, such as bronchitis. It can reach deep into the lungs and gets things moving again by clearing and releasing old infected mucus. Emotionally it is also used for grief and sadness that is stored in the lungs.


Yerba Santa leaves warm and stimulate the respiratory system; reduce inflammation in the sinuses, throat, and lungs; and dry excessive secretions of the lungs or upper respiratory tract. Take the leaf tincture to relieve chronic asthma, bronchitis, or seasonal allergies accompanied by copious and easily expectorated mucus discharge, but keep in mind that yerba santa leaves can be very astringent, you will find that yerba santa first gently dries and then remoistens and refreshes the mucous membranes.

The cooled tea or the tincture in room temperature water speeds the healing of urinary tract infections characterized by mucus discharge. The tea drunk hot or the tincture in hot water promotes sweating and increases circulation to the extremities and the surface of the skin.

Also known as consumptive’s weed, yerba santa leaf has a history of use for treating tubercular cough and wasting away. Its high flavonoid content, represented by its sweet taste, points to its ability to nourish, build, and maintain the integrity of tissues.

Yerba santa has a very interesting taste characteristic—it starts out bitter and slowly gets sweeter. It teaches us how to find sweetness in the bitter experiences of life by bringing awareness to the initiatory power of trauma. In a similar way through its association with fire, yerba santa aligns us with the myth of the phoenix rising from the ashes.

Burn the leaves as smudge to purify spaces and to clear heavy or dark energies from people. Crush the leaves and add them to herbal smoking mixes to help clear mucus from the lungs.


Valerian is most popularly used as a sleep aid due to its concentration of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This neurotransmitter sends a chemical message through the brain and nervous system to reduce the activity of neurons or nerve cells. This can create a sedative effect, decrease the time it takes to fall asleep and improve sleep quality. GABA can also calm anxiety by stabilizing the central nervous system.

The reason that Valerian was added to our Osha Syrup blend is mostly for its Anti-Spasmodic qualities. Most of the other herbs in this syrup are expectorants which work with the body to remove excess mucus. Valerian is calming and soothing to counteract the severity of coughing. 



Mullein to be thought of in treating congestion and dry coughs, as it is an excellent expectorant. An expectorant aids the lungs in expelling mucous and phlegm by loosening it from the walls of the lungs and allowing it to be coughed up; thus, Mullein will stimulate coughing, even though that’s the symptom being treated. What Mullein is really doing is assisting the body’s natural response to congestion – coughing – to be more effective. A strong tea, the tincture, and even smoking the dried leaves can achieve this end. Mullein is especially good for treating dry coughs that shake the frame of the body, and should be thought of whenever there is “wheezing”.

The flowers have nervine and analgesic qualities in addition to being anti-inflammatory. Mullein flower oil is best-known as an earache remedy that is gentle and effective for children & adults, and this oil can also be used topically on any inflammation or nerve pain. Mullein flower oil or mullein leaf salve can be a useful remedy for hemorrhoids.


Honey helps to heal the stomach, pancreas and lungs as it tones, soothes and nourishes the linings of these organs. Honey contains antibiotic properties that can help protect against various diseases, ailments and illnesses.


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