Society for Economic Botany/BSA Economic Botany Section
Turi, Christina , Murch, Susan .
Medicinal and Spiritual Use of North American Ligusticum species, Commonly Known as "osha".
North American Ligusticum species (Apiacieae)are a wild harvested medicinal crop and sold commercially as "osha" as treatment for muscles aches, anxiety, colds and flues. The use of "osha" is supported in ethnobotanical literature. Opler (1923) reported that the Tonkwa require that one must possess L. porteri in order to partake in the peyote ceremony, while Camzine and Bye (1980) observed among the Zuni that both patient and medicine man would chew upon the roots of L. porteri during healing rituals. Jordan (2008)recorded instances of the Plains Apache throwing roots of L. porteri over a fire to help console individuals during rituals associated with mourning. Turner (1980) reported that the Okanagan-Colville peoples used smoke produced from L.canbyi to treat individuals believed to be in a trance, possessed by spirits, or who are ceremonially unconscious. Currently, commercial demand for "osha" has led to a market-driven wild harvest of Ligusticum species, which may be threatening wild populations. Despite growing demand,there is relatively little information available describing the traditional,medicinal and/or spiritual uses, phytochemistry, conservation status,production systems or sustainable use. In vitro grown plants have the potential to provide tissues for commercial products without impacting wild populations. Thus, our research is focused on determining the conservation status of wild populations of Ligusticum in British Columbia, while also developing methods for conservation of Ligusticum germplasm through tissue culture. Furthermore, we are interested in examining the neurotransmitter biochemistry of "osha". Melatonin and serotonin, human neurotransmitters associated with depression, migraines and seasonality disorders, have been detected at relatively high levels in roots and shoots of mature plants and seedlings of Ligusticum porteri and Ligusticum canbyi. Together, the sestudies are leading to new understandings of Ligusticum phytochemistry in hopes of conserving this genus in North America.
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1 - University of British Columbia, Chemistry, 3333 University Way, Kelowna, BC, V1V 1V7, Canada
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Location: Maryland Room/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011
Time: 4:30 PM