Workshop teaches osha’s medicinal uses, Oct. 12

Kim Culver and wild Angelica

Sign-up for Culver’s Osha Class ends Oct. 10

By Jennifer Pund
Kim Culver loves plants, and in particular Osha. Join the herbalist, Oct. 12 at at 1 p.m., as she introduces Osha—a native plant that has long been known to carry medicinal properties among the Native American tribes of this region—to participants of her hands-on workshop in Nederland.

Using her years of knowledge, Culver will teach students to keep themselves and their loved ones heathy over the cold winter months.

Culver’s love of nature was passed on by her grandfather and she has used that as inspiration with her natural healing practice. “My grandfather was an amateur naturalist. He used to take me out when I was a kid and show me the plants, stars, fossils, rocks, snakes or whatever we came across on our walks,” she explained. “His love stayed with me as I focused on learning plants.”

Studying at the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies, Culver deepened her knowledge. Local “renowned” herbalist and shaman Ann Drucker has been both Culver’s guidance and inspiration for the “wise woman” approach she takes in her practice.

Although Culver loves all plants, Osha is her favorite. Currently endangered from over-harvesting or harvesting at the wrong time, she aims to educate people on how to harvest ethically and get the most out of that they collect.


Osha is a native herb found in the sub-alpine regions of North America and Mexico between 7,000 and 10,000 feet. It is commonly referred to as Bear Root, Bear Medicine, Mountain Ginseng or Colorado Cough Root and can often be mistaken for the very poisonous plant Hemlock, as the leaves are similar. Osha root can be identified by the distinct celery-like odor. It is mostly cultivated in the wild since it grows best in the high Rocky Mountain conditions of deep, moist, organic soils that are hard to reproduce on a farm.

Held in high regard by many Native American tribes, the root, seeds and leaves have long been known to carry medicinal properties. The seeds and leaves were traditionally eaten, while the root is known to soothe coughs and head colds. Most people use Osha at the first signs of sneezing, coughing or a sore throat. The outstanding antiviral properties of the Osha root are also used to support health of the sinuses and as a digestive tonic. Native American Runners would chew Osha to increase their endurance and as treatment for respiratory conditions like inflammation in the lungs. It is also effective against indigestion, ulcers and muscle cramps.

For a $40 fee, Culver will teach workshop participants about the Osha plant, how to identify it and its many medicinal benefits. During the class, students will harvest and prepare medicines while Culver shares stories, recipes and tips for keeping you and your family healthy all year long.

Culver loves sharing the benefits of the plants in our own backyard and says we are lucky to have so many varieties. “I like to focus my classes on some of the more common plants, the ones in your yard. I want people to realize they have Plantain, Dandelion, Roses & Yarrow,” She says. “All are common ‘weeds’, but so helpful.” Plantain is good for skincare, Dandelion is tasty and good for the liver and Roses have great immune support, holds a lot of Vitamin C and fights colds, as does Yarrow.

“More common than Osha, Potentilla grows everywhere and is good for fever, sore throats or irritated or bruised skin.” Culver explains. Potentilla looks similar to strawberries, mostly with three leaflets but with yellow or white flowers and dry inedible fruit.

Culver believes the plants are a gift and want to be used. She encourages to not be intimidated and start slow. Culver says “harvesting herbs like Osha is a great way to nurture and care for your friends and family, plus it’s a great way to spend the day outdoors.”
Pre-registration for Culver’s Osha Workshop is required by Oct. 10. The class will meet in Nederland before car-pooling to another location. Information will be provided to pre-registered participants. For more information or to sign up for the class, contact Kim Culver at 303-378-9811 or e-mail

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