Oregon Grape Herbal

Oregon Grape

Mahonia aquifolium

PART USED: Root

PROPERTIES: Alterative, Tonic, Stimulant, Expectorant, Emmenagogue, Antiseptic, Laxative, Vulnerary, Hormone Balancing, Antifungal, Antimicrobial

SYSTEMS AFFECTED: Endocrine/Glandular, Nervine, Immune, Lymphatic, Reproductive, Integumentary, Uterine, Cardiovascular, Digestive bitter

POSSIBLE USES: stomach and digestive complaints, treat infections, cleanse bowels, skin disorders

INGREDIENT IN: APL, ASP, BAC, BC, BHM Plus Salve, BHM Salve, BHM, BRON, CD, CF, EB, EUST, FC, FN, FS, GI, HGL, IF, KB, LB, LC, LIC, LT, Miracle Salve, MULC, PPAC, PRT, RC, RC-L, SN, SS, Super C, TRT, TY, YW

As can be seen from the long list of tincture formulations that I have included Oregon Grape in, I have a tremendous respect for this herb and have tried to take advantage of its many healing properties by using it for as many various applications and body systems as I possibly could.

It would take pages just to highlight for a sentence or two each of the many health benefits of Oregon Grape so I will list just a few of my favorites. Oregon Grape is known among herbalists for stimulating liver function, improving the flow of bile, and for cleansing the blood. Oregon Grape also treats infectious conditions of the stomach and intestines.

Oregon Grape contains several alkaloids and has a very bitter taste. The benefits of these alkaloids far outweigh any complaint about taste. Herbal bitters strengthen the digestive tract by stimulating the flow of bile. Oregon Grape has a sedative effect on the smooth muscles lining the intestinal tract so that less pain is felt as the herb stimulates production of bile which loosens waste from the colon walls. This prevents many complications such as constipation, stomach cramps, diverticulosis, hemorrhoids, gallbladder disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. If these conditions already exist, Oregon Grape has constituents which can aid healing, and the sedative effects help with the pain throughout the process.

Some of the alkaloids present in Oregon Grape strengthen bone marrow and are of assistance to chemotherapy and radiation patients.

Berberine is an important part of Oregon Grape (as it is in Goldenseal) and is responsible for a large part of the long list of healing properties of this plant. Plants containing berberine always show a broad spectrum of antibiotic activity. The action of berberine is actually considered to be stronger than that of modern antibiotics but berberine produces no side effects. Effectiveness against strep and staph is a hallmark of berberine containing plants and usually requires only low doses for effectiveness.

A comparison between Goldenseal and Oregon Grape, which grows in the Mountain West where I live, can be found in the chapter on Alterative and Adaptogenic Herbs. These two herbs have very similar properties and healing capabilities.