Oregon Grape: Herbal Remedies

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Oregon grape can be used in a number  of herbal remedies to improve circulation  and liver function.

Although Oregon grape is not a true grape, it does grow in Oregon. It is indigenous to the temperate rain forests of the Pacific Northwest. The lovely shrub displays bright yellow flowers in the spring and spreads by underground stems known as rhizomes. The tree produces deep purple berries, and its dark green leaves turn bronze, crimson, or purple in the fall.

Uses of Oregon Grape

Berberis preparations are used extensively in herbal remedies for infections and to improve digestion and liver function: Oregon grape improves the flow of blood to the liver and acts as a bitter tonic, stimulating the flow of bile and intestinal secretions. For these reasons, Oregon grape is often used to treat jaundice, hepatitis, poor intestinal tone and function, and general gastrointestinal dysfunction. The berberine alkaloid, a constituent of Oregon grape, has been shown to be of benefit for some patients with cirrhosis of the liver.

Oregon grape is also useful to treat colds, flu, and numerous infections. In the lab, it has been shown to kill or suppress the growth of some of the nastiest pathogens (disease-causing microbes): Candida and other fungi, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, E. coli, Entamoeba histolytica, Trichomonas vaginalis, Giardia lamblia, Vibrio cholerae, and numerous others. Berberine inhibits the ability of bacteria to attach to human cells, which helps prevent and treat infections. And some animal studies suggest that Oregon grape root also can boost the effectiveness of common antibiotics. Herbalists recommend it as an eyewash (because it must be highly diluted, don't try to make the eye preparations yourself), as a vaginal douche, or topically as a skin wash. The tincture is used to treat eczema, acne, herpes, and psoriasis. Oregon grape is an effective alternative to antibiotics in many situations. Check with your naturopathic physician or herbalist regarding the treatment of infectious conditions.

Keep reading to learn about preparations and warnings for Oregon grape.

To learn more about treating common medical conditions at home, try the following links:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies.   Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and each discipline has its own rules about whether practitioners are required to be professionally licensed. If you plan to visit a practitioner, it is recommended that you choose one who is licensed by a recognized national organization and who abides by the organization's standards. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique.