Oregon grape root
and barberry
Mahonia spp.

Oregon grape root and barberry - Mahonia spp. (in the Berberidaceae or Barberry family)

Part used: Root bark and stem bark.

Taste/smell: Bitter, astringent.

Tendencies: Drying, cooling.

Dosage: Decoction: 1 teaspoon of bark per cup of water; or 1:5 dry root bark liquid extract: 10-60 drops 1-4 times per day.

Mental picture and specific indications: Oregon grape root should be considered when there is a picture of atonic mucous membranes, lack of strength and fatigue, especially when associated with digestive problems.The individual may have nausea and hunger both after eating. It is specifi c for low grade internalized heat or infectious conditions, headaches starting in the occiput and spreading over the right side of the head to the eyes, with bulging blood vessels in the temples and the tongue thickly coated with yellowish-brown coating.

Use: (a) Astringent, (b) Anti-microbial, (c) Alterative, (d) Vulnerary, (e) Anti-inflammatory, (f) Cholagogue, (g) Choleretic, (h) Stomachic, (i) Mild laxative, (j) Antioxidant, (k) Anti-tumor activity, (l) Supports the immune system, (m) Promotes elimination of catabolic residues.

Oregon grape root is used for a sluggish gastrointestinal system, respiratory tract and urinary tract, infectious conditions of the stomach and intestines, liver congestion, chronic cholecystitis, skin conditions like psoriasis, dry eczema, acne and rheumatism.

Berberine, found in gold thread (Coptis chinensis), goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) and oregon grape root (Mahonia spp.), is a choleretic shown to triple bile secretion for 1.5 hours and is effective against bacteria, yeast and protozoa. Clinically, berberine has been used to treat giardia, cholera, amebiasis, as well as visceral and cutaneous leishmaniasis. Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) extract inhibited RC mammary carcinoma in mice.

Contraindications: It is contraindicated in pregnancy due to the uterine stimulants, berberine, palmatine, jatorrhizine and columbamine.

Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.