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Oregon Grape is a broadleaf evergreen shrub that grows well in shady spots commonly found in mountainous regions, and is native to North America prominently in the Pacific Northwest. Also known by the names Holly Leaf Barberry, Mountain Grape, Oregon Grape Holly and Oregon Barberry.
Oregon Grape is easy to identify with it’s holly-like leaves that are dark green, turning orange and eventually red after a few growing seasons. Its blue-black berries resemble grapes that are edible but very tart, high in vitamin C and are food for some birds and animals. The yellow hemaphrodite flowers are pollinated by bees and hummingbirds and the plant spreads by rhizome as well. Oregon Grape has a large yellow tap root that contains the chemical berberine which is also in the plants Goldenseal and Barberry and all three have remarkably similar properties that one can most likely replace the other for ailments and in formulas. Oregon Grape is a member of the Berberidaceae family that includes Barberry, Blue Cohosh and Horny Goat Weed.
Indigenous people in North America used Oregon Grape’s yellow roots to make a yellow dye to colour baskets, wool or porcupine quills. Some people still use it to this day to colour wool. Indigenous people ate the sour fruit in small quantities in absence of tastier fruit. It was common to dry them for the winter. Some people to this day make Oregon Grape jelly with lots of sugar added; and wine is made from the juice.
Oregon Grape Root once known as “Indian Barberry” for it uses by Indigenous people for loss of appetite and debility, gastrointestinal issues, kidneys, as a blood tonic and for rheumatism. Oregon Grape has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to clear damp-heat conditions and used for ailments such as stomach cramping, heartburn, diarrhea, bloating, constipation, fever, restlessness and low mood; and externally to treat skin disorders such as psoriasis, eczema and dandruff and infections.
The taste and energetics of Oregon Grape are bitter, cooling and drying. Oregon Grape has an affinity to the digestive system, liver, gallbladder, mucosal membranes, urinary tract, skin, blood, immune system and lymphatic system. As a liver tonic combined with Milk thistle, Schisandra and Rosemary. As a tonic for the blood and skin combined with Sarsaparilla, Burdock Root, Yellow Dock Root or Nettle Leaf.
How to use:
1 teaspoon of Oregon Grape Root to one cup of boiling water. Simmer for 15 minutes, strain and drink up to three cups a day.
Can be used as a wash on skin or scalp.
Cautions & contraindications:
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or illness. Please consult your healthcare provider prior to the use of this product if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications or have a medical condition. Individual results may vary.