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erbal Medicine Materia Medica

Oregon Mtn Grape

© David L. Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH

Berberis aquifolium


Names: Oregon Grape Root, Mountain Grape.

Habitat: Oregon, N. America, cultivatied as a garden plant elsewhere.

Collection: The underground parts are collected in the autumn,carefully cleaned, cut into slices and dried.

Part Used: Rhizome and root.

Constituents: Alkaloids of the isoquinoline type; berberine, berbamine,hydrastine, oxycanthine.

Actions: Alterative, cholagogue, laxative, anti-emetic, anti-catarrhal,tonic.

Indications: Oregon Grape is similar in action to both Golden Seal andBarberry. If finds its main use in the treatment of chronic and scaly skinconditions such as psoriasis and eczema. As skin problems of thesort are due to systemic causes within the body, the tonic activity of OregonGrape on the liver and gall-bladder may explain its potency. It can be used instomach and gall-bladder conditions, especially where there is associatednausea and vomiting. As a laxative it may safely be used in chronicconstipation.

Priest & Priest tell us that it is a "mildly stimulating tonichepatic and alterative: influences alimentary mucous membrane, stimulatesglandular elements and improves nutrition. Promotes the elimination ofcatabolic residues and stimulates recuperation" They give the followingspecific indications: catarrhal disorders of stomach,intestines and urinary organs. Hepatic torpor, biliousheadache. Eczema, herpes, psoriasis, acne,facial blotches and pimples.

Ellingwood specific for "scaly, pustular and other skin diseasedue to the disordered conditions of the blood. It is the most reliablealterative when the influences of the dyscrasia is apparent in the skin. It isgiven freely during the treatment of skin diseases where an alterative isconsidered an essential part of the treatment." In addition he recommends itfor the following patholgies: pimples, roughness, eczema capitis, eczemagenitalis, puritis, scaly eczema, psoriasis, pityriasis, chronic dermatosis,glandular indurations, ulcerations, syphilis.

Combinations: For skin problems it will combine well with BurdockRoot, Yellow Dock and Cleavers. For gall-bladder problems it may be used withBlack Root and Fringe Tree Bark.

Preparations & Dosage: Decoction: put l-2 teaspoonfuls of the rootin a cup of water, bring to boil and simmer for l0-l5 minutes. This should bedrunk three times a day. Tincture: l-4 ml of the tincture three times a day.

About The Author
Whilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary......more
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