Oregon grape root comes from the mahonia aquifolium plant. One of its most active compounds is berberine. The presence of tannin and phytochemicals add to the medicinal value of Oregon grape and its bitter taste.
Many studies indicate that Oregon grape has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammation, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic and anti-viral properties. It is also able to boost the immune system and produce a sedative effect.
Being an immune booster, Oregon grape extract may help prevent the common cold and flu. Oregon grape root may also shorten the duration of symptoms of bacterial and viral infections.
Because of its anti fungal properties, one of its uses is in the treatment of yeast infection. As an anti-parasitic agent, it is used to get rid of parasitic worms or helminths. It is used in the treatment of malaria by fighting protozoa that cause this disease. It is also used as a treatment for dysentery which is an intestinal inflammation that leads to severe diarrhea.
Another benefit of Oregon grape is in the treatment of skin diseases especially psoriasis. Tannin is one of the active compounds that contribute to reducing or eradicating the symptoms such as red patches, scaly skin, itching and dry cracked skin. There are creams with Oregon grape extract and liquid extract that can be used topically. Taking the supplement or drinking Oregon grape tea would help too.
Oregon grapes may improve the functions of the digestive system. Its sedative effect calms and soothes the digestive tract and may prevent discomforts such as gastritis and stomach cramps.
Some herbalists label Oregon grape as the blood purifying herb. It seems to have the ability to assist in removing wastes and toxins from the liver. It is used as a remedy for gallbladder problems, jaundice and hepatitis B.
Oregon grape is an alternative to goldenseal because both herbs have similar properties and healing effects.