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 the sort 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 ins tomach and gall-bladder conditions, especially where there is associated nausea and vomiting. As a laxative it may safely be used in chronic constipation.
Priest & Priest tell us that it is a “mildly stimulating tonic hepatic and alterative: influences alimentary mucous membrane, stimulates glandular elements and improves nutrition. Promotes the elimination of catabolic residues and stimulates recuperation” They give the following specific indications: catarrhal disorders of stomach, intestines and urinary organs. Hepatic torpor, bilious headache. Eczema, herpes, psoriasis, acne, facial blotches and pimples.
Ellingwood specific for “scaly, pustular and other skin disease due to the disordered conditions of the blood. It is the most reliable alterative when the influences of the dyscrasia is apparent in the skin. It is given freely during the treatment of skin diseases where an alterative is considered 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 root in a cup of water, bring to boil and simmer for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.
Tincture: l-4 ml of the tincture three times a day.