Plant Profile: Oregon Grape

Oregon Grape
(Mahonia auqifolium; M. repens; Berberis aquifolium)


Energetics: Cooling. Drying. 

Tissue states: Heat & stagnation. 

Taste: Bitter.

Systems Affected: Gallbladder. Gastrointestinal system. Liver. Spleen.

Parts Used: Some say root, others say inner bark of the stem?  Berries are edible but super sour so are typically not palatable unless mixed with sugar. 

Key Components: Alkaloids (berberine, berbamine, oxycanthine, herbamine)

Preparations & dosage: Tincture: 1:5 ratio using dried material with 50% alcohol or 1:2 ratio with 65% alcohol if tincturing fresh material. 

Foundational: Stimulant. Bitter
Primary: Alterative. Cholagogue.

Secondary: Anti-inflammatory. 


Liver stagnation. 
Stimulates the liver and lymph to more effectively do its job of removing toxins from the body. 
Infections in the Gastrointestinal tract. 
Stimulates digestive secretions (release of fluid) meaning they are locally moistening but constitutionally drying. 
Effective against MRSA due to the alkaloid berberine. It stops the pumps in the MRSA bacteria that cause the antibiotic resistance making antibiotics more effective. Many use oregon grape root along side antibiotics so the antibiotics can work more effectively at killing the MRSA.

Combines well with: 




Contraindications: Not for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Oregon grape has been overharvested mostly by the florist industry. Of this reason it is at risk in the wild and has found itself on the United Plant Savers watch list. It is important to be aware and to purchase only organically cultivated oregon grape root.