I think if you grew up in the Pacific West you’ve stumbled across the prickly, spiny, glossy leaves and deep blue berries of the Oregon grape species. There are three native kinds, Cascade Oregon grape, Shining Oregon grape, and Trailing Oregon grape. They all have similar medicinal properties, just different growing habits.
If you did stumble across these plants, I bet you saw the berries and wanted to eat them. And I bet you were told not to. Too bad, they are in fact edible. Some herbalists use them in lieu of pectin in their jam making. That said, the substantial medicine of the Oregon grape is in the root.
Oregon grape root is rich in the alkaloid berberine. Berberine is quite the medicine, primarily used as a potent antibiotic. It is the same star constituent as in Goldenseal, though Goldenseal contains higher levels of berberine than Oregon grape. Berberine is a excellent infection remedy and has recently caught on as effective for blood sugar management.
Oregon grape root is used best for intestinal infection, helping clear the liver of toxicity, and supporting the digestive process due to it’s bitter taste. I would be most likely to offer Oregon grape tincture as part of a remedy for those who have inflammatory skin conditions (like psoriasis, eczema, or acne) and are also presenting with symptoms of liver stagnation. Typically, inflammatory skin response, impaired digestion, and liver stagnation are a triad.
Symptoms of liver stagnation may include: mood swings, food sensitivities, allergies, wake up groggy, morning nausea, skin conditions, pronounced pms, to name a few.
I hope you are finding it impressive that there are so many medicinal plants thriving around us. I know it inspires me to realize that nature is so competent and capable of provision.
If you are interested in working with herbs for healing, schedule a consult with me! Helping people discover the healing power of plants is what I love to do.
Until next time, Christina