Like the Goldenseal and Blue Cohosh, the Mahonia Mountain Grape also has berberine in the dark bluish fruits. It also shouldn't be consumed in large quantities due to the negative effects (blood flow, blood pressure) from doing so, despite being edible and rich in vitamin C.
Other common names are Mahonia aquifolium, Berberis aquifolium, Oregon grape, Oregon holly-grape (as the leaves look like holly leaves). It's not a true grape, but gets that name due to the cluster and color of the fruits.
- mainly to treat skin issues like infections or psoriasis and dermatitis
- safe on the skin, not safe in large doses when ingested
- centuries of traditional medicinal use
- not a grape, although it looks like it, but edible and safe in small doses
Like the blue cohosh, this plant was also used by Native Amerindians, mainly for treating indigestion.
Where is it found?
It's natively found in western North America, from California up to Alaska, and Alberta to New Mexico. Outside of these native regions, it can be considered an invasive species that will displace native vegetation.
What's it used for?
The root and rhizomes are used to make the herbal medicine. It's used for for stomach ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach upset, as a bitter tonic, to treat infections, and to cleanse the bowels.
Studies have shown it's safe to use when applied to the skin and effective to treat psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and possibly healing second degree burns. The chemicals in the plant may help fight bacterial and fungal infections.
Other potential applications from tradition and theory include: acne, antifungal, antimicrobial, antimutagenic, antioxidant, antiparasitic, appetite stimulant, arthritis, bile flow improvement, blood purifier, colds, conjunctivitis (pinkeye), constipation, cough suppressant, diarrhea, digestion, disorders of stomach and intestines, diuretic (increases urination), dysentery (inflammation of intestine), eye cleansing, eye inflammation, fever, flu, general health maintenance, gonorrhea, heart disease, hemorrhage (bleeding), hepatitis (liver inflammation), herpes, immune system regulation, infections, jaundice, skin diseases, sore throat, syphilis, tonic, tuberculosis, urinary tract infections, vaginitis, yeast infection.
The fruits can be used to make wine, but reguire a lot of sugar to ferment.
The fruits can be used to make a purple due, and the stems and roots to make a yellow dye.
Are there any risks?
It's likely unsafe during pregnancy or when breast feeding. It's also recommended to keep it away from children, especially newborns.
Some medications can last long when taken with Oregon grape, as the liver takes longer to break those medications down. Drug effects can increase, as well as the side effects. These medications include cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), lovastatin (Mevacor), clarithromycin (Biaxin), indinavir (Crixivan), sildenafil (Viagra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.
Thank you for your time and attention. Peace.
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