Oregon Grape Root (Mahonia aquifolium) is an evergreen shrub native to western North America. It is not a member of the grape family, despite the name; it does however produce small purplish-black fruits, which look like tiny grapes.
The most common use for Oregon Grape root is to stimulate liver function. Additionally many herbalists use it to treat ulcers and a host of disorders based in the stomach and intestinal tract plus as a bowel cleanse. This herb is naturally bitter which aids in loosening waste trapped on the walls of the colon and helps to relieve constipation blockages.
Additionally, Oregon Grape Root can be used topically to treat psoriasis, eczema, and other skin conditions where skin becomes dry and flaky.
Every herb has an active ingredient which makes it effective, and Oregon Grape root is no different. This herb contains berberine, which technically is an alkaloid. When ingested, berberine activates an enzyme inside our cells called AMP-activated protein kinase. This enzyme plays a major role in regulating our metabolism and has been shown to lower blood sugar and help with weight loss.
This herb is most commonly used either as a tea (for internal use), or in tincture form (for both internal and topical applications). As with all roots, it is necessary to steep the tea longer than you might when using leaves or flowers.
Avoid using this herb during pregnancy as it may cause unexpected contractions of the uterus. It should not be used long-term (more than seven consecutive days). Wait at least seven days before resuming.
Oregon Grape Root Tea
Use 1 teaspoon of dried root per cup of water. Fill a pot with the mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for twenty to thirty minutes. Alternatively, fill a tea wand with 1 teaspoon of dried root and add boiling water to your cup. Steep the same as above. The tea will be quite bitter, and can be flavored with honey or citrus oil. Drink three times daily.