Oregon Grape Root, also known as Mountain Grape Root and seldom nowdays as Holly Leaved Barberry, is a native plant on the North American west coast from British Columbia to northern California, occurring in the understory of Douglas-fir forests and in brushlands. It is the state flower of Oregon.
Some regard it as more truly belongiing to the Mahonia species (to which Barberry or Berberis is related) but should easily be distinguished when purchasing as it is seldom sold under any other name than Mountain Grape Root or Oregon Grape Root.
The plants were introducd to the North American continent by European settlers and quickly, the Native American population of First Nationals used the ultra bitter berries as food, eating them raw or making a kind of jam from them. They quickly discovered the root of the plant’s medicinal qualities however and used it as a consequence for appetite loss and general debility amongst other complaints.
Uses and Constituents of Oregon Grape Root:-
It is commonly used medicinally as an effective alternative to the threatened goldenseal. Both plants similarly contain the alkaloid berberine, known as an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial used in the treatment of infection. It also contains Oycanthin.
It is also used in treatment of inflammatory skin diseases such as Eczema and Psoriasis and has been recorded as being used as a diuretic, laxative and tonic. The boiled root is a dye and a very effective hepatic stimulant and equally a decoction of the root s an effective wash for cuts and grazes.