Principal Proposed Uses
The roots and bark of the shrub Mahonia aquifolium (also called Oregon grape) have traditionally been used both orally and topically to treat skin problems. They were also used for other conditions such as gastritis, fever, hemorrhage, jaundice, gall bladder disease, and cancer. In addition, Mahonia was used as a bitter tonic to improve appetite.
According to some experts, M. aquifolium is identical to the plant named Berberis aquifolium , but others point to small distinctions. Berberis vulgaris , commonly called barberry , is a close relative of these herbs, but is not identical.
What Is Oregon Grape Used for Today?
Many studies have been performed on purified berberine, a major chemical constituent of Oregon grape and other herbs such as goldenseal, but it is not clear whether their results apply to the whole herb. In addition, impossibly high dosages of the herb would be required to duplicate the amount of berberine used in many of these studies. (For more information, see the article on Goldenseal .)
What Is the Scientific Evidence for Oregon Grape?
Evidence from two double-blind, placebo-controlled studies and one comparative trial suggest that cream made from the herb Oregon grape may help reduce symptoms of psoriasis, although it does not seem to be as effective as standard medications.
Topical ointments or creams containing 10% Oregon grape extract are generally applied 3 times daily to the affected areas.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 08/2013 -
- Update Date: 08/22/2013 -