A few of Oregon Grapes’ many virtues shine more brightly than the rest in terms of absolute indispensibility. One- its broad antimicrobial activity, Two- its liver tonifying functions and Three- its strengthening effect on digestion. For those of you who subscribe to germ theory, we might agree on the importance of having antibacterial agents in our milieu. Though we are host to an incomprehensible number of microorganisms, we may find our immune systems challenged from time to time and requiring of assistance from a seasoned veteran of microbial warfare, the original OG. You see, Oregon Grape has been around the block a few times and has developed an effective, mutually beneficial defensive strategy. It creates a bitter, foul tasting alkaloid that animals (yes, including most of us) rather dislike the taste of. We refrain from stuffing ourselves full of its woody stems and barbed leaves, and in exchange it provides us with berberine, a potent antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal agent, that we only need sparingly. And nobody gets hurt.
Berberine is the stuff of legend. It is found in several other plants that have been revered/exploited/overharvested, such as Goldenseal. Oregon Grape, dear readers, is the West’s Goldenseal (with a different ending, I hope). It is effective for bacterial infections of various origins, including some difficult to treat staph and strep infections. Oregon Grape works well taken internally and/or applied topically depending on the location of the infection or irritation. Many simple gastrointestinal infections are quickly eradicated by treatment with a tincture of Oregon Grape root. It’s a key player in my Tri-Wizard formula based on the indications above, making that formula a particularly broad spectrum approach to infectious agents.
As a mild liver tonic and “blood purifier”, Oregon Grape has helped improve a number of complaints associated with poor liver function. These range from the more clinical sounding disorders such as jaundice and elevated bilirubin levels, to the very uneducated sounding (but no less relevant) diagnosis of “bad blood”. A “blood purifier” is an adjective often used to describe herbs that improve the liver’s ability to detoxify waste products in the body and thus impact the health of the skin. This is most obvious in cases of eczema, psoriasis, acne (including cystic), in which the administration of Oregon Grape often causes noticeable improvement in just days or weeks.
As a bitter tonic and digestive stimulant, Oregon Grape stimulates the release of bile from the gallbladder, aiding in the digestion of fats and oils. By some physiological quirk, a bitter taste in the mouth stimulates all digestive functions, from the production and release of digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid to the physical stimulus of peristalsis which moves food through the digestive tract. For this reason, it is preferable to take Oregon Grape (or any bitter herbs) just prior to eating, as your digestive system will be primed and your meal will proceed without a hiccup. This will have the predictable effect of less bloating, gas, malabsorption and constipation.
Oregon grape. Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? Now available as a Radicle Excellent Extract in 3 sizes. (Also available in the wild in many states).