Oregon Grape, Time For A Hike!

Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium) is a powerhouse herb! Also known as Holly-leaf barberry, mountain grape, Oregon grape holly, Oregon barberry, blue barberry, creeping barberry, holly barberry, holly-leaved Berberis, holly Mahonia, Mahonia,, Mahonie, scraperoot, trailing Mahonia, Uva de Oregon, Vigne de l’Oregon and water-holly.

Oregon grape has also demonstrated the ability to help lower blood sugar in patients with insulin resistance.

The root of Oregon grape has been used to treat many maladies throughout history, including colds, flu, herpes, hepatitis, syphilis, stomach upset, cancer, stimulating liver function, Fever, Jaundice and supports digestive health.

It can be used as a wash for eye infections, acne, athlete’s foot, gastrointestinal issues, and skin conditions like Psoriasis and Eczema. The berberine slows abnormal cell growth in the skin and reduces inflammation, which, in turn, relieves itching.

The root is also used as a tea to treat Dysentary. It’s an effective treatment of giardia (a type of infectious diarrhea), Yeast and Urinary Tract Infections (UTI). Conversely, it also cleanses the bowels. Even E. coli infections are no match for several doses of Oregon grape. Add a dropper or two of the tincture to a glass of water for quick results.

One of the primary actions of this herb is an improvement of blood flow to the liver, and is a blood purifier.

Toothaches are not to be trifled with. An infected tooth or gum line can turn toxic in a shockingly short amount of time. Herbal medicine is not a substitution for proper dental care, but when a toothache shows up and you don’t have access to a Dentist, you can rub Oregon grape powder directly on the gum to reduce painful swelling and stave off a more serious bacterial infection.

Externally it is a disinfectant. Oregon Grape is perfect for treating wounds by keeping the area free from infection and swelling.

Diluted tincture can be dabbed on a wound after it’s been cleaned.

For infected eye conditions such as conjuntivitis or a Sty , treat topically applying a diluted and thoroughly strained tea to the area.

Salve made with Oregon grape oil is a great addition to every family’s first aid kit.

Some parents prefer to add Oregon grape tincture and calendula tincture diluted with water in a small bottle with a mister top to spray on scraped knees and elbows.

Serious infections of the lungs and the sinuses are no match for consistent care with Oregon Grape.

This is the family friend with viral infections to avoid deadly bacterial infections. The other properties that ease inflammation and pain.

The primary medicinal component of Oregon grape, berberine, has been shown to have Anti-bacterial and Anti-fungal properties. Berberine generally slows down the mobility of the intestinal tract in those with diarrhea; it also inhibits the growth of bacteria and enhances immune cell properties, helping to prevent infections.

Generally more accessible and easily available, it is used in place of Golden Seal offering similar antimicrobial properties.

The berberine alkaloids act on our cell’s DNA to prevent gastrointestinal amoebas from taking hold in the body. This herb may be taken effectively in a variety of forms: tinctures, glycerites, capsules, powder, oil, and in salves.

The tender young leaves of Oregon grape are edible – and have a lemony taste similar to sorrel. The berries are typically not eaten in large quantities due to their tart and bitter flavors, but traditionally were mixed with the berries of Salal, an abundant understory shrub in the PNW, and huckleberries to be dried into fruit leather. A yellow dye extracted from the stems and roots of Oregon Grape was used to dye baskets, fabric, and cordage.

The bitter compounds in Oregon Grape stimulate bile release from the liver and gallbladder, which in turn is supportive to the skin, gastrointestinal tract, and immune system. It can also assist the body’s detoxification processes.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, is a serious staph infection that is resistant to pharmaceutical antibiotics. A constituent of Oregon Grape Root, berberine, has shown it contains a specific multidrug resistance pump inhibitor (MDR Inhibitor) named 5′-methoxyhydnocarpin (5′-MHC), to fight MRSA and works to decrease bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Berberine penetrates the entire plant from its flowers to its roots.

Harvesting and Identification: Late Spring-Late Summer, Oregon Grape is simple to harvest all year. The flowers can be picked in the spring, the berries can be gathered in the summer and the roots and stems can be harvested in the fall and winter. Root should be peeled of the outer bark.

The berries may be frozen or dried for later use. The berries can have as many as 9 seeds per berry which is why Oregon grape makes a better jelly than a jam. When fermented with honey into a melomel or mead, they make a tasty wine with gentle medicinal qualities. Don’t bother harvesting Oregon Grape leaves. These have little to no medicinal value. Dig up the plant in the fall or winter.

Clean the roots thoroughly. While they are still fresh, use a metal scouring sponge and a paring knife to remove the outer bark. The bright orange inner bark is our goal. Use the paring knife to shave off the inner bark for processing. If your Oregon Grape hasn’t been watered much, it will have berberine in the inner root as well. This alkaloid is easy to see so cut the root into serviceable chips for later use as well.

⦁ Side Effects:

Do not use when chronic gastrointestinal irritation or inflammation is present, such as irritable bowel.

Limit use to no more than 7 consecutive days for adults, 3 for children, exercise caution when using in children.

Taking vitamin B6 supplements can give infectious bacteria resistance to the antibacterial toxins in the herb.

Oregon grape is counter indicated for people with Raynaud’s disease as it may produce numbness or tingling sensations with high doses.

Some people report a slightly sedative effect of Oregon grape. For those already using anti-anxiety drugs, Oregon grape is not recommended.

Large amounts of this herb is not recommended (or required) as the tannins can cause stomach upset.

Pregnant or nursing women should only use Oregon grape under the advise of a qualified health specialist.

Discontinue use of Oregon Grape if allergic reactions occur.


Brigham Tea-A Wonder Herb

The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment. Please consult your medical care provider before using herbal medicine, particularly if you have a known medicalcondition or i

Brigham Tea


  • Alternate Names: Mormon Tea, Ma Huang, Green Ephedra, Long Leaf Ephedra, Mountain Joint Fir, Brigham Tea, Whorehouse Tea, Tutupivi, Tuttumpin, Desert Tea, Green Mormon tea and Popotillo
  • Latin Name:

Ephedra viridis, ephedra nevadensis, other genus varieties

  • General Information:

Provides energy, works as a decongestant, and prevents kidney, bladder and urinary tract infection as a diuretic. The stems are blood purifier. Used for anemia, rheumatism, and stomach ulcers This is very different than the Ephedra of ill-repute. Since the ephedrine is paired with a high Vitamin C content it won’t cause a “high” as the stand alone Amphetemine would. It will effectively reduce the symptoms of pollen allergies. It is also effective in minimizing the symptoms of asthma. Ephedra does not cure asthma but in many cases it is very effective in treating the symptoms and thus making life somewhat easier for the sufferer. Continue reading

The Cathar & Albigensian Crusade, The Death of the Langue d’Oc

When the Roman Catholic Church was threatened with the usurpation of it’s influence in matters of knowledge and learning, it began the first crusade against local Europeans.

Golden cereal grain, and red grapes flourished in the fields of the Langue d’Oc. A vibrant area in and around Toulouse, France that paralleled the Spanish-French border, with the Pyrenees Mountains dividing them. With open azure skies and a great deal of sunshine year round, it should have been lovely that year. Instead it’s ancient abbeys villages and castles built into the hillsides of massive mountains like the Montsegur, saw an accumulation of crusaders sent by Pope Innocent III to destroy this vast center of learning. Continue reading

Brythnoth of Essex, Man of Valor, An Example Of Bravery Against The Vikings

Fight or Flight, every man faces it in his lifetime. In that choice we define the rest of our lives. For Brythnoth that moment was 993 AD, against the Vikings.

The Long Serpent made it’s appearance over the horizon despite the prayers of the British, on the Essex Coast, “Save us, O Lord, from the fury of the Northmen!” A prospering country, divided into tiny kingdoms that were undermanned and under defended, stood a ready prey for the Vikings of the 10th Century. Continue reading

Arthur’s Round Table, Gwenivere’s Dowry of Legend

 Where was the Round Table, where Arthur’s Knights met as equals?

As a symbol of equality, the Round Table was reputed to have no head, and no foot; therefore no Knight was lifted one above another.

Considering the time of Arthur, this table would have flouted conventional medieval rules of hierarchy. Traditionally we would see at any table, be it dinner or meeting, the most important and honored guest, usually the King or Lord of the Castle, seated up front, and then according to rank, all members and guests are seated accordingly down the row. Those of highest rank were near the front, and those of the lowest would be seated at the back. The Round Table of Arthurian legend has been portrayed in movies as a meeting place for Arthur and his Knights, in plays as sturdy wooden platforms, and even displayed as a wall hanging in Winchester Castle. The legend further states that the Table was a gift from Gwenevere’s father upon her marriage. A sort of dowry. Ordinarily, a dowry would consist of wealth or land, not a piece of furniture. There are two places that claim to have the round table, Winchester Castle and Edinburgh.

Continue reading

King Arthur of Britain or Scots? Who was the leader behind the Arthurian legend?

References to King Arthur abound in the British Isles, but some claims may have a stronger case than others.

There are as many theories about who King Arthur was, as there are historians. Some of those theories hold real promise, while others seem to be about legends and possibly tourist dollars.

Welsh tradition lays claim to Arthur as their fellow countryman. Scotland also claims Arthur as their own, and the Round Table as an acutal place near Bannockburn. Where the truth lies is perhaps only to be found within the hearts and minds of those who still seek after this fabled King. Continue reading

“The Truth Against the World” A Song of Freedom for the Druids

Rome destroyed much of what we might have known of the Druids. What they can’t change is the actions of good men and women, who give us an insight into their lives.

Druidic Culture for most of us conjures up Rome’s spin of Stonehenge, and even mystically cloaked creatures flitting through foggy woods. With so little of who they were after Rome had rewritten their history, an easier avenue might be to discuss the lives of Druidic followers. Those who fought under it’s banners in the years of the Roman conquest of Britain. As is so often the case, the best evidence of their beliefs can often be discovered in the conduct of their personal lives.

Beginning with a figure who looms large in British history, Boadicea, Boudicca, or Boudica, fought under the banner “The Truth Against the World.” Continue reading