‘Oregon Grape’ (Mahonia aquifolium)

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP–Living in Natures Love Lifestyles insideawareness.com

Mortartea kettleEdibleDyedeer

by Renee Lindstrom

Oregon Grape

Also known as:  Mountain Grape, Rocky Mountain Grape, Holly Leaf Barberry, Mahonia, Sour Berry,

Uses:  Culinary,  Herbal, Tea, Medicinal, Dye

Parts used:  Flowers, Leaves & Roots

Preparation:  Culinary,  Dye,  Flower Essence,  Infused Water,  Oil, Tea, Tinctures, Vinegar


  • Symbolizes:   Beauty, acceptance and forgiveness
  • Associated with:  3rd (Sacral) Chakra
  • Element:  Water
  • Governed by:  Jupiter

Oregon Grape (Berberis aquifolium)

On any walk around our Greater Victoria Communities you will discover the evergreen Oregon Grape Plant.   It is used extensively in landscaping and grows wild along trails and in the underbrush of the forest canapes.  In the forest it’s blooms are less abundant  likely due to the lack of sun.  The one pictured above is one of two new plants to this garden heavy with flowers for it’s size.   These two plants will be the lower, spreading shrub type of Oregon Grape.  You can find taller bushes that grow to 6 to 10 feet high.  .

It is a good landscaping plant for our area as it is drought resistant, however, with lack of water over a long period it begins to look thirsty!

Health & Wellness

The roots, leaves and berries are used for medicinal remedies and the flowers are edible. This plant is sour so one’s liver would love it!  Most bitter herbs are considered to have some effect on the liver and the gallbladder.  In Chinese medicine the Liver is considered to be the General of the body because it directs so many physiological functions.


Infused oil & tinctures using oregon grape berries

Oregon grape contains isoquinoline alkaloids which includes berberine, berbamine, and hydrastine. These alkaloids are strong antiseptics and reduce the severity of infection and skin conditions such as psoriasis.  Berberine can lower blood glucose levels, stop infections and modulate inflammation.

Infections Oregon Grape have been used to treat and currently being researched  for:

  • stimulate thyroid & balance hormone production
  • sore throats,
  • eye infections,
  • vaginal infections,
  • wounds on the skin,
  • mouth infections,
  • inflammatory bowel conditions,
  • infectious diarrhea ,
  • infections in the upper digestive tract,
  • urinary tract infections

Other uses of Oregon Grape are for:

  • headaches,
  • poor digestion,
  • blood purifier
  • acne,
  • boils,
  • eczema,
  • herpes,
  • psoriasis,
  • colorectal cancer,
  • liver cancer
Pic by Renee Lindstrom

Oregon Berries Plant Dye

I create tinctures, oils & dyes using all parts of the Oregon Grape; roots, leaves, flowers & berries.

Personal note – August 14, ’17

For an infection I picked Oregon Grape Leaves to make an infusion.  The infection was 40 percent cleared up the first day, over 80 percent the next and on the third day it was almost gone.  I did notice other area’s detoxing as well that were not the focus of taking Oregon Grape as a medicinal.  It appears I may have had a low grade sinus infection without knowing and it seems to be detoxing my elimination system!    On the evening of the 3rd day of drinking Oregon Grape’s infusion I began to notice a difference in my thyroid.  At first it was the swelling around this area of my neck had reduced.  Waking the next morning I began to become aware of a difference in my metabolism around my thyroid and through my adrenals!  I am pleasantly and happily surprised as it seems to be supporting an increase in energy and reducing fatique.     Renee Lindstrom

Infusion for Infection’s – Stronger than tea

I take 9 or so leaves and put in small pot of water.  Bring to a rolling boil, turn down and simmer until approximately half infusion is left.  Drink during the day. I drink up to 3 cups throughout the day spaced to support resolving infection.

It is recommended that one only take Oregon Grape remedies for up to 30 days before taking a break.

Harvesting Oregon Grape

The Oregon Grape is being used as a substitute for Goldenseal by many herbalists as Goldenseal is no longer abundant in North America.  Currently science is trying to patent the complex Oregon Grape that results in over harvesting.  This is the cause of  Goldenseal disappearing.  If you are foraging and harvesting the roots it is recommended to leave roots behind to regrow.  If you are harvesting the leaves, do not strip the plant. Leave enough for it to be vital over winter and regrow the following spring.  If you are picking the berries, leave 1/3 of them.

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Traditional uses and properties of herbs are for educational purposes only.  This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  Every attempt has been made for accuracy, but none is guaranteed. Any serious health concerns or if you are pregnant, you should always check with your health care practitioner before self-administering herbs.

Copyright 2014 – 2020  Living in Nature’s Love by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP,
Feldenkrais® Practitioner since 2007, Communication & Empathy Coach since 2004, Art of Placement  since  2000