Mahonia Aquifolium – also known as Oregon Grape Root or Berberis Aquifolium
Botanical Names are Berberis aquifolium and Mahonia aquifolium
Its properties are antiproliferative, antimicrobic, antimutagenic and antioxidant.
The berries are edible and are rich in vitamin C but it is the root of the plant that is used for its medicinal properties.
The plant contains alkaloids berberine, berbamine, canadine, and hydrastine. It is believed that these alkaloids inhibit the ability of bacteria to attach to human cells and so prevent the spread of infection.
Oregon Grape root is used for for the natural treatment of atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema and seborrhea (scalp psoriasis).
The roots of mahonia aquifolium contain isoquinoline alkaloids, which include jatrorrhizine, berberine, palmatine, magnaflora and columbine. It is considered that these alkaloids are active plants components that have anti-microbial and antifungal effects.
Alkaloids berberine, jatrorrhizine, and magnoflorine are antioxidant.
Oregon grape (Mahonia/ Berberis aquifolium) extract was found to inhibit the growth of keratinocytes by 50% in vitro. This is useful to manage psoriasis as people with psoriasis have a faster than normal turnover of skin cells in the top layer of the skin.
Laboratory tests have shown that Oregon grape can kill or suppress the growth of candida and other fungal infections, staphylococcus, streptococcus, E. coli, Entamoeba histolytica, Trichomonas vaginalis, Giardia lamblia, Vibrio cholerae, and other harmful microbes.
One of the primary actions of this herb is an improvement of blood flow to the liver. It also stimulates intestinal secretions and bile flow.
Traditionally, a tincture of the herb has been used, orally and topically, to treat eczema, acne, conjunctivitis and herpes.
Additional historical and traditional uses include the treatment of gall bladder disease, hemorrhages and a few forms of cancer.
Animal studies have indicated that it may enhance the performance of some antibiotics but no clinical trials have as yet been carried out.