Exit

Nutritional Supplement

Oregon Grape

Parts Used & Where Grown

Oregon grape is an evergreen shrub which grows throughout the American northwest. It is somewhat misnamed, as the fruit are not actually grapes. It is, however, grown in Oregon (it is the official state flower). Oregon grape is a close relative of barberry (Berberis vulgaris), and shares many common uses and constituents. The root is used medicinally.

How It Works

Alkaloids, including berberine, berbamine, canadine, and hydrastine, may account for the activity of Oregon grape. Isolated berberine has been shown to effectively treat diarrhea in patients infected with E. coli.1 One of the ways berberine may ease diarrhea is by slowing the transit time in the intestine.2 Berberine inhibits the ability of bacteria to attach to human cells, which helps prevent infections, particularly in the throat, intestines, and urinary tract.3 These actions, coupled with berberine’s ability to enhance immune cell function,4 make Oregon grape possibly useful for mild infections although clinical trials are lacking on the whole root.

In one clinical trial, an ointment of Oregon grape was found to be mildly effective for reducing skin irritation, inflammation and itching in people with mild to moderate psoriasis.5 Whole Oregon grape extracts were shown in one pharmacological study to reduce inflammation (often associated with psoriasis) and stimulate the white blood cells known as macrophages.6 In this study, isolated alkaloids from Oregon grape did not have these actions. This suggests that something besides alkaloids are important to the properties of Oregon grape responsible for reducing inflammation.

The bitter-tasting compounds as well as the alkaloids in Oregon grape root are thought to stimulate digestive function.

References

1. Rabbani GH, Butler T, Knight J, et al. Randomized controlled trial of berberine sulfate therapy for diarrhea due to enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli and Vibrio cholerae. J Infect Dis 1987;155:979-84.

2. Eaker EY, Sninsky CA. Effect of berberine on myoelectric activity and transit of the small intestine in rats. Gastroenterol 1989;96:1506-13.

3. Sun D, Courtney HS, Beachey EH. Berberine sulfate blocks adherence of Streptococcus pyogenes to epithelial cells, fibronectin, and hexadecane. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 1988;32:1370-4.

4. Kumazawa Y, Itagaki A, Fukumoto M, et al. Activation of peritoneal macrophages by berberine-type alkaloids in terms of induction of cytostatic activity. Int J Immunopharmacol 1984;6:587-92.

5. Wiesenauer M, Lüdtke R. Mahonia aquifolium in patients with psoriasis vulgaris—an intraindividual study. Phytomedicine 1996;3:231-5.

6. Galle K, Müller-Jakic B, Proebstle A, et al. Analytical and pharmacological studies on Mahonia aquifolium. Phytomedicine 1994;1:59-62.

7. Schulz V, Hänsel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy: A Physician's Guide to Herbal Medicine. 3rd ed, Berlin: Springer, 1998, 168-73.

8. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 425-6.

9. Tewari JP, Srivastava MC, Bajpai JL. Pharmacologic studies of Achillea millefolium Linn. Indian J Med Sci 1994;28(8):331-6.

10. Khin-Maung-U, Myo-Khin, Nyunt-Nyunt-Wai, et al. Clinical trial of berberine in acute watery diarrhoea. Br Med J 1985;291:1601-5.

11. Gupte S. Use of berberine in treatment of giardiasis. Am J Dis Child 1975;129:866.

12. Choudhry VP, Sabir M, Bhide VN. Berberine in giardiasis. Indian Pediatr 1972;9:143-6.

13. Kaneda Y, Torii M, Tanaka T, Aikawa M. In vitro effects of berberine sulphate on the growth and structure of Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia lamblia and Trichomonas vaginalis. Ann Trop Med Parasitol 1991;85:417-25.

14. Wiesenauer M, Lüdtke R. Mahonia aquifolium in patients with psoriasis vulgaris—an intraindividual study. Phytomedicine 1996;3:231-5.

15. Galle K, Müller-Jakic B, Proebstle A, et al. Analytical and pharmacological studies on Mahonia aquifolium. Phytomedicine 1994;1:59-62.

16. Sun DX, Abraham SN, Beachey EH. Influence of berberine sulfate on synthesis and expression of pap fimbrial adhesin in uropathogenic Escherichia coli. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 1988;32:1274-7.

17. Hahn FE, Ciak J. Berberine. Antibiotics 1976;3:577-88 [review].

18. Mahajan VM, Sharma A, Rattan A. Antimycotic activity of berberine sulphate: an alkaloid from an Indian medicinal herb. Sabouraudia 1982;20:79-81.

19. Bhakat MP. Therapeutic trial of Berberine sulphate in non-specific gastroenteritis. Indian Med J 1974;68:19-23.

20. Kamat SA. Clinical trial with berberine hydrochloride for the control of diarrhoea in acute gastroenteritis. J Assoc Physicians India 1967;15:525-9.

21. Desai AB, Shah KM, Shah DM. Berberine in the treatment of diarrhoea. Indian Pediatr 1971;8:462-5.

22. Hahn FE, Ciak J. Berberine. Antibiotics 1976;3:577-88 [review].

23. Mahajan VM, Sharma A, Rattan A. Antimycotic activity of berberine sulphate: an alkaloid from an Indian medicinal herb. Sabouraudia 1982;20:79-81.

24. Bhakat MP. Therapeutic trial of Berberine sulphate in non-specific gastroenteritis. Indian Med J 1974;68:19-23.

25. Kamat SA. Clinical trial with berberine hydrochloride for the control of diarrhoea in acute gastroenteritis. J Assoc Physicians India 1967;15:525-9.

26. Desai AB, Shah KM, Shah DM. Berberine in the treatment of diarrhoea. Indian Pediatr 1971;8:462-5.

27. Babbar OP, Chatwal VK, Ray IB, et al. Effect of berberine chloride eye drops on clinically positive trachoma patients. Ind J Med Res 1982;76:83-8.

28. Duke JA. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1985, 287-8.

29. Chan E. Displacement of bilirubin from albumin by berberine. Biol Neonate 1993;63:201-8.

Copyright © 2019 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved. www.healthnotes.com

Learn more about Healthnotes, the company.

The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2019.