Oregon grape is an evergreen shrub that is related to the barberry plant. The Oregon grape is not closely related to grapes, but it gets its name from the purple clusters of berries. The color and slightly duster appearance is similar to that of grapes. Often, it is referred to as the “tall Oregon grape” in order to distinguish it from the “creeping Oregon grape” and “dwarf Oregon grape.” The Oregon grape grows approximately one to five meters tall. It has leathery leaves that resemble holly and stems and twigs that have a thick, corky appearance. The flowers, which grow in late spring, are a bright yellow color. This plant is often used in landscaping similarly to barberry. The plant is suited for low-maintenance plantings and loose hedges. This plant is resistant to summer drought, tolerates poor soils, and does not create excessive leaf litter. The berries of the Oregon grape attract birds.
The purplish-black fruits found on the Oregon grape plant are quite tart and contain large seeds. Sometimes, they are used locally and mixed with Salal to make jelly. The fruit is bitter and generally not eaten unless it is sweetened first. The leaves of the Oregon grape are holly-like and resist wilting. For this reason, the foliage is often used by florists for greenery. Additionally, the inner bark of the larger stems and roots yield a yellow dye.
The Oregon grape plant grows natively on the North American west coast from British Columbia to northern California. It is also the state flower of Oregon. In some areas outside of its native range, this plant has been classified as an invasive exotic species that may displace native vegetation. Oregon grape tonics were first introduced as a medicinal remedy in the late nineteenth century. The herb was marketed as a blood purifier.
Oregon grape is well known for the treatment of skin diseases that are caused by toxins in the blood. This is because it stimulates the action of the liver. It is also one of the best blood cleansers. This herb is also mildly stimulates thyroid function. This herb aids in the assimilation of nutrients, promotes digestions, and is a tonic for all glands. The rhizome and root of the Oregon grape plant are used to provide alterative, antiseptic, blood purifier, cholagogue, hepatic, nephritis, nutritive, and mild purgative properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are copper, manganese, silicon, sodium, vitamin C, and zinc. Primarily, Oregon grape is extremely beneficial in treating acne, blood conditions, blood impurities, eczema, jaundice, liver disorders, psoriasis, and staph infections. Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with rheumatoid arthritis, bronchitis, chronic constipation, hepatitis, herpes, intestinal problems, kidney problems, leucorrhea, lymphatic problems, rheumatism, lack of strength, syphilis, uterine problems, and vaginitis.
In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by Oregon grape, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
More information on Oregon Grape is available at VitaNet ®, LLC Health Food Store. http://vitanetonline.com/
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