Oregon grape | Mahonia aquifolium
Though the name may seem misleading, the fruit of the Oregon grape plant are not actually grapes. In fact, Oregon grape is a flowering shrub that has been used by humans for hundreds of years. The indigenous tribes used this shrub for a range of ailments from fever and arthritis, to jaundice and diarrhea. Motherlove uses Oregon grape root in our Diaper Balm for its antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Why You Might Find it Helpful: What makes the Oregon grape shrub a valuable health aid is the active compounds within its root and stem. One of its main compounds, berberine, has both anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties that can be used to treat skin diseases. Oregon grape is also a key ingredient for our Diaper Balm because of its ability to heal and sanitize gentle areas of the skin without causing irritation or discomfort.
What It Looks Like: Oregon grape is a small, low-growing shrub with evergreen leaves that turn red in the fall. The holly-like leaflets have prickly edges that traditionally grow in pairs. In the spring, it produces small, yellow flowers that bloom in clusters on terminal spikes. The flowers later turn into purple berries that can be made into jam, jellies, or juice.
Things to Know: Due to the fact that Oregon grape has traces of berberine in it, you should not be ingesting the herb if you are pregnant. Of course, it should be known that we use Oregon grape for topical products and do not use them in any oral supplements.