Oregon grape is closely related to a plant known as goldenseal. Goldenseal is an herbal remedy that has been used to treat a number of medical conditions for a long time, and Oregon grape can be taken to treat many of the same conditions. Unlike goldenseal, Oregon grape grows easily and is not threatened with extinction. As a result, many herbalists have been prescribing Oregon grape in situations that once would have called for goldenseal.
Oregon grape root contains alkaloids, which have been shown to treat certain gastrointestinal conditions. The alkaloids stimulate the flow of bile, which can loosen stool. This effect makes Oregon grape useful in treating constipation, hemorrhoids, gallbladder disease, diverticulosis and types of irritable bowel syndrome that cause frequent constipation. The same alkaloid can also protect bone marrow, which makes Oregon grape useful in promoting recovery after chemotherapy and radiation therapies for cancer. While its antibiotic properties are still being studied, Oregon grape seems to help humans recover from diseases such as candida, viral diarrhea and cholera.
One of the most common ways to take Oregon grape is to drink an Oregon grape root tea.
- Simmer 1 to 2 teaspoons (4.9 to 9.9 milliliters) of dried, chopped Oregon grape root in one cup of water for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Strain out the remaining root (although you can eat this steeped root, if you don't mind the bitter taste) and drink the tea, ideally just before eating a meal.
Oregon grape root is also available as a tincture, which is an alcohol extract of the root.
- Mix 1/2 to 1 full teaspoon (2.4 to 4.9 milliliters) of the tincture into 2 to 4 ounces (about 60 to 120 milliliters) of water to drink.
- Again, drink it shortly before eating for best effect.
There are some people who should not take Oregon grape. First, Oregon grape root is not recommended for pregnant women. You should also avoid it if you have certain gastrointestinal conditions, such as high stomach acid, duodenal ulcers or chronic diarrhea. Its taste is also quite bitter, so ingesting it can make some people nauseous - - try a little bit and see how you react before taking a large dose.
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