Oregon grape is a plant. The root and root-like stem (rhizome) are used to make medicine.
Oregon grape is used for stomach ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach upset, as a bitter tonic, to treat infections, and to cleanse the bowels.
Oregon grape is applied to the skin for a skin disorder called psoriasis and as a disinfectant.
How it works
The chemicals in Oregon grape might help fight bacterial and fungal infections. Oregon grape may also slow the overproduction of skin cells in diseases such as psoriasis.
Some evidence suggests that applying a specific 10% Oregon grape extract cream (Relieva by Apollo Pharmaceutical) can reduce the severity of psoriasis and improve quality of life for people who have psoriasis. It might be as effective as the medication calcipotriene (Dovonex) cream for some people.
Oregon grape cream is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when applied directly to the skin. It can cause some side effects such as itching, burning, irritation, and allergic reactions.There is not enough information to know if Oregon grape is safe when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It'sLIKELY UNSAFEto use Oregon grape if you arepregnant. One of the chemicals in Oregon grape, berberine, may cross theplacentaand might cause harm to thefetus.Braindamage (kernicterus) has been reported in newborn infants exposed to berberine. Berberine can also be transferred to theinfantthroughbreast milk. It's alsoLIKELY UNSAFEto use Oregon grape if you arebreast-feeding due to the berberine in Oregon grape.Are there any interactions with medications?
Children: It's LIKELY UNSAFE to give Oregon grape to children, especially newborns. The berberine in Oregon grape can cause brain damage (kernicterus) in newborns, particularly premature newborns who have jaundice. Jaundice is a condition in which there is yellowing of the eyes and skin caused by bile pigments in the blood. It can happen in newborns who have a different blood type than their mother.
ModerateCyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune)
The body breaks down cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) to get rid of it. Oregon grape might decrease how fast the body breaks down cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune). This might cause there to be too much cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) in the body and potentially cause side effects.Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Oregon grape might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking Oregon grape along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking Oregon grape, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.Some medications changed by the liver include cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), lovastatin (Mevacor), clarithromycin (Biaxin), indinavir (Crixivan), sildenafil (Viagra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.