Oregon Grape

Other names: Wild Oregon frapce, holly-leaved barberry, mahonia, california barberry, mountain grape, holly grape, rocky mountain grape root, creeping barberry

Scientific name: Berberis aquifolium, Mahonia aquifolium?, Mahonia (berberis) repens, Mahonia nervosa (Dwarf Oregon-grape_ or cascade oregon-grape

Common names: Mountain Oregon Grape, Trailing Mahonia, Sourberry, Berberry, Holley-Leaved Berberry, Berberis 

Ayurvedic names:

Chinese names:

Bangladesh names:

Arabic names:    عنب اوريجون (I’nab oregon)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Fabaceae?

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Root

Collection: Autumn

Annual/Perennial: Perennial

Height: Up to 6 feet

Actions: Alterative, tonic

Known Constituents:

Constituents Explained: 



Native to the west coast of North America.  The name comes from the clusters of purple fruits that grow that resemble grapes.  It is also the state flower of Oregon., and is often grown as an ornamental plant

The leaves are darker on top than underneath.  The leaves are pinnate (picture) with 5-9 leaflets in pairs that grow along a thick, rough stem.  The edge of the leaf have prickly edges that turn red in autumn.

The yellow flavours have a strong aroma and grow in tense, terminal?? clusters often with 3 heads.  They flower in early springl and turn into ripe dark blue berries.

The dwarf plant is a shrub with compound leaves, 10-20 leaflets with shiny teeth.  The veins rather than going straight down the middle of the leaf run from the middle to the outside of the leaf in a diagonal direction.

The fruit has been fermenteted into wine.

Traditional Use:

A herbal remedy that is growing in popularity.  It is related to Barberry, which is a different plant in  the Berberis species (berberis vulgaris.)

The use of this plant revolves around the liver, gallbladder, stomach and skin.

It is given the name Oregon grape because is grows in abundance In Oregon and California.

The berries turn ripe in autumn and go well in drinks and jellies.  It may have a slight stimulating effect on thyroid.

Clinical Studies:

A clinical study was conducted to determine the efficacy and safety of Reliéva cream in adult patients with atopic dermatitis (eczema). This was an open-label trial in 42 patients with atopic dermatitis treated for 12 weeks with Reliéva cream (a homeopathic product containing Psorberine, a proprietary Mahonia aquifolium extract).

Efficacy and safety was assessed using Eczema Area and Severity Index scores and a Subject Reported Evaluation of Treatment. The results showed significant improvements with respect to Eczema Area and Severity Index scores by comparison to subjects’ baseline scores. 

In addition, subjects responding to a posttreatment evaluation questionnaire indicated a substantial benefit when rating effectiveness, itching, and appearance as a result of using the study preparation. 

Reliéva cream appears to be a safe and effective treatment for adult patients with atopic dermatitis (eczema).


Donsky H, Clarke D. “Relieva, A Mahonia Aquifolium Extract For The Treatment Of Adult Patients With Atopic Dermatitis.” 2007 September-October http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17890932