Appearance and General Info
Oregon grape are a stiff-branched woody shrub that keeps its leaves year round. The leaves turn purple in the winter and back to green in the summer. The leaves are alternate with jagged edges, and the leaflets are oblong and less than twice as long as broad. The upper surface of the leaves are glossy or
dull, and the lower surface appears to be coated in wax. The flowers are yellow and appear in several clusters early in the season. The berries develop into a dusty purple due and form in clusters like the flowers.
Flowering time: April-June.
Oregon Grape: Medicinal Uses:
It is the rootstock's healing qualities which make it prized by present day herbalists. The yellow roots crushed and dried assist in curing a wide variety of ailments like ulcers, heartburn, rheumatism, kidney problems, and some skin conditions. The active ingredient that makes oregon grape such an effective remedy is an alkaloid called berberine. Berberine stimulates bile secretions and helps promote proper liver function and blood purification by herbalists and homeopaths of the contemporary movement. An ounce of the dried root can be steeped in a cup of boiling water and administered daily so long as the individual experiences no apparent liver problems or overactive liver bile secretion.
Oregon Grape: Edible Uses:
The Oregon grape is a very sour and delicious berry when fully ripe. Oregon grape berries make beautiful as well as delicious and nutritional smoothies. The berries, when broken down make a dark purple stain. They are excellent as a lemon substitute when out in the field and needing to make culinary delights. They are a great addition to jellies, juices wines and pies. The flowers also make an excellent lemonade additive. Depending on the season and location, the Oregon grape can produce its berries in substantial numbers. They keep well in the freezer to be used throughout the winter season. The berries are high in vitamin C and trace minerals.