LATIN NAME: Mahonia aquifolium

FAMILY: Berberidaceae

GENUS: Mahonia

COMMON NAMES: Oregon-grape or Oregon grape

ORIGIN: native to western North America

BOTANICAL INFORMATION: Evergreen shrub of up to 1m high, forming a thicket. The bark on young shoots is pinkish-gray, old shoots are brown-gray, with longitudinal striae. Leaves are complex, odd-pinnate, of up to 15-20 cm length. Flowers in diameter are about 8 mm, collected in multicolor brushes, of light yellow, bright color often with a lemon tint. Berries are oblong-elliptical, up to 10 mm long, covered with fluff, with 2-8 seeds, sweet and sour. Seeds are oblong, 4.5 mm long, chestnut and shiny. Flowering period is in April-May. Fruits ripen in August-September.


The fruits of mahonia contain sugars, tannins, organic acids, P-active and pectin substances, ascorbic acid.

The roots include isoquinoline alkaloids (berberine, hydrastin, berbamin), palmitin, zinc, copper, silicon, manganese, sodium. There are tannins, flavonoids, pectins, organic acids and some microelements (potassium, copper, zinc, etc.) in the bark and branches of the plant.


  • Provides the treatment for dry and scaly skin diseases
  • Helps to improve blood composition
  • Improves the work of the digestive system
  • The fruit has a strong cholagogic property
  • Helps to soften the stool and prevents or eliminates constipation
  • Cures gallbladder diseases
  • Treats hemorrhoids
  • Struggles with irritable bowel syndrome
  • Has an antibacterial and antiviral effect
  • Tends to improve blood circulation and lymph, strengthen the walls of capillaries and vessels
  • Berbamin protects bone marrow and helps to recover from severe stress as chemotherapy
  • The extract of Mahonia increases the activity of insulin, thereby contributes to the reduction of glucose in the blood


The plant of Mahonia is toxic, as there are alkaloids in its composition. Therefore, there are the following contraindications to the use of this plant:

  • pregnancy
  • breast-feeding
  • children's age
  • cholelithiasis
  • gastritis
  • ulcer of the duodenum

Overdose of Mahonia can cause diarrhea and nausea.


Moderate Interaction with Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune):

The organism splits cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) to remove it from the body. Oregon grape can lower the speed of splitting cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune). This can be the reason of having too much cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) in the body and probably be the source of undesirable effects.

Moderate Interaction with Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates):

Some medications such as cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), lovastatin (Mevacor), clarithromycin (Biaxin), indinavir (Crixivan), sildenafil (Viagra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others are metamorphosed and splitted by the liver. Oregon grape can enlarge the speed of splitting some medications by the liver. Simultaneous consumption of Oregon grape and listed medications can strengthen the efficacy as well as undesirable effects of some medications.


The recipe: Pour 100 ml of vodka over 10 gr of crushed Mahonia bark, infuse for 7 days in dark cool place, then strain. Take 5-15 drops diluted with water when having diarrhea, dyspepsia, gout, rheumatism, kidney, liver and gallbladder diseases.

The root extract of the plant is used as a remedy to improve appetite and general strengthening. It also gives an opportunity to: improve metabolism, slow aging, strengthen the immune system, and normalize the work of the heart and blood vessels. The extract contains many antioxidants that help to protect cells in the body from free radicals. An extract copes with hepatitis, clogged and inflamed bile ducts, dysbiosis, and cholecystitis.

“You cannot eat a cluster of grapes at once, but it is very easy if you eat them one by one”

Jacques Roumain

*This article is for informational purposes only. We suggest consulting with a physician before using these or any other herbal supplements.