desert oregon grape
Shrub up to 8ft (2.7m) with showy yellow flowers, yellow-orange-redbrown berries, erect branches, blue-green prickly leaves. Branches can be light brown or purplish-grey. Fruit edible raw or cooked, but has very little flesh, mainly seed. The roots have the strongest medicinal strength. Contains alkaloid berberine, which is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial to treat infections. Has a direct action on the skin when applied topically. Good for gums. Over 80% effective in relieving psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, dandruff, acne and dry scaly skin. Alkaloids extracted from the root and bark have strong anti-microbial, anti-tumor and anti-fungal properties, and are potent antioxidants which neutralize skin damaging free radicals. Also used for prostate, blood cleanser, kidney, liver, gallbladder, diuretic, laxative. Do not take while pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not take with licorice which cancels-out the berberine effectiveness. Inner bark and roots bright yellow and used as yellow dye. Flowers used to make lemonade-type drink. Also related to Mexican Red Barberry (Mahonia haematocarpa), California Barberry (Mahonia pinnata), Creeping Oregon Grape/ Barberry (Mahonia repens)... all of which have similar properties.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz