Oregon Grape

Psoriasis Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

What other names is Oregon Grape known by?

Barberry, Berberis aquifolium, Berberis nervosa, Berberis repens, Berberis sonnei, Blue Barberry, Creeping Barberry, Holly Barberry, Holly-Leaved Berberis, Holly Mahonia, Mahonia, Mahonia aquifolium, Mahonia diversifolia, Mahonia Faux Houx, Mahonia à Feuilles de Houx, Mahonia nervosa, Mahonia repens, Mahonie, Mountain-Grape, Oregon Barberry, Oregon-Grape, Oregon Grape-Holly, Scraperoot, Trailing Mahonia, Uva de Oregon, Vigne de l'Oregon, Water-Holly.

What is Oregon Grape?

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.

Possibly Effective for...

  • 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.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Itchy and inflamed skin (eczema). Early research suggests that applying a specific Oregon grape extract cream (Relieva by Apolla Pharmaceutical) for 12 weeks might improve the severity and area of itchy and inflamed skin in people with a skin condition called eczema. However, other research shows that topical application of a cream containing Oregon grape, heart's ease, and gotu kola extracts does not improve eczema.
  • Stomach ulcers.
  • Heartburn.
  • Stomach upset.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of Oregon grape for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Quick GuidePsoriasis Types, Images, Treatments

Psoriasis Types, Images, Treatments

How does Oregon Grape work?

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.

Are there safety concerns?

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.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It's LIKELY UNSAFE to use Oregon grape if you are pregnant. One of the chemicals in Oregon grape, berberine, may cross the placenta and might cause harm to the fetus. Brain damage (kernicterus) has been reported in newborn infants exposed to berberine. Berberine can also be transferred to the infant through breast milk. It's also LIKELY UNSAFE to use Oregon grape if you are breast-feeding due to the berberine in Oregon grape.

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.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

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)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

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.

Dosing considerations for Oregon Grape.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

APPLIED TO THE SKIN:
  • For psoriasis: A specific 10% Oregon grape bark extract cream (Relieva, Apolla Pharmaceutical) is applied to affected areas 2-3 times daily.
FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors