The evergreen shrub the Oregon grape, plentiful along the west coast from Canada to California, has healing powers to alleviate pink eye and other inflammatory skin diseases, ease the digestive tract, and promote recovery from chemotherapy and radiation therapy, according to Discovery Fit & Health.
Oregon’s state flower blooms yellow buds and grows purple berries. It’s also a natural healer. “I thought people would not know that about our state flower,” said Gina Davis, a forester for seven years who has worked for the Coquille Indian Tribe in North Bend, Oregon for the past two years. She has taken to learning about local, wild plants that can double as pain relief and ointments, reported The World.
Davis credits her upbringing with peaking her interest in the healing properties of native plants, and thus inciting her to move away from the idea of Western medicine. “I grew up in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere,” Davis told The World. “And my grandfather was full-blown Cherokee.”
Though bitter due to the presence of alkaloids, the plant is edible. Ingested, the herb has a beneficial effect on the digestive tract, “stimulating the flow of bile, which loosens the stools and helps prevent and sometimes relieves constipation, diverticulosis, gallbladder disease, and hemorrhoids,” reported Discovery Fit & Health. “They may also help people with constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).”
When made into a tincture, an alcohol extract of the root, it’s an effective treatment for pink eye. To create a tincture, according to Discovery Fit & Health: “Mix 1/2 to 1 teaspoon in 2 to 4 ounces of water and sip before each meal. The amount of alcohol in tinctures at this dose is very low and presents no significant problem.”
To consume as a beneficial digestive, drink it in a tea. “Simmer 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried, coarsely chopped root in 1 cup of water for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain out the leftover root (or eat it, if you prefer), and sip the remaining liquid just before eating each substantial meal.”
Storage is important. Keep “dried Oregon grape root away from light and heat. Do not keep longer than one year. Tincture will keep indefinitely if stored away from light and heat,” stated Discovery Fit & Health.