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Herbs & Plants

Mahonia bealei

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Botanical Name : Mahonia bealei
Family: Berberidaceae
Genus: Mahonia
Species: M. bealei
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Common Names: Beale’s barberry, Leatherleaf Mahonia, Leatherleaf Holly, Mahorina

Habitat : Mahonia beal is native to E. Asia – W. China in Hupeh, Hubei, Sichuan and Taiwan. It grows in damp woodlands in uplands around 2000 metres.

Description:
Leatherleaf mahonia is an evergreen shrub with large, pinnately compound leaves. It grows in an upright, open and loose, multi-stemmed clump 4-6 ft (1.2-1.8 m) tall and 3-4 ft (0.9-1.2 m) wide. It can get as large as 10 ft (3 m) tall and 8 ft (2.4 m) wide. The erect stems are stiff and unbranched, and the leaves come out in horizontal tiers. The leaves are about 18 in (46 cm) long with 9 to 13 stiff, sharply spiny, hollylike leaflets. The leaflets are dull grayish blue-green above and pale yellowish green below, and about 2-4 in (5-10 cm) long and 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm) wide. The terminal leaflet is larger than the lateral leaflets. The fragrant lemon-yellow flowers, appearing in late winter, are borne in erect racemes 3-6 in (7.6-15 cm) long. The fruit is a berry, first green, then turning bluish black with a grayish bloom. They are about a half inch long and hang in grapelike clusters.

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Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Foundation, Pest tolerant, Massing, Rock garden, Specimen, Woodland garden. Thrives in any good garden soil[11]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Survives under quite heavy tree cover, thriving in dense shade. Prefers a semi-shaded woodland position in a damp, slightly acid to neutral humus-rich soil. The fully dormant plant is hardy to about -20°c, though the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Scarcely distinct from M. japonica, differing mainly in its broader leaflets which are placed closer together on the stem and its erect flower raceme. It is often treated as a subspecies of M. japonica, despite the fact that this species is found in the wild whilst M. japonica is a cultigen and not a wild plant. Plants of the two species are often confused in cultivation. The flowers are sweetly scented. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Extended bloom season in Zones 9A and above, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. It usually germinates in the spring. ‘Green’ seed (harvested when the embryo has fully developed but before the seed case has dried) should be sown as soon as it is harvested and germinates within 6 weeks. Stored seed should be sown as soon as possible in late winter or spring. 3 weeks cold stratification will improve its germination, which should take place in 3 – 6 months at 10°c. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division of suckers in spring. Whilst they can be placed direct into their permanent positions, better results are achieved if they are potted up and placed in a frame until established. Leaf cuttings in the autumn.

Edible Uses:.....Fruit raw or cooked. A pleasant acid flavour, it is nice when added to muesli or porridge. Unfortunately, there is relatively little flesh and a lot of seeds. The fruit is about 10mm long and 6mm wide, it ripens in April/May and if the plant is in a sheltered position the crops can be fairly heavy.

Medicinal Uses:
A decoction of the root and root bark is used in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis, recurring fever and cough in rundown body systems, rheumatoid arthritis, backache, weak knees, dysentery and enteritis. Berberine, universally present in rhizomes of Mahonia species, has marked antibacterial effects and is used as a bitter tonic. Since it is not appreciably absorbed by the body, it is used orally in the treatment of various enteric infections, especially bacterial dysentery. It should not be used with Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of the berberine. Berberine has also shown antitumor activity. The taste is bitter.  The plant detoxifies, reduces inflammations and breaks fevers. Anti-influenza effect of alkaloids from roots of Mahonia bealei. was studied in vitro. The experiment in embryo indicated that the alkaloids at concentration of 0.25 mg/ml obviously inhibited the proliferation of influenza virus Al, and at concentration of 20 mg/ml showed no side-effect on embryo.

The leaf is febrifuge and tonic. A decoction of the root and stems is antiphlogistic, antirheumatic, depurative and febrifuge. A decoction is used in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis, recurring fever and cough in rundown body systems, rheumatoid arthritis, backache, weak knees, dysentery and enteritis. The root and root bark are best harvested in the autumn. Berberine, universally present in rhizomes of Mahonia species, has marked antibacterial effects  and is used as a bitter tonic. Since it is not appreciably absorbed by the body, it is used orally in the treatment of various enteric infections, especially bacterial dysentery. It should not be used with Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of the berberine.  Berberine has also shown antitumour activity.

Other Uses:
The shade tolerant leatherleaf mahonia is a popular shrub in the southern US and similar climates, producing dense clusters of very fragrant, golden yellow flowers. These showy blossoms stand above its evergreen foliage in late winter or early spring when few other plants are blooming. Use this spiny, gangly shrub on the north side of a building, where shade excludes most flowering shrubs. You can plant a leatherleaf mahonia in front of a window, and still be able to see out between the vertical stems and horizontal layered foliage. It often is used as a border or foundation plant as well. The coarse texture and clumsy form may not suit well in a neat, formal garden, but leatherleaf mahonia can be pruned to a single-stemmed specimen. To keep a denser form, prune out a few of the tallest stems each spring to encourage new stem growth from the base. Prune out a few leaves to accentuate the layered effect. With creative pruning, leatherleaf mahonia has a dramatic silhouette.

The fruits are much relished by birds, and are usually devoured within days of ripening. Leatherleaf mahonia can be grown in containers and can be used as a large houseplant.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.floridata.com/ref/m/maho_bea.cfm
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Mahonia+bealei

 

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Herbs & Plants

Oregon-grape (Mahonia aquifolium, Berberidaceae)

Mahonia nervosaImage via Wikip

Botanical Name:Mahonia aquifolium

Kingdom: Plantae

Division: Magnoliophyta

Class: Magnoliopsida

Order: Ranunculales

Family: Berberidaceae

Genus: Mahonia

Species: M. aquifolium

Alternative Names: Alegrita, California Barberry, Japonica, Mahonia, Mountain Grape, Mountain Holly, Pepperidge, Sourberry, Sowberry and Yellow Root.

Habitat:Oregon-grape is a native plant on the North American west coast from British Columbia to northern California, occurring in the understory of Douglas-fir forests and in brushlands. It is the state flower of Oregon.

Description:Oregon-grape (Mahonia aquifolium, Berberidaceae) is an evergreen shrub related to the barberry. Some authors place Mahonia in the barberry genus, Berberis. The Oregon-grape is not closely related to grapes, but gets its name from the purple clusters of berries whose color and slightly dusted appearance is reminiscent of grapes. It is sometimes called Tall Oregon-grape to distinguish it from Creeping Oregon-grape (M. repens) and “Cascade” or Dwarf Oregon-grape (M. nervosa). The name is often left un-hyphenated as Oregon grape, though doing so invites confusion with the true grapes. It also occasionally appears in print as Oregongrape.
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click to see the pictures.

Oregon-grape grows to 1-5 m tall. Its leathery leaves resemble holly and the stems and twigs have a thickened, corky appearance. The flowers, borne in late spring, are an attractive yellow.

Different Uses:Oregon-grape is used in landscaping similarly to barberry, as a plant suited for low-maintenance plantings and loose hedges. Oregon-grape is resistant to summer drought, tolerates poor soils, and does not create excessive leaf litter. Its berries attract birds.

The small purplish-black fruits, which are quite tart and contain large seeds, are sometimes used locally mixed with Salal to make jelly. The fruit is bitter, and generally not eaten without being sweetened first. As the leaves of Oregon-grape are holly-like and resist wilting, the foliage is sometimes used by florists for greenery and a small gathering industry has been established in the Pacific Northwest. The inner bark of the larger stems and roots of Oregon-grape yield a yellow dye.In some areas outside its native range, Oregon-grape has been classified as an invasive exotic species that may displace native vegetation.

Ingredients:The root of Oregon grape contains berberine alkaloids such as berberine and hydrastine. Berberine is one of the active ingredients found in goldenseal that helps bloodshot eyes and sore throats.Oregon grape rhizome and roots have the following properties: alterative, antibiotic, antiseptic, astringent, bitter taste, cholagogue, cooling, diuretic, emetic, laxative, thyroid stimulant. They affect the blood, intestines, liver, skin, spleen and stomach.

Medicinal Use:
The plant is used medicinally by herbalists. Recent studies indicate that M. aquifolium contains a specific multidrug resistance pump inhibitor (MDR Inhibitor) named 5’methoxyhydnocarpin (5’MHC) which works to decrease bacterial resistance to antibiotics and antibacterial agents.

Oregon grape root is commonly used medicinally as an effective alternative to the threatened goldenseal. Both plants similarly contain the alkaloid berberine, known as an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial used in the treatment of infection. Berberine and other alkaloids present in Oregon grape root have been shown to kill a wide range of microbes and have been effective in speeding recovery from giardia, candida, viral diarrhea, and cholera. Mahonia aquifolium is also known to be capable of treatment on inflammatory skin diseases such as Eczema and Psoriasis. Oregon grape root also has anticancer properties that are receiving more attention by researchers.[citation needed] Other actions may include alterative, diuretic, laxative and tonic.

Oregon Grape Root is used as a treatment for skin diseases and as a treatment for prostate infection. It is also used as a blood cleanser, to stimulate the liver and gall bladder, and as a mild laxative. Externally, a decoction of the root bark is used as a liniment for arthritis. Do not use during pregnancy.


Oregon Grape Root is a disinfectant and helps relieve pain during urinary infections. It acts as an antispasmodic and relieves pain from kidney stones and helps clear urine with thick mucus or red sediments. Barberry is also useful for many liver and gall bladder problems, hepatitis, and cirrhosis. It assists in detoxification from effects of poor diet, medications or drugs and helps stimulate the immune system.

Health Warning: Because of a potential toxicity or adverse effects of berberine, consult a reputable herbalist regarding dosages and treatments. Use of berberine is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding.


Traditional uses of Oregon grape include
: acne, arthritis, bronchial congestion, chronic fatigue, eczema, hepatitis, herpes, hypoglycemia, indigestion, lymphatic congestion, menstrual problems, psoriasis, scrofula, syphilis, and vaginitis.

Oregon Grape is rich in vitamin C and has been made into a beverage that was useful for scurvy, fever and upset stomachs. This drink was also used as a mouthwash and gargle. The root soaked in warm beer was said be helpful for cases of hemorrhaging and jaundice.

In modern times, Oregon grape is known as a good liver cleanser. This is due to the fact that it increases bile production. This action also aids digestion and purifies the blood. When combined with dandelion, milk thistle or celandine, it can be very effective in combatting hepatitis B and jaundice.

Oregon grape’s antiseptic properties
make it a useful external application for skin conditions. Internally, its blood purifying properties make it useful for blood conditions as well as skin problems.

Recent studies have shown that berberine containing herbs may be useful for those suffering from diarrhea and especially bacterial dysentery. This high berberine content makes it a good alternative to goldenseal in many cases, including infections.

Doses:Fresh Oregon grape root and rhizome should be used promptly to assure the strongest potency. A decoction is made by steeping 1 teaspoon of the root for 30 minutes in 1-1/2 pints of boiling water. This mixture is then strained before drinking. In capsule form, take 1-2 capsules 2-3 times daily. In liquid form, take 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon daily of Oregon grape.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon-grape
http://www.allnatural.net/herbpages/oregon-grape-root.shtml
http://www.diagnose-me.com/treat/T227473.html

http://www.augustasway.com/herbs.html