I have teenaged girls in the house. I am motivated to keep their skin healthy as it scars easily. A good acne tonic has herbs that sooth inflammation, reduce irritation, clear heat, cleanse “the blood”, fight infection, support the liver/other organs, promotes the movement of waste products like hormones, inhibits the growth of micro-organisms, heal tissues, nourish the skin, and build up the immune system . My “tonic” for them is a tincture with Oregon Grape, burdock, dandelion root, calendula, red clover, and violet leaf.
Mahonia is in the Barberry/Berberidaceae family (flower parts will present in multiples of three). It is an evergreen perennial shrub native to North America. It favors mountain areas on wooded areas below 7000 feet. Oregon Grape tolerates drought and poor soil. Numerous branches can be 3 feet in length. Leaves are alternate, pinnate, bright green, shiny, and leathery. Leaflets are oval shaped, scalloped and have sharp prickly edges that are arranged oppositely on bare veins. This plant has clusters/racemes of yellow flowers that become purple berries. It can grow low to the ground or into a small bush a few feet high depending on its location in the wild or as a cultivar. Roots are knotty, bark brown. Both when living will be bright yellow when cut or broken. Do not confuse it with holly which has darker leaves , sharper margins, white flowers, bright red berries and can grow 15 feet high.
Historically Oregon Grape is thought to be an excellent blood purifier when used internally. It has been used to to treat boils, acne, herpes/cold sores, boils, psoriasis, dandruff and eczema. This plant supports the growth of healthy skin cells. As an anti-inflammatory it has been used to treat joint pain, muscle aches, arthritis, and heart disease. As a bitter stimulant it supports healthy liver, gallbladder, spleen and digestive function,. Herbalist have used this herb to treat anemia, fevers, chills, staph/other infections, food poisoning, candida/yeast, menstrual issues, low appetite, poor assimilation, constipation, diarrhea, STDS, high blood pressure, edema, dry skin, malnutrition, mucus/phlegm buildup, diabetes, jaundice, hepatitis, underactive thyroid, tumors, ulcerated intestine, Chron’s disease, vaginitis, and “growing pains”. It is both an antibiotic and antiseptic. It moves stagnant fluids like lymph, promoting secretion and excretion. It is a good choice for individuals who have a thin body type and “dry”constitution
Oregon Grape is high in bright yellow berberine, making it a more sustainable choice than goldenseal which is endangered.
Parts used :bark and root
Energetics:Bitter, cold, dry
Spiritual/Emotional uses: To digest our emotions and experiences especially when they have become stuck/stagnant or uncomfortable. As a support for energy and concepts to open, unblock, transform and flow again. A good choice when there is criticism, lack of acceptance/trust, hostility, or paranoia in a situation.
Contraindications:long term use might disrupt the balance of healthy gut flora. Avoid use if you have gallstones, are pregnant or have hyperthyroidism. Contains the alkaloid berberine.