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Oregon Grape Root Side Effects

By Linda Tarr Kent

Oregon grape is a relative of barberry that is grown in Oregon, where it is the official state flower. The root is used medicinally by many people and shares common constituents and uses with barberry, according to the University of Michigan. People use it to combat diarrhea, infection, psoriasis, urinary tract infections, poor digestion, parasites and other health concerns. However, scientific evidence to back these uses is scanty. It’s best to consult with a health-care professional before trying any new herb or supplement.

Pregnancy and Nursing Concerns

The alkaloid berberine is one of Oregon grape’s active constituents. It should not be used during pregnancy or breast feeding because berberine-containing plants can worsen jaundice in infants, according to UM. Berberine also has the potential to cause uterine contractions and miscarriage, advises the University of California San Diego.

Drug Interactions

Oregon grape root can interact with certain drugs, including interfering with the effectiveness of the antibiotics doxycycline and tetracycline, according to Blue Shield of California. People should advise health-care providers of any supplements they are taking when medicines are prescribed.

High Dose Effects

High doses of berberine can lead to flu-like symptoms, lowered blood pressure, gastrointestinal discomfort and shortness of breath, according to UCSD.

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