Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:

  • Mahonia aquifolium, Berberis aquifolium, faux houx, tall Oregon grape, holly leaved barberry, Oregon holly-grape


Oregon grape is a small shrub that grows in North America. The root has been used ease swelling in skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema. Oregon grape can be applied as an ointment or cream. The root has also been used ease digestion and can be made into a tea. Oregon grape can be taken by mouth as a pill, powder, or extract.


There are no advised doses for Oregon grape.

What Research Shows

May Not Be Effective

Not Enough Data to Assess

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It may be safe to take Oregon grape orally in small doses and to use it on the skin for a short time, but rash and a burning sensation are possible. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and children should not use Oregon grape. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.


REFA Atopic Dermatitis

REFA1 Klövekorn W, Tepe A, et al. A randomized, double-blind, vehicle-controlled, half-side comparison with a herbal ointment containing Mahonia aquifolium, Viola tricolor and Centella asiatica for the treatment of mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2007 Nov;45(11):583-591.

REFB Psoriasis

REFB1 Gulliver WP, Donsky HJ. A report on three recent clinical trials using Mahonia aquifolium 10% topical cream and a review of the worldwide clinical experience with Mahonia aquifolium for the treatment of plaque psoriasis. Am J Ther. 2005 Sep-Oct;12(5):398-406.

REFB2 Bernstein S, Donsky H, et al. Treatment of mild to moderate psoriasis with Reliéva, a Mahonia aquifolium extract—a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Am J Ther. 2006;13(2):121-126.

REFB3 Reuter J, Merfort I, et al. Botanicals in dermatology: an evidence-based review. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2010;11(4):247-267.

REFB4 Farahnik B, Sharma D, et al. Topical Botanical Agents for the Treatment of Psoriasis: A Systematic Review. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2017 Aug;18(4):451-468.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
  • Review Date: 02/2020
  • Update Date: 06/17/2020