Herbal solution: Oregon grape

Last week we had an unexpected wind storm.  I was about the milk the cow when the wind suddenly became violent so I hurried to get done before the electricity shut down the water pump–and my chance to wash the milking equipment and cool the milk.  Well I wasn’t fast enough.  The electricity went out with sparks lighting the sky and a little later when I went out to check the animals in the barn I heard a really loud “crack” followed by “thud” and although it was dark, I figured that a big tree went down. It turned out to be our across the street neighbors’ tree and the tree took out the electric lines to the street and a transformer.  Because we are a dead end street with only eight houses, we figured that our electric company wouldn’t put repairing it as their first priority.  So our electricity was out for about 24 hours.

During that time, we did need to use water.  Our well pump is 220 watts, and we don’t have a generator, just solar panels, batteries and an inverter.  So Billy stretched a hose from our neighbor’s house (the neighbor has a 220 generator) and hooked the hose to our well house.  We had water, but apparently the hoses had some dirt in them.  Although I thought I was careful to only drink filtered water, I did develop a very painful intestinal condition.  I’ll spare you readers the details, but briefly describe how I’m treating this:  I made up a tea using bark peeled from oregon grape roots.  It tastes terrible, but contains berberis, an alkaloid that prevents bacteria from adhering to intestinal walls.  It also gives immediate relief from the associated pain.  I had used this on Lani Moo when she was suffering from a similar condition and was surprised when she didn’t object when she saw me coming to dose her.  I’d fill a big syringe with the tea, grab her nose, force open her mouth and squirt the foul-tasting bitter brew.  So I was surprised when, although I was doing this quite a few times a day that she didn’t run when she saw me, but rather calmly waited for me to grab her nostrils.  Apparently she found the relief worth the bad taste and indignity.  After trying it, I agree.

Oregon grape is one of the more common plants found in the forests in our area. It is best harvested in the Fall. The active ingredient, berberis is can also used as a yellow dye.

I make a tea by scraping clean oregon grape roots with a potato peeler and then boil the strips in water for about 10 minutes. I sip this bitter brew whenever my stomach starts to hurt and it gives immediate, if not permanent relief.


~ by Anuttama on November 22, 2010.

One Response to “Herbal solution: Oregon grape”

  1. Wow, Always something new and interesting! I do wonder though, if you had simply put it in a bucket if she would have willingly slurped it up. I also wonder if you thought about using cayenne and if you know whether or not it would have been effective in this situation? Will have to find me some Oregon grape and try this concoction. Thanks,

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