The roots of the Oregon grape have long been touted for their medicinal qualities. Native Americans discovered the plant's valuable anti-inflammatory properties and used it frequently to cure conditions of the skin and of the digestive system. In recent years, herbalists and veterinarians have begun to understand that grape root can also benefit our canine companions.
Oregon grape root, also known as sowberry, woodsour or mountain grape, is an evergreen shrub native to the West Coast. Though not an actual grape, it bears edible yellow-green and purple berries that develop in clusters. The root of the plant can treat digestive maladies as well as certain forms of cancer and a handful of uncomfortable skin conditions, including eczema and fungal infections, according to The Herbal Supplement Resource website. The root is not toxic to dogs.
Grape root is celebrated for its antibiotic nature, and it may actually increase the effectiveness of certain antibiotics, according to The Herbal Resource. When used as a topical skin treatment, grape root has been shown to kill or suppress fungal infections and harmful bacteria such as E.coli, Giardia lamblia, streptococcus and staphylococcus. Grape root can benefit the liver and contains flavonoids which may stop the growth of any existing tumors. It may even support the growth of white blood cells, according to the website Canine Cancer.
Grape root can ease the discomfort of canine constipation, provided the difficulty is not caused by a serious internal problem, according to the website Vetinfo. The herb is useful in fighting infection and cleansing a dog's system of yeast, microbes and other bacteria. Grape root is responsible for reducing the swelling of the digestive area, providing relief for the animal.
Grape root is not for every dog or every situation. Dogs who are nursing or pregnant should not ingest grape root, according to the website Lowchens Australia. Dogs with acute liver disease should not have access to the herb. Though grape root's medicinal properties can be valuable under the right circumstances, asking a trusted veterinary professional for advice can give you peace of mind when your canine companion is suffering from skin problems or digestive discomfort.