Common name: Barberry, Common Barberry, Jaundice Berry
Part used: Root bark
Habitat: Berberis vulgaris L., also known as common barberry, European barberry or simply barberry, is a shrub in the genus Berberis. It produces edible but sharply acidic berries, which people in many countries eat as a tart and refreshing fruit. The shrub is native to central and southern Europe, northwest Africa and western Asia; it is also naturalised in northern Europe, including the British Isles and Scandinavia, and North America. In the United States and Canada, it has become established in the wild over an area from Nova Scotia to Nebraska, with additional populations in Colorado, Idaho, Washington State, Montana, and British Columbia. Although not naturalised, in rural New Zealand it has been widely cultivated as a hedge on farms. It is cultivated for its fruits in many countries.The berries are edible and rich in vitamin C, though with a very sharp flavor; the thorny shrubs make harvesting them difficult, so in most places, they are not widely consumed.Barberry is closely related to Oregon grape. Barberry, Oregon grape, golden seal and coptis all contain isoquinolone alkaloids. Berberine is the most prominent of these alkaloids.
Constituents: Isoquinoline alkaloids: including berberine (the principle alkaloid), palmatine, oxyacanthine, berbamine, magnoflorine.
- Mild laxative
- Mucosal tonic
Traditional and current uses:
- Gall stones and cholecystitis (under professional supervision)
- Liver complaints; hepattis, cirrhosis, jaundice (but only when there is no obstruction of the bile ducts)
- Gastric infections with loose stools (not viral infections)
- Peptic ulcers and gastritis, particularly when H-Pilori is present
- To modify bowel flora and ease nausea
- Protozoal infections
Disclaimer: The information on this website is provided for educational use only, and is not intended as a replacement for the services of a qualified medical herbalist, doctor or licensed health practitioner. The information contained herein is not diagnostic, always consult a medical health professional before embarking on a treatment programme. Urban Fringe Dispensary disclaims any liability, loss, injury or damage incurred as a consequence of the use and application of the advice given herein.