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Barberry quick review
Botanical description: deciduous and evergreen shrubs from 1-5 m tall with thorny shoots, native to the temperate and subtropical regions of Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and South America. also known as Berberis vulgaris, berberry, pipperridge, jaundice berry, sow berry, mountain grape, Oregon grape.
Active constituents: isoquinoline alkaloids (including berberine, berberrubine, bervulcine, berbamine and derivatives, columbamine, isotetrandrine, jatrorrhizine, magnoflorine, oxycanthine and vulvracine), chelidonic acid, resin, tannin, and wax.
Health benefits : combats infection and bacteria, stimulates the activity of the immune system, and lowers fever. Barberry is a stimulating hepatic tonic which influences the mucosa generally, removes mucoid accumulations, controlls excess secretion, and improves appetite, digestion and assimilation.
Side effects : symptoms of excessive berberine intake include stomach upset, lethargy, nose bleed, skin and eye irritation, and kidney irritation.
 

Barberry


Berberis is a genus of about 450-500 species of deciduous and evergreen shrubs from 1-5 m tall with thorny shoots, native to the temperate and subtropical regions of Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and South America. Barberry is also known as Berberis vulgaris, berberry, pipperridge, jaundice berry, sow berry, mountain grape, Oregon grape, trailing mahonia, berberis, woodsour, and sour-spine. Bright yellow flowers bloom between the months of April and June and become dark, drooping bunches of red berries in the fall. It has arched and hanging branches, with clusters of alternate pale green, stiff and toothed leaves. Leaves turn bright red in response to age, shade, or frost. The wood is often yellow, as well as the pith, the coloration due to the high content of berberine, the plant's most active chemical.
 

Active constituents of barberry


The stem, root bark, and fruit of barberry contain chemicals called isoquinoline alkaloids (including berberine, berberrubine, bervulcine, berbamine and derivatives, columbamine, isotetrandrine, jatrorrhizine, magnoflorine, oxycanthine and vulvracine). Isoquinoline alkaloids have antibacterial, antiparasitic, anti-inflammatory, immune-stimulant, fever reducing, hypotensive, sedative, anticonvulsant, and smooth muscle effects. Other constituents of barberry are chelidonic acid, resin, tannin, and wax. The berries of Berberis vulgaris are a source of vitamin C.
 

Medicinal uses and health benefits of barberry


In traditional folk medicine, barberry has been used to treat diarrhea, reduce fever, improve appetite, relieve upset stomach, and
promote vigor as well as a sense of well-being. Barberry and goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) have very similar therapeutic uses because both herbs contain active substances called berberine alkaloids. These substances have been shown to combat infection and bacteria, stimulate the activity of the immune system, and lower fever. Barberry is an efficient liver cleanser, due to its ability to correct liver function and promote the flow of bile. Barberry has long been used to stimulate bile secretion and the liver in general, as a bitter digestive tonic, diuretic, alterative, and immunostimulant. Berberis is an excellent remedy for correcting liver function and promoting bile flow. Barberry is a stimulating hepatic tonic which influences the mucosa generally, removes mucoid accumulations, controlls excess secretion, and improves appetite, digestion and assimilation. The bitter compounds in barberry, including the alkaloids mentioned above, stimulate digestive function following meals. This herb has been used for many years for gallstones and gallbladder infections and may improve the symptoms of jaundice. It is indicated in congestive jaundice, inflammation of the gall bladder and gallstones. It has also been recommended for renal colic and the treatment of renal calculi, where it is claimed to allay burning and soreness. Barberry is capable of similar action to Metronidazole, a common antiprotozoal medication, but has the advantage of no side effects. External application of barberry has been recommended to reduce the inflammation and pain of bruises, aches, and sprains.
 

Side effects, precautions, interactions of astragalus


Pregnant women should not take barberry because it may cause uterine contractions and trigger miscarriage. Excessive doses should be avoided. Symptoms of excessive berberine intake include stomach upset, lethargy, nose bleed, skin and eye irritation, and kidney irritation. Avoid in hyperthyroid conditions. Do not use in cases of excessive flatulence. Barberry, or any herb containing berberine, has been found to interact with Sumycin, Helidac (Tetrecycline), Vibramycin, Helidac (Tetracycline), Doxycycline, and Achromycin.