Barberry Root is also known by the names Oregon Grape Root, Rocky Mountain Grape and Berberry. In the Far East, berberine-containing plants were specifically used for bacillary dysentery diarrhea and typhus fever. The fresh juice was used for mouthwash to strengthen gums or gargle.
Historically, Barberry was also used as a bitter tonic to stimulate digestion, and in the treatment of inflammatory arthritic conditions, sciatica, and rheumatic complaints. It was also indicated for inflammation of the gall bladder and gallstones.
The primary chemical constituents of Barberry include the bitter alkaloids berberine, berbamine and oxyacanthine.
Berberine aids in the secretion of bile and is good for liver problems, acts as a mild purgative, and helps regulate the digestive processes.
The antibacterial properties of the alkaloid berbamine have shown activity against Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Salmonella, Shigella and Eschorichia Coli. It has anti-microbial properties that are especially beneficial for the skin and intestinal tract. It acts against malaria and is effective in the treatment of protozoan infections. Berberine is highly bactericidal, amoeboidal and trypanocidal. It is also active against cholera. This herb is also good for hepatitis, colic, jaundice and diabetes.
Barberry Root has a beneficial effect on the blood pressure by causing a dilatation of the blood vessels. It also appears to be able to reduce an enlarged spleen.
Barberry Root is an excellent herb for correcting liver function and promoting bile flow.
It is used in debilitating conditions marked by poor digestive function and a history of dietary or alcohol abuse, or excessive exposure to drugs, chemicals or industrial pollutants.
The information presented herein by Viable Herbal Solutions is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
History and Uses:
Barberry is a densely branched, deciduous shrub of three to eight feet in heightl. Berberis is a deciduous shrub that has smooth leaves and thorny stems. The genus, Berberis, is thought to be derived from a Phoenician word, barbar, meaning "glossy," in reference to the glossy leaves, and Berberis is also the Arabic name for the fruit. The parts of this plant used medicinally are the root, root bark, stem bark and rhizome berries (some herbalists also use the leaves). Many species of Barberry are found all over the world, and they are all used for similar medicinal purposes by the different medical traditions. The Italians call this herb Holy Thorn, because it is thought to have formed part of the Crown of Thorns. In the Far East, berberine-containing plants were specifically used for bacillary dysentery and diarrhea. Barberry became unpopular with farmers when it was discovered to be a host plant for the wheat rust fungus that decimated crops in the nineteenth century. The yellow root was an important dye for baskets, buckskins and fabric among Native Americans, and the early Spanish-Americans used the yellow root to make neck crucifixes. The ripe berries were pickled in the past and had various culinary uses, and they were also taken for fever or diarrhea, dysentery and typhus fever. The fresh juice was used for mouthwash to strengthen gums or gargle. The primary chemical constituents of Barberry include alkaloids (berberine, berbamine, oxyacanthine), chelidonic acid, resin and tannins. The berries are rich in vitamin C, and the root-bark contains berberine, a bitter alkaloid, that aids in the secretion of bile and is good for liver problems. It also acts as a mild purgative and helps regulate the digestive process. The antibacterial properties of the alkaloid, berbamine, have shown activity against Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Salmonella, Shigella and Eschorichia coli. It has anti-microbial properties that are especially beneficial for the skin and intestinal tract. Barberry is said to have a beneficial effect on blood pressure by causing a dilatation of the blood vessels. This herb has also been used to relieve hepatitis, colic, jaundice, diabetes and consumption. Historically, Barberry was used as a bitter tonic to stimulate digestion and in the treatment of inflammatory arthritis, sciatica and rheumatic complaints. Use of this botanical is believed to decrease heart rate, depress breathing, stimulate intestinal movement, reduce bronchial constriction and kill bacteria on the skin. External applications have included use for sores, burns, ulcers, acne, itch, tetters ringworm, cuts and bruises. It is indicated in congestive jaundice and inflammation of the gallbladder and gallstones. As a bitter tonic with mild laxative effects, Barberry has been used by weak or debilitated people to strengthen and cleanse the system. It is also thought to reduce an enlarged spleen. The herb is said to combat malaria and has been effective in the treatment of protozoan infections. Berberine is highly antibacterial, anti-amoebic and trypanocidal and has been active in vitro and in animals against cholera. It makes a useful compress for inflammatory eye conditions such as blepharitis and conjunctivitis.