Berberis vulgaris L.
The barberry is a tall shrub with gray, thorny branches. Bright yellow flowers bloom in the late spring become dark, drooping bunches of red berries in the fall. Puckery but less bitter than cranberries, ripe barberries can be used to make jam. Both the berries and the bark are used in healing. Medicinal use of barberry dates back at least to the time of ancient Egypt, when it was combined with fennel seed to prevent plague. In Europe and the US, Barberry has been used as a bitter tonic, antipyretic, and antihemorrhagic. It has also been used in China in the same fashion, but also for its antimalarial qualities.
The barberry contains its namesake chemical berberine, also found in coptis, goldenseal, Oregon grape root, and turmeric. The herb also contains the B-vitamin thiamine, vitamin C, the carotenoids beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, chromium, cobalt, and zinc.
The whole root, aerial parts and sometimes the fruiting body.
The whole herb barberry is available in capsules, fluid extracts, tinctures, and ointments. Dried roots of barberry can also be used in tea.
Specific: Not for use in pregnancy except under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner.
For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.