Berberis vulgaris, also known as Holy Thorn is part of the Berberis vulgaris plant family. Found in England, Scotland, Ireland Europe, Northern Africa and the
temperate parts of Asia.
Other varieties include Nepalese Barberry (Berberis aristata), Indian Barberry (Berberis asiatica), Mountain Grape Oregon Grape (Berberis aquifolium).
Botanical Name: Berberis vulgaris
Common Name: Berbery, European Barberry, Holy Thorn, Jaundice Berry, Pepperidge Bush, Sowberry
Plant Family: Berberidaceae
History: Berberis is the Arabic name of the fruit meaning 'a shell'.
The stem, root bark, and fruit of barberry contain chemicals called isoquinoline alkaloids (berberine is a type of isoquinoline alkaloid), which are the main active ingredients of barberry.
Laboratory studies suggest that these substances have antimicrobial (for example, antibacterial and antiparasitic), anti-inflammatory, immune-stimulant, fever reducing, hypotensive (causing a reduction in blood pressure), sedative, anticonvulsant, and smooth muscle effects. Smooth muscles line the gastrointestinal tract; therefore, this last effect may help improve digestion and reduce stomach pain. Barberry extracts are standardized to contain 8% to 12% isoquinoline alkaloids.
Barberry (as a single herb) should not be taken for more than five to seven days, but it may be used for longer periods if taken in combination with other herbs recommended by a qualified healthcare practitioner. Three to five days is generally sufficient for an upset stomach.
For sore throats, bladder infections, diarrhea, bronchitis, or yeast infections:
It is important to remember that some infections can be very dangerous if not treated with standard antibiotics. Barberry should not be taken in place of a prescription antibiotic.
Medicinal use of Barberry dates back as far as ancient Egypt, when pharaohs and queens took it with Fennel seed to ward off the plague. In Egypt it is still used for fevers associated with pestilence.
Culpepper states, 'Mars owns the shrub'.
In Italy Barberry is called Holy Thorn as legend states that it was used in Jesus's Crown of Thorns
Medicinal Part used: Bark, root-bark, berries
Barberries are sourer but less bitter than cranberries. Both the berries and the bark are used for medicinal purposes.
Barberry is commomly used for:
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.
Infection and Skin disorders
For this reason, barberry is used to ease inflammation and infection of the urinary, gastrointestinal, and respiratory tracts (such as pharyngitis [sore throat], sinusitis, rhinitis [nasal congestion], bronchitis and, traditionally, tuberculosis) as well as candida (yeast) infections of the skin or vagina. Barberry extract may also improve symptoms of certain skin conditions including psoriasis, but further studies are needed to confirm these findings.
Barberry may also be an effective treatment for diarrhea (including traveler's diarrhea and diarrhea caused by food poisoning). A few studies have suggested that barberry improves symptoms faster than antibiotics but may be less effective than the drugs in clearing bacterial organisms out of the intestines. Because of the serious consequences associated with bacterial diarrhea, if barberry is used to ease symptoms, it is best to take the herb along with standard antibiotic therapy for this condition.
Use barberry to reduce diarrhea in children. For this reason, barberry should be used with caution in children and only under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner.
Brain and Nervous System Conditions
Respiratory Tract Conditions
It is used as a gargle for:
Externally Barberry as been used as a lotion/ointment for:
Recommended dosage is as follows:
Do not use Barberry without first talking to your practitioner or healthcare provider if you taking any of the following medications:
Global Herbal Supplies has Barberry available in the following forms:
Information given by our website is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by a physician or other medical professionals. You should not use the information given for diagnosing a health problem or disease. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider. The above information is just a guide to general circumstances and in no way should it contradict the advice that you have been given by your naturopath, medical doctor or specialist.
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