barberry (generic name)

an herbal product -
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Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Agrecejo, almindelig berberis (Danish), alvo (Spanish), berbamine, Berberidaceae (family), berberidis cortex, Berberis aristata, Berberis dumetorum, berberidis radicis cortex, Berberis thunbergii, berberine bisulfate, berberitze, berberrubine, berberry, bervulcine, columbamine, crespino (Italian), curcuma, epine-vinette (French), European barberry, isotetrandine, jatorrhizine, jaundice berry, Lebanon barberry, mountain grape, oxyacanthine, palmatine, pipperidge bush, piprage, red barberry, sauerdorn (German), sowberry, uva-espin (Portuguese), vinettier, vulcracine.

Background

Barberry has been used in Indian folk medicine for centuries, and the Chinese have used berberine, a constituent of barberry, since ancient times. The first available documented use of berberine was in 1933 for trachoma (infectious eye disease).

Historically, barberry was commonly used for its antidiarrheal and antibiotic properties. Barberry is considered tonic, purgative, and antiseptic. As a bitter stomachic tonic, it proves an excellent remedy for dyspepsia and functional derangement of the liver, regulating the digestive powers, and if given in larger doses, acting as a mild purgative and removing constipation. Traditionally, it is used in cases of jaundice, general debility and biliousness (gastric distress), and for diarrhea.

Of most interest throughout history is berberine, an alkaloid found in barberry as well as goldenseal, tree turmeric and Oregon grape. The use of berberine is most commonly used for the management of diarrhea related to cholera and for the treatment of trachomas.

Berberine has promising anti-inflammatory, antineoplastic (anti-cancer), hypoglycemic (blood sugar lowering), and immunomodulating effects. Current investigations into berberine continue. However, the use of barberry as a whole plant has been left relatively unexplored.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Antifungal, antihelminthic (expels worms), antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antimutagenic, antioxidant (free radical scavenging), antiprotozoal (kills protozoa), antiseptic, antiviral, appetite stimulant, arrhythmia (abnormal heart rates), arthritis, back pain (mid and low), cancer, cardiovascular disease, cholecystitis (inflammation of the gall bladder), cholera, cholagogue (bile flow stimulant), congestive heart failure, constipation, diarrhea, diabetes, eye infections, fever (typhus), gallbladder disorders, gallstones, gout (foot inflammation), heartburn, Helicobacter pylori infection, hemorrhoids, hepatoprotection (liver protection against acetaminophen toxicity), hypertension (high blood pressure), indigestion, infections (E. coli), jaundice, liver cirrhosis (hypertyraminemia), malaria, osteoporosis, parasitic infections (leishmania), psoriasis, respiratory disorders, rheumatism, scurvy, sexually transmitted disease (chlamydia), skin graft healing, sore throat, spleen disorders, stomach cramps, stomatitis (mouth sores), thrombocytopenia (low platelet count), tonic, tuberculosis, urinary tract disorders, wound healing (Berberis aristata).
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