BARBERRY, PIPPERIDGE BUSH
Herbalists use tincture of barberry bark for liver ailments caused by
alcohol or drug misuse. In Ayurvedic medicine, the herb is used against
parasitic diseases and malaria, while Chinese physicians prescribe it for
dysentery and diarrhoea.
Indigenous to Europe, barberry became unpopular with farmers when it was
discovered to be a host plant for the wheat rust fungus that decimated crops in the 19th
century. It used to be cultivated for its fruit, which make delicious pickles and
sweetmeats. A deciduous shrub, it has clusters of oval leaves and small yellow
flowers from spring to midsummer, followed by oblong red berries with an acid taste.
Bark of stem and root.
Alkaloids, including berberine
and oxycanthine; chelidonic acid; resin; tannins.
Anti-inflammatory; antimicrobial; increases the flow of bile; suppresses nausea and vomiting; a digestive tonic.
Given for jaundice, gallstones and digestive problems with liver involvement following drug or alcohol abuse.
In Ayurvedic medicine, it is used against the parasitic diseases Leishmaniasis and malaria. In Chinese medicine, it is prescribed for dysentery and diarrhoea.
Avoid in pregnancy.