The barberry (also known as berberis) is a shrub family that is comprised of approximately 450 to 500 different species. The shrubs are evergreen or deciduous and originate in subtropical and temperate regions all over North America, Europe, South America, Africa and Asia. Several parts of barberries (berries, bark and roots) are commonly used for medicinal purposes.
Barberries are shrubs that have thorny and gray branches. The branches can grow to be approximately 9 feet in height. Their flowers are a bright, vibrant yellow or orange color and bloom between April and June. They have six petals and six sepals. During the autumn, barberries develop drooping and dark (deep blue or red) clusters of berries.
Barberries have been used as natural remedies for various ailments for over 2,500 years. They have been commonly used in Indian folk medicine for the treatment of fever, appetite loss, stomach upset, diarrhea, and also for the enhancement of well-being. In modern day Iran, barberries are commonly used to treat biliary conditions, such as heartburn and gallbladder disease.
There are several different forms in which to take barberry. It is available in fluid extract, capsule, topical ointment and tincture forms. To make tea, the dried roots of barberry can be used.
It is vital to exercise caution when taking barberry as a natural treatment option for any condition. There is no clinical evidence on the safety of barberries. However, it is possible that the shrub could cause negative drug interactions with various different types of medications, including anticoagulants, diuretics, antibiotics, antihistamines, diabetes medication, and blood pressure medicine. Because of this, it is important to speak with a medical care provider before taking barberry for any purpose.
When cultivating barberry, it is preferable to plant it in either partial shade or sun. Barberries can tolerate the majority of soil types, and can manage dry conditions. In terms of optimal growing, temperate zones are ideal for barberries. For proper growth, barberries need moderate levels of water. For good shape, pruning is necessary.