The Benefits of Barberry

Barberry (also known as Berberis) is a genus of evergreen and deciduous shrubs. Barberries originate in subtropical and temperate areas of North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. They are generally between 5 and 16 feet in height and are notable for their thorny shoots. The plants bear tiny red fruits and have yellow flowers. There are various benefits to barberries, most of which are medicinal.


Barberries are popular ornamental shrubs for the decoration of gardens and parks, with their vibrant yellow flowers and small bright red fruit. Other than for purely ornamental purposes, barberries are also commonly used for property protection against burglars due to the fact that the thorny and thick shrubs function efficiently as a hedge.

Digestive Disorders

Barberry has long been used as a traditional folk medicine for the treatment of digestive discomforts, including indigestion, heartburn, constipation and diarrhea. Barberry consists of berberine, which is a strong agent that works to decrease gastrointestinal pains and enhance digestion.


Barberry consists of an alkaloid by the name of berbamine. Berbamine is capable of reducing inflammation. As a result, the alkaloid is able to treat medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and amebic hepatitis.

Urinary Tract Infections

Barberry is also used to treat urinary tract infections, of UTIs, which are bacterial infections. Berberine is efficient in fighting against bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli, both of which bring on urinary tract infections. The berry components of barberry are more effective than the roots in terms of fighting UTIs.

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About this Author

Isabel Prontes is a freelance writer and traveler residing in Manhattan, NY. She has traveled to five continents and counting. Her work has appeared on a number of websites, such as Travels, and "Happy Living Magazine." Prontes has a professional background in public relations; she received a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Pace University.