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Also known as the Common Barberry, European Barberry, is a shrub n the genus Berberis. It produces edible but sharply acidic berries, which people in many countries eat as a tart and refreshing fruit. It grows 4 metre high and the leaves are small, oval and broad; and the flowers are yellow. The fruit is a red berry, ripening in late summer. The fruits are an important food for small birds, which disperse seeds in their droppings.
In Europe Barberry fruit is used in making jam, jellies and wine. Whereas, in manufacturing the fruit syrup is used for masking tastes in medicines.
The shrub is native to central and southern Europe, northwest Africa and western Asia. It is also naturalised in northern Europe, including the British Isles, Scandinavia and North America.
Native American Indians used the roots as a general herbal tonic to stimulate appetite. A decoction of the plant has been used as a folk medicine to treat coughs and gastrointestinal ailments such as constipation, diarrhea, dyspepsia, heartburn and loss of appetite. It was thought to increase the flow bile, which is why it was used for liver and gallbladder problems. Topically it was recommended to treat skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne, as well as minor wounds.
In all parts (organs) of the Barberry plant, certain alkaloids such as berberine, oxyaconthine, berbamine, brolicin, and columbamine are found. The amount of alkaloid is higher in the root bark and can be effective in preventing coronary artery disease and possibly reducing the levels of total cholesterol and triglyceride.
How to use:
1 teaspoon of Barberry to one cup of boiling water. Simmer for 15 minutes, strain and drink up to three cups a day.
Cautions & contraindications:
Caution is warranted in the presence of cardiac arrhythmia.
Avoid use if pregnant or breast feeding. There are documented adverse effects, including uterine stimulant effects.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or illness. Please consult your health care provider prior to the use of this product if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications or have a medical condition. Individual results may vary.