Introduction of Barberry:European barberry or Berberis vulgaris.

Popular Herbs. ✵The article gives records of the herb Barberry, its English name, Latin name, common names, property and flavor, its botanical source one plant species, ①.Berberis vulgaris L., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of this plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of this plant species, the features of the herb Barberry, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Barberry(European barberry).

Berberis vulgaris:flowering plant English Name: Barberry.
 Latin Name: Berberis vulgaris L.
 Common Names: Berberis, Common barberry, European barberry, Berberry, Pepperidge bush, Pipperidge, Jaundice Berry, Sowberry, Sour-spine, Mountain Grape, Woodsour.
 Property and flavor: The root bark is cold in nature, tastes bitter. The flesh of the fruit is juicy and sour.

 Brief introduction: The Berberis vulgaris is native to central and Southern Europe, it is cultivated for its fruits in many countries.

 Botanical source: Common herbal classics defined the herb Barberry as the dried stem and root bark of the species (1). Berberis vulgaris L. It is a plant species of the Berberis genus, the Berberidaceae family (the barberry family). The dried stem and root bark are used medicinally in North America. In Europe, the fruit and the root bark are used medicinally. This commonly used species is introduced as:

(1).Berberis vulgaris L.

 Berberis vulgaris:flowering plant Botanical description: Berberis vulgaris is also known as European Berberis, a plant of the Berberis genus and Berberidaceae family, it is a deciduous and heavily branched thorny bush, that grows up to 2 meters high, the thorny branches are angular, deeply grooved, and the fresh branch is brownish yellow, old branch gradually turns whitish gray. The thorns are 1~2 cm long and stick out horizontally. The leaves are in bunches and are obovate to elliptoid, 2~4 cm long and narrow, dark green, and reticulated, the edge is dentate. The flowers are yellow, 5~7 cm long, and form dense and hanging clusters.6 yellow sepals and 6 petals with orange honey glands at the base, the 6 stamens burst open at the side. The ovary is superior with a flat stigma. The fruit is a bright scarlet, oblong-cylindrical berry, 10~12 mm long and 6 mm thick. The exocarp is membranous-coriaceous, it usually has 2 seeds. The flowers have a repulsive smell, the stamens lie on the carpels at the slightest touch. The flesh of the fruit is juicy and sour.

 Berberis vulgaris:flowering plant Ecological environment: Berberis vulgaris grows in light deciduous woodland, hedges, shady edge, woodland garden dappled shade, roadsides, clearings, etc. Berberis vulgaris is native to central and Southern Europe, northwest Africa, and Western Asia, and now grows in Northern Europe, including the British Isles and Scandinavia, eastern North America continent, in rural New Zealand, it has been widely cultivated as a hedge on farms.

 Growth characteristics: Berberis vulgaris preferring a sunny position, prefers a warm moist loamy soil, but it is by no means fastidious, succeeding in thin, dry, and shallow soils, grows well in heavy clay soils. Succeeds in full sun or light shade but requires moist soil when grown in the shade of trees.

 Berberis vulgaris is the host plant of wheat rust, which will greatly reduce wheat yield, so some countries or regions prohibit the import or planting of Berberis vulgaris.

 Characters of herbs: Barberries are the ripe fruit of Berberis vulgaris. Barberry rootbark or berberis bark is the dried root bark of Berberis vulgaris. Berberis aquifolium is a closely related American variety that is often used in commercially available Oregon Grape products.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.Cardiovascular effect; ②.Cholagogue effect; ③.Antipyretic effect; ④.Antiboitic effect; ⑤.Stimulation of intestinal peristalsis; ⑥.stimulating the white blood cells or macrophages; etc.

 Medicinal efficacy: The barberry root bark is a source of vitamin C, vitamin C increases immune system activity, stimulates iron absorption, and prevents scurvy in various metabolic processes. Its traditional applications are for stomach upset and ulcers, diarrhea, heartburn, high blood pressure, cough-related congestion, mouth ulcers, sore throat, fever, infections, and abnormal uterine bleeding. In Europe, it was traditionally used to treat symptoms of liver disease. In North America, it was used in controversial cancer therapies in the early 1900s. In homeopathic applications, it is recommended minute amounts for ailments from arthritis, intestinal disorders, sciatica, and herpes. The vitamin C-rich berries are used in jams and jellies, the roots were ever popular as a source of yellow dye.

 The bacteria inhibition effect of the barberry root bark is mainly due to its alkaloid salts, berberine, which can fight bacteria, fungi, and parasites that are responsible for certain wound and urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, cholera, and diarrhea. Its alkaloid berbamine was identified could stimulate the white blood cells or macrophages which are critical to the body's defense force and fight infection, its other effects are identified, as a sedative, anticonvulsant, antifibrillatory, uterine stimulant, blood-pressure-lowering, antispasmodic and amebicide properties.

 In Europe, the barberry fruit decoction is traditionally recommended for lung, spleen, and liver diseases, fresh berry jam or wine can relieve constipation and stimulate the appetite, its berry alcoholic preparation was used for heartburn and stomach cramps, and other conditions including infection, feverish colds, disease of the urinary tract, the barberry root is used in folk medicine for liver malfunctions, gallbladder disease, jaundice, splenopathy, indigestion, diarrhea, tuberculosis, piles, renal disease, urinary tract disorders, gout, rheumatism, arthritis, lumbago, malaria, and leishmaniasis. In homeopathic applications, it is recommended for kidney stones, gout, rheumatism, liver and gallbladder disorders, and dry skin disease.

 In North America, berberine salts were once used in eyedrops to soothe inflamed lids and control allergic conjunctivitis or pink eye, and sore, sensitive, and bloodshot eyes, but it is very uncommon in USA (the United States of America) today.

 Administration of Barberry(European barberry): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Barberry(European barberry)
Herbal classic books: Barberry is used internally as tea mixtures or combination preparations. A tea infusion is prepared of approximately 150 ml of hot water into 1 to 2 teaspoons of whole or squashed Barberries and strained after 10 to 15 minutes. The dosage of the infusion is 2 grams in 250 ml water, to be sipped, the tincture dosage is 20 to 40 drops daily. A herbal decoction is prepared by using a half teaspoon of powdered root bark per cup of water and is drunk once per day. The tincture is taken in dosages of 1 and a half to 3 teaspoons three times daily, the dropperful may be a more appropriate dosage if the alcohol content is high. Homeopathic dosage is recommended as 5 drops, 1 tablet, or 10 globules every 30 to 60 minutes for an acute condition, or 1 to 3 times daily for a chronic condition, or parenterally 1 to mL 3 times daily, or suppositories 2 to 3 times daily, or ointment 1 to 2 times daily.
 Contraindications,Precautions and Adverse Reactions: There are no health hazards or side effects known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages. Berberine and berberine-containing plants are generally considered nontoxic at commonly reported doses, but berberine doses greater than 0.5 grams have been associated with skin and eye irritation, nosebleeding, shortness of breath, lethargy, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. There were cases reported that occurred of kidney irritation and inflammation or fatal poisonings. High doses may alter the normal metabolism of vitamin B. Pregnant women should avoid this herb for it might stimulate the uterine muscles.

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