Barberry or the Mountain grape is a medicinal herb which belongs to the family of Berberidaceae that consists of approximately 500 species. It is historically used as a herbal remedy for quite a number of disorders by the tribal’s. The active ingredient in this herb is isoquinolone alkaloids. These components are present in the roots, tuber and bark of the stem. Medicinal use of this herb goes all the way back to 2500 years or more.

The Barberry plant is a deciduous shrub that grows in taut thorny barricades and produces yellow flowers and oval red edible berries. They can tolerate extreme conditions of climate and soil and needs very minimal maintenance. The plant has a tranquilizing, invigorating and astringent property and is used as a effective detoxifier. It has yellowish grey grooved stems and yellowish roots that have 3-pronged spines and toothed leaves.

The Barberry shrub is well known as Berberis Vulgaris, European Barberry, Pipperridge, sow berry to name a few of its synonyms.
The shrub being a native to Central & Southern Europe, Northwest Africa & Western Asia is also domesticated in Northern Africa which includes the British Isles, Scandinavia and North America. The herb is being used in Middle East, India, China, Ireland and Scotland for its medicinal purpose. Close relatives of this family B.aquifolium is found in North America and B.canadensis is found in southern United States.

The herb is found to possess many medicinal powers and has been widely used across the world. Some of the common medicinal effects of this herb are as follows:

  • It is known to boost the bile flow in the liver and herbalists recommend the same for hepatitis.
  • It is believed to increase appetite.
  • Its powerful antiseptic properties are believed to cure cases of amoebic dysentery, cholera, Escherichia coli and other gastrointestinal disorders.
  • Effective in curing heartburns, stomach cramps, coughs, and fevers.
  • Found to dilate blood vessels thereby controlling blood pressure.
  • Research proves that it has extraordinary infection fighting properties.
  • Found to cure urinary tract & vaginal infections.
  • Cures gall stones.
  • It helps in boosting immune system.   
  • Used as a liver tonic and a detoxifying agent.
  • Used as a skin ointment for curing psoriasis and as an eye ointment for curing conjunctivitis.
  • The leaves are dried and used in brewing tea.

Though it has amazing medicinal uses when in overdose causes nauseating and vomiting sensation, may lead to convulsions, reduces pressure in blood, and reduces beating of heart and sterility.

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