Berberis vulgaris (Barberry) plant images & Medicinal uses

Berberis vulgaris (Barberry) plant images & Medicinal uses

Berberis vulgaris (Barberry) is a shrub that is commonly known as European barberry. It belongs to the genus barberries. The plant gives edible berries, which are very acidic in nature. The berries are eaten in several countries as a fruit or the form of a tart. The shrub is mainly cultivated for its fruits all over the world. The shrub grows up to 4 m high. It consists of small oval leaves borne in clusters. Yellow flowers and red berries are the trademarks of the shrubs. The berries are seasonal, ripening during late summer and autumn; these berries are very rich in Vitamin C. The stem bark and root bark are also used for their medicinal purposes. The root is yellowish in colour and contains berberine and berbamine.

Berberis vulgaris (Barberry) plant image

Common name

It is commonly known as Common Barberry, but, in India, it is called Ambarbaris.

Botanical name and family

Botanical name – Berberis vulgaris

Family- Berberidaceae

Common Barberry flowers

Common Barberry flowers

Geological area where Berberis vulgaris (Barberry) grows

Though, a native of central and southern Europe yet the shrub also grows in Western Asia and Northwest Africa. The plant is naturalised in Northern Europe, in countries such as the British Isles and Scandinavia. North America also sees the growth of this shrub. In rural New Zealand, Barberry is cultivated widely for its fruits. In USA and Canada, you can see the shrub in Nova Scotia, Nebraska, Colorado, Washington State, Idaho, Montana, and British Columbia. In India, it is mainly used for healing purposes. Same is the case in China and Middle East.

 Medicinal use of Berberis vulgaris

The barberries are edible and very rich in vitamin C content. It has a sharp flavour. The berries are used to make candies, jams, rice pilaf, tart, chicken dishes, juices, fruit rolls and other desserts. The berries, root, and bark of the shrub are used as the rich sources of berberine.  It has medicinal values such as –

  • It is used as a folk medicine in many countries.
  • It is used to treat acne and scurvy.
  • The berries are also used to treat many gastrointestinal problems and coughs.
  • It has been used to treat gastrointestinal ailments and coughs.
  • The bark and root of the plant are used to treat a cough, cold, respiratory tract diseases, fever, infection, and flu.
  • The plant is also used for getting rid of fever, gout, renal problems.
  • Other ailments that can be treated using the plant include bile diseases, diarrhea, gastric indigestion, rheumatic symptoms, and dermatitis.
  • The plant has antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antidiarrheal properties. It also has antipsoriatic effects and antioxidant activity.
  • The plant treats many face problems such as eczema, and Candida infection.
  • Barberry is also found to be a uterine stimulant.
common barberry fruits

common barberry fruits

Using medicines from barberry during pregnancy or breastfeeding should be only after one consults Ayurvedic medicinal professionals. Some people may experience hypersensitivity after the consumption of the plant, so it is better if one consults an expert before the intake of the products. There are many medicinal uses of the Barberry shrub, but one must know exactly how and when to use it.