Barberry is a beautiful, evergreen shrub that is native to the temperate and subtropical regions of Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and South America. Scientifically called Berberis vulgaris, the shrub is commonly known with names like mountain grape, pepperidge, berberry and common grape. It has been used in the process of herbal healing in many nations, since ages. Barberry is also used for decorating parks and garden, for its decorative features. The thick horny shrub of barberry was used by people to protect their home from thieves. It has a magical effect in many ailments, like gastrointestinal pains and inflammation of gall bladder. Barberry also helps lower fever and combat infection and bacteria. Read on to know more about the health and nutrition benefits of barberry, along with its chemical composition.
Barberry contains isoquinoline alkaloids (including berberine, berberrubine, bervulcine, berbamine and derivatives, columbamine, isotetrandrine, jatrorrhizine, magnoflorine, oxycanthine and vulvracine), chelidonic acid, resin, tannin, and wax.
Nutrition & Health Benefits Of Eating Barberry
- The berries of barberry are rich in vitamin C, which is required by the body for a healthy and glowing skin. Apart from that, it also helps remove toxic substances from the body and maintain strong bones and teeth.
- It is a wonder herb that helps cure bacterial infection, which can be attributed to the chemical ‘berberine’ present in it. This chemical stimulates certain immune system cells to function better and prevents the bacteria from sticking to human cells, resulting in prevention of the infection.
- The alkaloid berbamine present in barberry helps in the treatment of amebic hepatitis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- The herb helps destroy bacteria on the skin and is also applied topically on burns.
- It effectively works against the bacteria that become resistant to antibiotics, with time.
- Barberry has anti-parasitic and fever-reducing properties, which have made it a winner amongst many herbalists.
- The herb is an immune system stimulant that aids in digestion and treats gastrointestinal pain.
- It helps decrease the heart rate, reduces bronchial constriction, and slows down breathing.
- The anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties of barberry have been used to cure the infection of urinary tract, upper respiratory tract and even the bladder. It is used to treat abnormal uterine bleeding as well.
- Barberry is an inspiring hepatic tonic that controls the mucosa, removes mucoid accumulations, controls excess secretion and improves appetite and assimilation in the body.
- The herb is beneficial in cardiovascular and neural systems and is used to heal epilepsy and convulsions. Besides, it is also used as an alternative treatment for curing tachycardia and hypertension.
- Barberry dilates the blood vessels and thus, aids in lowering the blood pressure.
- Barberry should strictly be avoided by pregnant and nursing women, as it is a uterine stimulant.
- The herb can possibly interact with other medications; hence, it is advisable not to take it without seeking permission from a doctor.
- Excessive usage of barberry should be avoided, as it can lead to stomachache, lethargy, nosebleeds, diarrhea and vomiting, along with kidney problems.
- It should be avoided in hyperthyroid conditions and in cases of excessive flatulence.