Barbery, Berberidis, Gouan, Pepperidge bush, Jaundice berry, Sowberry.
Anti-pyretic, anti-haemorrhagic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, alternative cholagogue, hepatic, laxative.
Alkaloids berberine, oxycanthine, berbamine, bervulcine columbamine, isotetrandrine, jatorrhizine magnoflorine, vulvracine, resin, chelidonic acid, tannins.
One of the mildest and best liver tonics, being used for jaundice, hepatitis and diabetes. It is highly bactericidal, amoebicidal and is also useful for treating gallstones. As a bitter tonic, it stimulates digestion, acts as a mild laxative and can be used for inflammatory arthritic and rheumatic complaints. It promotes the secretion of bile so it is good for sluggish livers. Berberine is a very potent alkaloid which is active against cholera and Staphylococcus or Golden staph. Another alkaloid, Berbamine, acts against some strains of staphylococcus, Escherichia coli, Streptococcus viridans, Salmonella typhi and Pseudomonas aeraginosa. Berbamine has also been shown to increase white blood cell and platelet counts. Many of Barberry’s alkaloids are anti-neoplastic so it would be of use in cancer treatment. It has also been used successfully to treat Leish maniasis (which is an infection transmitted by sandflys). Research has shown it to dilate the arteries hence lowering blood pressure. Barberry can be used in place of Golden Seal. Contra: Not to be taken in pregnancy as Berberine (which is present in Golden Seal) stimulates the uterus. contains a compound which is a MAO - A inhibitors therefore should not be used by anyone taking SSRI's or antidepressants.