Traditionally used for correcting liver function, it is helpful in gallbladder inflammation, gallstones and jaundice, to purge parasite infections, tonify and cleanse the bowels.


What is Barberry and what is it good for?

Botanical name: Berberis vulgaris

Barberry is a common garden shrub from Europe and North America. The most common part of the plant used is the dried yellow root, which contains berberine – a bitter alkaloid that aids in the secretion of bile and is good for liver problems, acts as a mild purgative, and helps stimulate digestion. Berberine also has antibiotic actions, so barberry can be useful in infections of the respiratory tract, throat, genitourinary tract and persistent skin infections.

Traditionally used for correcting liver function and promoting the flow of bile. It is helpful in gallbladder inflammation, gallstones and jaundice. It is useful as a bitter digestive tonic and mild laxative. It is used to purge parasite infections, to tonify and cleanse the bowels.

Barberry is a good alternative to other berberine-containing plants such as Goldenseal (which is under threat from over-harvesting).

There are many barberry varieties including:

  • Japanese barberry
  • Evergreen barberry
  • Yellow barberry
  • Crimson pygmy barberry
  • Orange rocket barberry
  • Concorde barberry

Barberries are the tart, red berries of the Berberis vulgaris plant. They contain a unique compound called berberine, which acts as an antioxidant. It may help improve blood sugar control, treat diarrhoea, and fight inflammation related to dental infections and acne.

  • Eases Up Inflammation and Infections
  • Beneficial in treating Diarrhea
  • Controls Blood Sugar
  • Detoxifies Blood
  • Treat Gastrointestinal Infections
  • Controls Cholesterol levels
  • Eye Health
  • Stimulates the WBC Production
  • Balance menstrual problems
  • Lowers Blood Pressure
  • Improves Flow of Blood
  • Improves Digestion
  • Treats Skin Disorders
  • Treat Anemia
  • Urinary Tract Treatment
  • Supports cardiovascular and neural system


The most active preparation is a herbal tincture, however, the powdered or boiled root is also effective. Usually effective at quite small doses.

  • Jaundice:Make a decoction of Barberry. Take 1/2 teaspoon once a day.
  • Menstrual disorders: Make a decoction of the leaves of Barberry. Take it two times a day.
  • Skin diseases: Take Barberry powder and sprinkle liberally on bacterial Skin Infections and septic Wounds.
  • Scurvy:Boil few Barberry leaves in 1 cup of water. Drink this half cup decoction once a day.
  • Ophthalmic:Crush dried roots of Barberry to make powder. Add 8 g of it in lukewarm water.Use it as an Eyewash or Eye Compress
  • Gallstones:Take Barberry bark and roots in equal proportion. Boil in water to make a decoction. Have 2 teaspoons twice a day.
  • Urinary Tract Infections: Steep One teaspoon crushed Barberry in 2 cups of hot water for 10-15 minutes. Sip it slowly. Take Once or twice daily.
  • Urinary Tract Infections: Take equal quantity of Snow flower, Barberry and Boldo leaves. Grind them together. Have half teaspoon with lukewarm water daily.
  • Blurred Vision: Take the leaves and the flowers of Chickweed, Barberry, Marigold, Goldenseal,Oregon grape, Eyebright, Cornflowers. Prepare an infusion. Let it cool. Use as an eyewash, 2-3 times a day.

How to take Barberry:

Barberry can be used in many different ways and a variety of forms such as a tisane, dried herb, tablet, tincture or capsule.

Barberry capsules should preferably be standardized to contain 5 to 12% isoquinoline alkaloids.

As a tea: Whole or crushed berries that are steeped in 2/3 cups of boiling water for 10-15 minutes is the preferred method of administration. 2 to 4 grams of dried root or 1 to 2 tsp can also be used.

As a tincture: ½ to 1-1/2 tsp. or 250 to 500 milligrams of dry extract three times daily.

As an ointment: 10% barberry extract applied to the skin three times a day.

  • The dosage and method of delivery will depend on the condition being treated.
  • Some conditions, like digestive problems,benefit from ingestion of the herb, while other conditions may benefit more from the topical application of a salve.
  • Doctor or herbalist can give the best advice on dosage.

Barberry Common Uses:

Appetite stimulant, Colon cleansing, Constipation, Detoxification, Diarrhoea, Digestion, Digestive complaints, Dysentery, Fungal infections, Gall stones, Gall-bladder, Gastrointestinal disorders, Indigestion, Infections, Liver health, Mucous congestion, Parasites, Sinus congestion, Sore throat, STDs, Teenage acne, Urinary tract infections

Barberry Actions:

Alternative, Antibacterial, Hepatic, Tonic

Barberry Precautions:

Should be avoided in pregnancy and lactation, due to theoretical potential for harm to the foetus/ neonate. Use with caution in unconjugated hyperbilirubinaemia, severe hepatocellular disease, septic cholecystitis, or liver cancer. Do not take with phenylbutazone.

More Useful Information:

Barberry: The Herb that Cleanses Your Gut, Liver and Gallbladder

Health benefits of Common Barberry


David Hoffman (2003), Medical Herbalism, pp.533-34, Happy Herb.

Clinical Data:

The effect of barberry (Berberis vulgaris L.) supplementation on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the randomized controlled trials

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *