Barberry - Some Benefits on Usage of Barberry
Common Trade Names
Oregon Grape Root
Available as an extract, liquid, tablets (400 mg), and tea.
Barberry comes from the roots, wood, and bark of Mahonia vulgaris and M. aquifolium (also known as Berberis aquifolium and B. vulgaris), plants that have edible, red-orange fruitlike berries. Mahonia species are native to Europe and some parts of North America and have long been used as landscape shrubs.
Barberry species contain tannins and many isoquinoline alkaloids, including berbamine, berberine, bervulcine, columbamine, jatrorrhizine, magnoflorine, and oxycanthine.
Berberine, the most extensively studied component of barberry, may possess anthelmintic, anticonvulsant, and sedative properties and exerts local anesthetic effects when injected subcutaneously. It has also demonstrated in vitro antibacterial activity against several species that exceeds that of chloramphenicol.
An ethanolic extract of B. vulgaris has shown anti-inflammatory activity in in vitro and animal studies. Other alkaloid isolates of the plant are less potent in their anti-inflammatory effects than the total ethanol extract.
A few of the isoquinoline alkaloids exert uterine-stimulating effects in animals . Other studies have shown antiarrhythmic and hypotensive effects with berbamine and antiarrhythmic activity with berberine.
Barberry is claimed to be of therapeutic usefulness as an antidiarrheal, an antipyretic, and a cough suppressant as well as in ameliorating jaundice.
In the past, berberine was used as an astringent in various ophthalmic preparations but is seldom used in these forms today. It has been shown to be more effective than a placebo in resolving Vibrio cholerae-induced diarrhea but had no benefit over placebo in patients with diarrhea due to other causes.
In one study, a dosage of 400 mg P.O. daily was used to ameliorate acute diarrhea.
Antiarrhythmics: May increase antiarrhythmic effects. Monitor closely.
Antihypertensives: May increase hypotensive effects. Discourage use.
Contraindications And Precautions
Points of Interest
Berberine gives the rootwood of the barberry plant its characteristic bright golden yellow color.
Berberine salts derived from barberry have been used as an astringent in eye drops and eye washes.
More evidence needs to be collected before barberry or its components can be considered useful for therapeutic application. This compound needs further evaluation as an antidiarrheal before it can be recommended for acute diarrhea.
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