July 23, 2016

European Barberry

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What other names is European Barberry known by?

Agracejo, Barberry, Berberidis Cortex, Berberidis Fructus, Berberidis Radicis Cortex, Berberidis Radix, Berbéris Commun, Berberis jacquinii, Berberis sanguinea, Berbéris Vulgaire, Berberis vulgaris, Berberitze, Berberry, Berbis, Common Barberry, Épine-Vinette, Espino Cambrón, Jaundice Berry, Mountain Grape, Oregon Grape, Pipperidge, Piprage, Sauerdorn, Sow Berry, Vinettier.

What is European Barberry?

European barberry is an herb. The fruit, bark, and roots are used to make medicine.

The fruit of European barberry is used for kidney, urinary tract, and gastrointestinal (GI) tract discomforts such as heartburn, stomach cramps, constipation, lack of appetite, liver and spleen disease; for bronchial and lung discomforts; for spasms; to increase circulation; to boost the immune system; and as a supplemental source of vitamin C.

The bark, root, and root bark of European barberry are also used for disorders of the GI tract, liver, gallbladder, kidney and urinary tract, respiratory tract, and heart and circulatory system; to reduce fever; as a "blood purifier;" and for narcotic withdrawal.

European barberry root bark is also used for liver problems, gallbladder disease, jaundice, spleen disorders, diarrhea, indigestion, hemorrhoids, kidney and urinary tract diseases, gout, joint pain (rheumatism), arthritis, mid- and low-back pain, malaria, and a parasitic infection called leishmaniasis.

In foods, European barberry fruit is used in making jam, jellies, and wine.

In manufacturing, the fruit syrup is used for masking tastes in medicines.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Dental plaque. Early research suggests that brushing teeth with a European barberry extract gel containing 1% berberine for 3 weeks reduces dental plaque. The effects appear to be similar to the anti-plaque effects of a commercial toothpaste (Colgate).
  • Diabetes. Early research suggests that taking European barberry by mouth for 8 weeks does not improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Gum swelling (gingivitis). Early research suggests that brushing teeth with a European barberry extract gel containing 1% berberine for 3 weeks reduces gingivitis.
  • Kidney problems.
  • Bladder problems.
  • Heartburn.
  • Stomach cramps.
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Liver problems.
  • Spleen problems.
  • Lung problems.
  • Heart and circulation problems.
  • Fever.
  • Gout.
  • Arthritis.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of European barberry for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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