Barberry, a genus of the Berberis species of deciduous or evergreen shrub, grows throughout most of the sub-tropical and temperate regions of the world. Often seen with small oval shaped dark green leaves, the Barberry will most often bloom small yellow flowers and produce bright red fruit that is smaller than a raisin.
The plant itself is commonly used as a food source for certain species of moth, including the Barberry Carpet Moth. Other uses have been found over the years which include homeopathic and holistic treatments or remedies.
Health Benefits of Barberry
What makes Barberry so effective for health purposes is the inherent chemical berberine found within the plant. A natural antibiotic, berberine works effectively against fungi, protozoa, and bacteria. In addition to the berberine, Barberry also contains a high level of zinc and B vitamins. Patients who take Bayberry, often do so to combat the ailments of inflammation due to infection.
Alternative uses include the treatment of eye conditions, such as conjunctivitis, increases the immunity of the human body through the production of white blood cells, and treating gout. Some patients and nutritionists recommend Barberry for blood related issues such as anemia or high blood pressure.
Each part of the Barberry plant is utilized when making medicines, including the bark, roots, and fruit. Bayberry is used in many forms, including tinctures, capsules, antiseptics, tonics, or in dried powder form. The bark and roots can have a bitter taste, and will leave the inside of the mouth tinged yellow when chewed.
Many patients prefer to take the herb in powder form or use it as a tonic, to avoid these small side effects. Bayberry is commonly used in under developed areas of the world to clean wounds and cuts that could become or have become infected.
Patients looking to purchase Barberry may also find the herb under the alternate names of Oregon Grape, Woodsour, Sowberry, and Jaundice Berry. Each of these is a common name given to the Bayberry genus of Berberis.