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Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)

What is Barberry?

Barberry is just one of the many medicinal plant species in the Berberis genus — which are marked by the presence of a useful antibacterial compound known as berberine.

Berberine is a potent antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial — giving it many uses in herbal medicine. The main use of the herb is for digestive tract infections and urinary tract infections, but salves or poultices are also popular for skin infections as well.

Barberry and related species are also used to make herbal bitters for stimulating the liver and digestive system.

Outside of herbal medicine, barberry is used as a source of yellow pigment — again thanks to the active constituent, barberry, for its deep yellow color.

Common Names for Barberry

  • Barberry
  • Mahonia
  • Oregon Grape
  • Mountain Grape

Herbal Actions of Barberry

  • Alternative
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiemetic
  • Antimicrobial
  • Bitter Tonic
  • Cholagogue
  • Choleretic
  • Hepatoprotective
  • Laxative (mild)

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