Barberry bark is native to Europe and North Africa. It now grows wild in many regions of North America. Traditional Chinese Medicine documents its use dating back over 3,000 years ago, whilst the Ancient Egyptians combined Barberry with Fennel Seeds to prevent plagues and treat fevers.
In folklore and magic, Barberry was used to ward off evil and protect ones house and self from enemies. People would lay Barberry branches across the path of their enemies to literally “bar” their progress.
It was traditionally thought to increase the flow of bile, which is why it was used for liver and gallbladder problems. It was also used topically to treat skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, acne, and minor wounds.
The active compound in barberry bark appears to be a phytochemical (alkaloid) called berberine.
A healthy digestive system is the cornerstone of vibrant health, allowing the body to absorb nutrients fully and to expel waste efficiently. Classed as a “bitter herb”, Barberry Root has long been used to support this delicate system. The bitter alkaloids found in this herb stimulate and regulate the digestive system and aid in the secretion of bile, which is good for liver health. Berberine also acts as a mild purgative which makes Barberry highly effective for constipation.
Studies show that Barberry outperforms antibiotics cases of gastro-intestinal problems, possibly due to its astringent effects. It has also been shown to clear up bacterial diarrhoea without any negative side effects.
The berberine found in Barberry Root Bark has a powerful antibacterial action which supports the traditional use of this herb to combat bacterial Urinary Tract Infections. Research now shows that berberine is effective for UTIs due to its ability to inhibit bacterial adhesion to uroepithelial cells (the cells lining the surface of the urinary bladder). Barberry has been found to be particularly effective in preventing E coli from binding to urinary tract cells. As an anti-inflammatory, Barberry will also soothe an inflamed urinary tract.
The berries of the Barberry plant are naturally diuretic and high in vitamin C. The diuretic action allows the body to flush out bacteria, whilst the vitamin C content supports and boosts the immune system in its efforts to fight off infection.
Barberry Bark Tincture
Traditionally Taken: 2-3ml taken 2-3 times per day, or as directed by a Herbal Practitioner.
Barberry Bark Powder
A typical dosage of Barberry Bark is ½g- 1g of powdered bark up to three times per day.