Can be found in our Liver Mate product.

Herbal Medicine Materia Medica: Barberry

David Hoffmann L.BSc (Hons), MNIMH ©


Berberis vulgaris
PartUsed: Barkof root or stem


  • Alkaloids of the isoquinoline type, mainly berberine, berbamine and derivatives, berberrubine, bervulcine, columbamine, isotetrandrine, jatrorrhizine, magnoflorine, oxycanthine and vulvracine
  • Miscellaneous, including chelidonic acid, resin, tannin etc.


Actions: Cholagogue, hepatic, anti-emetic, bitter, laxative

Indications: Barberry is one of the best remedies for correcting liver function and promoting the flow of bile. Itis indicated when there is an inflammation ofthegall-bladder or in the presence of gallstones. When jaundice occurs due to a congested state of the liver, Barberryis also indicated. As a bitter tonic with mild laxative effects, it is used with weakor debilitated people to strengthen and cleanse the system. An interesting action is its ability to reduce an enlarged spleen. It acts against malaria and is also effective inthe treatment of protozoal infection due toLeishmania spp.

Priest & Priest tell us that itis a "stimulating tonic hepatic: influences the mucosa generally, removing mucoid accumulations and controlling excess secretion. Improves appetite, digestion and assimilation. Indicated for `gouty' constitutions" They give the following specific indications: Biliary catarrh with constipation and jaundice. Gastritis, biliousness, debility during convalescence, ulcerative stomatitis, eczema ofthe hands.

Felter considered it "much like Hydrastis and could be employed for many of the uses of that scarce and high-priced drug. Used for chronic catarrhal ophthalmiasas a decoction, also in a phto usulcers. It is tonic, and if pushed purgative. It is of value in non-obstructive jaundice and in gastric and intestinal dyspepsias. In renal catarrh, occasioned by the presence of calculi, small dosesmaybe given when there is burning and soreness and excess mucous in the urinary tract."

Combinations: In gall-bladder diseases it combines well with Fringe treeBark and Black Root. CAUTION: Avoid during pregnancy.