Barberry (in persian زرشک)
Specifications and Characteristics of Barberry:
Barberry can grow to be a fairly large shrub. The thorny shoots are found growing wild in Alborz mountains amplitudes and other parts of Iran. Ruby is the name given to a seedless barberry which is cultivated in Qaenat and emerges from an erect shrub of 1.5-2 meters tall. The leaves are small oval which are borne in clusters besides thorns. Its yellow beautiful and attractive flowers include 6 sepals, 6 petals and 6 filaments and its pistil consists of a filament terminating in a short style. Flowering occurs from mid April to May. The fruit is an oblong red berry 7-10mm long and 3mm broad, ripening in annual branches and resists water shortage, drought and salinity. The plant is south Khorasan climate friendly-product.
Chemical Composition of Barberry
The plant leaves, bark and wood contain Berberine which is highly toxic. The bark contains 1.7 Berberine while leaves and wood contain lower concentration of this alkaloid. Traces of another alkaloid called oxyacanthine along with an essence have also been found in barberry flower. Germ and root of the plant contain a type of sugar, resin materials, pectin and mucilage. Root barks besides oxyacanthine contain other alkaloids called 2-berbamine palmatine, Columbamine vegate rosisin.
Barberry contains isoquinoline alkaloids (including berberine, berberrubine, bervulcine, berbamine and derivatives, columbamine, isotetrandrine, jatrorrhizine, magnoflorine, oxycanthine and vulvracine), chelidonic acid, resin, tannin, and wax.
Medicinal Uses of Barberry:
For many years barberry has been in domestic use as a medicine. Because of its organic acids, the plant is a remedy that reduces blood bile and ejects bile out of the liver. Also it reduces Polydipsia. Barberry mixed with warm nature remedies like cinnamon and honey leads to liver strength and treats Polydipsia and diarrhea caused by liver weakness and gastric problems. It is useful in vomiting and its mixture with appropriate medicine results in gastric ulcers healing process. It is a treatment for appetite loss and for cold-natured people and those suffering from flatulency it is suggested to be consumed in conjunction with sweet foods like honey and Nabat. The plant has a reputation for increasing the longevity. Life span is significantly higher in the plants irrigated with barberry extracts compared with those irrigated with alone water. The fruit is febrifugal and contains vitamin C. It increases the body’s defense by boosting immunity against diseases especially infectious ones and common cold. Barberry is blood purifier, affects and increases urine production followed by urine excretion. It reduces itching and as a very strong decoction is employed as an application to pleasant odors exhaled while breathing. It has high contents of Vitamin C compared to sour lemon. One of the main roles of the fruit is coincidence of vessels, especially womb vessels. This is also useful for those suffering from choleystitis and cholelithiasis and other bile duct disorders.
Health Benefits Of Barberry
Barberry is a beautiful, evergreen shrub that is native to the temperate and subtropical regions of Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and South America. Scientifically called Berberis vulgaris, the shrub is commonly known with names like mountain grape, pepperidge, berberry and common grape. It has been used in the process of herbal healing in many nations, since ages. Barberry is also used for decorating parks and garden, for its decorative features. The thick horny shrub of barberry was used by people to protect their home from thieves. It has a magical effect in many ailments, like gastrointestinal pains and inflammation of gall bladder. Barberry also helps lower fever and combat infection and bacteria. Read on to know more about the health and nutrition benefits of barberry, along with its chemical composition.
Nutrition & Health Benefits Of Eating Barberry
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- The berries of barberry are rich in vitamin C, which is required by the body for a healthy and glowing skin. Apart from that, it also helps remove toxic substances from the body and maintain strong bones and teeth.
- It is a wonder herb that helps cure bacterial infection, which can be attributed to the chemical ‘berberine’ present in it. This chemical stimulates certain immune system cells to function better and prevents the bacteria from sticking to human cells, resulting in prevention of the infection.
- The alkaloid berbamine present in barberry helps in the treatment of amebic hepatitis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- The herb helps destroy bacteria on the skin and is also applied topically on burns.
- It effectively works against the bacteria that become resistant to antibiotics, with time.
- Barberry has anti-parasitic and fever-reducing properties, which have made it a winner amongst many herbalists.
- The herb is an immune system stimulant that aids in digestion and treats gastrointestinal pain.
- It helps decrease the heart rate, reduces bronchial constriction, and slows down breathing.
- The anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties of barberry have been used to cure the infection of urinary tract, upper respiratory tract and even the bladder. It is used to treat abnormal uterine bleeding as well.
- Barberry is an inspiring hepatic tonic that controls the mucosa, removes mucoid accumulations, controls excess secretion and improves appetite and assimilation in the body.
- The herb is beneficial in cardiovascular and neural systems and is used to heal epilepsy and convulsions. Besides, it is also used as an alternative treatment for curing tachycardia and hypertension.
- Barberry dilates the blood vessels and thus, aids in lowering the blood pressure.
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