Barberry Root Bark


Also known as- Berberis vulgaris


The barberry is a tall shrub with gray, thorny branches. Bright yellow flowers bloom in the late spring become dark, drooping bunches of red berries in the fall. Puckery but less bitter than cranberries, ripe barberries can be used to make jam. Both the berries and the bark are used in healing. Medicinal use of barberry dates back at least to the time of ancient Egypt, when it was combined with fennel seed to prevent plague.


The barberry contains its namesake chemical berberine, also found in coptis, goldenseal, Oregon grape root, and turmeric. The herb also contains the B-vitamin thiamine, vitamin C, the carotenoids beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, chromium, cobalt, and zinc.

Parts Used

Both ripe berries and bark.

Typical Preparations

The whole herb barberry is available in capsules, fluid extracts, tinctures, and ointments. Dried roots of barberry can also be used in tea.

Proper dosage is important:

Tea: 2 to 4 grams (1-2 teaspoons) of dried root or 1 to 2 tsp of whole or crushed berries steeped in 150 ml (approximately 2/3 of a cup) of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes three times daily, or

Tincture: 3 to 6 m. (1/2 to 1-1/2 tsp) three times daily (but no more than three doses of any kind of barberry product per day).

For skin disorders: 10% crushed, dried bark or berries in ointment, applied to the skin three times daily


Traditional herbal medicine uses barberry is used to relieve inflammation caused by bacterial or protozoal infections of ears, nose, throat, and sinuses, and to relieve pain caused by yeast infections of the skin or vagina. Barberry is also used to relieve psoriasis. In the traditional Unani herbal medicine of Iran, barberry is used to stabilize blood pressure and to normalize heart rhythms to prevent stroke.  * Acts as an antispasmodic and relieves pain from kidney stones and helps clear urine * Also useful for many liver and gall bladder problems, hepatitis, and cirrhosis. * Assists in detoxification from effects of poor diet, medications or drugs and helps stimulate the immune system.


Adults should limit use of barberry to seven consecutive days at a time, waiting at least a week before using barberry again. This gives the natural, helpful bacteria of the intestine a chance to recover. Taking vitamin B6 supplements can give infectious bacteria resistance to the antibacterial toxins in the herb.
Barberry is often given to children with success, but should be used with caution, no more than three consecutive doses followed by a day without the herb. Not recommended while pregnant or nursing.


This herb is sold by the ounce is Copyright © 2000-2023