Berberis vulgaris Linn

Family ► Berberidaceae.

Habitat ► Distributed in Northwestern Himalayas.

English ► Common Barberry, True Barberry.

Ayurvedic ► Daruharidraa (var.).

Action ► Root and bark—used for ailments of gastrointestinal tract, liver, gallbladder, kidney and urinary tract, respiratory tract, also as a febrifuge and blood purifier.

Key application ► Listed by German Commission E among unapproved herbs.

An extract with 80% berberine and additional alkaloids stimulated the bile secretion of rats by 72%. (PDR.) As cholagogue. (The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)

The main alkaloid is berberine (well tolerated up to 0.5 g). Berries are safe.

Bergenia ligulata (Wall.) Engl.

Bererine in small doses stimulates the respiratory system; poisonings have been observed from overdoses. Poisonings from the total herb have not been reported. (German Commission E.)

Berberine is bactericidal, amoebici-dal and trypanocidal. Berberine is an-tidiarrhoeal, asitentersinto the cytosol or binds to the cell membrane and inhibits the catalytic unit of andenylate cyclase. It is active in vitro and in animals against cholera.

Berberine stimulates bile secretion and shows sedative, hypotensive, anticonvulsant and uterine stimulant activity in animals. Alkaloid bermarine is also strongly antibacterial. It has been shown to increase white blood cell and platelet counts in animals with iatro-genic leukocytopaenia.

Berberine, berbamine and jatror-rhizine are hypotensive and sedative.

Many of the alkaloids are antineoplastic.

The alkaloid berbamine (50 mg three times daily for 1-4 weeks) helped reverse leukopaenia induced by benzene, cancer chemotherapy or radiotherapy in a clinical study. (Francis Brinker.)

Berberine, when combined with pyrimethamine, was more effective than combinations with other antibiotics in treating chloroquine-resistant malaria. (Sharon M. Herr.)

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