Barberry Benefits | Digestive Health & Liver Function

Barberry Health Benefits

Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) has had a long use in history for its medicinal and dietary purposes and is well-known for being rich in vitamin C and Berberine.

Barberry Pharmacology

Botanical Name

Berberis vulgaris

Other Common Names

European Barberry, Mountain Grape, Berberine, Pipperidge, Sow Berry

Part Used

Bark & Berries

Main Therapeutic Compounds

Protoberberine alkaloids, including berberine, jatrorrhizine and palmatine.

Herbal Actions






Bitter tonic 

Barberry Herbal Benefits

Liver & Gallbladder Function ||  Digestive Health || Skin Inflammation || Immune Support

Immune System Support

Barberry is rich in “berberine”, one of the most potent plant alkaloids (also found in the near-extinct plant Goldenseal) and responsible for many of its health benefits. Current research has found berberine stimulates the immune system by activating the macrophages and fighting pathogens. It is a natural antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal and may be beneficial for the respiratory system, genitourinary and gastrointestinal tract and skin infections.

Liver & Digestive Health

Barberry is traditionally used for improving liver function and may be helpful for gallbladder inflammation and gallstones. Due to its bile stimulating actions, herbalists commonly use it as a bitter digestive tonic and mild laxative to promote a healthy digestive system. 

Barberry is classified as a "bitter herb",  and barberry Root has long been utilised to stimulate the digestive system, liver function and relieve constipation.

Recent studies revealed that Barberry's astringent and antimicrobial effects effectively manage gastrointestinal problems, such as bacterial diarrhoea, without any adverse side effects.

Barberry Typical Use

Dried Herb & Powder

Typical adult use of powdered or dried Barberry is 500mg - 2 grams daily in capsule, tablet or powder form.

Tincture & Liquid Extract

Typical adult use of Barberry tincture or liquid extract is approximately 2-5mls daily, or as directed by your practitioner.

Herbal Combinations

Barberry combines well with Wormwood, Calendula, Thyme and Myrrh.

Cautions & Safety

Not recommended during pregnancy and lactation.

Caution is advised in people with gallstones due to the potential for gall stones to move and cause obstructed bile ducts.
If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical medications, please consult your primary healthcare practitioner prior to use.


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Imanshahidi, M. and Hosseinzadeh, H. Pharmacological and therapeutic effects of Berberis vulgaris and its active constituent, berberine. Phytother.Res 2008;22(8):999-1012. 

Choudhry, V. P., Sabir, M., and Bhide, V. N. Berberine in giardiasis. Indian Pediatr. 1972;9(3):143-146. 

Fouladi RF. Aqueous extract of dried fruit of Berberis vulgaris L. in acne vulgaris, a clinical trial. J Diet Suppl. 2012;9(4):253-61. 

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