Berberis vulgaris, otherwise known as barberry or trailing mahonia, has been known for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. It is a low, red bush that can be found in Europe, North America, North Africa, Central Asia, and Western Asia.
The ancient Egyptians once used barberry extracts as protection from different kinds of diseases and even the plague. In Europe, the plant’s roots and fruits continue to be used by herbalists for their healing capabilities, particularly for its effect on digestion and liver health.
Barberry contains a variety of nutrients that are useful for treating different kinds of health-related issues. It is a rich source of Vitamin C, lutein, beta-carotene, and zinc, which is why it is highly recommended for people who are looking to improve their overall health.
Barberry root, in particular, contains a potent amount of berberine; an alkaloid that is known for its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and rejuvenating properties.
The effect of barberry on liver health has been the subject of research for years. A 2015 study1 revealed how berberine helps enhance the function of liver enzymes, which makes it easier for the liver to get rid of harmful toxins. Berberine has also been proven to aid in bile secretion; making it easier for the body to eliminate harmful chemicals from food. Additionally, another study on barberry and berberine from 20152discussed the plant’s potential for cancer treatment.
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