Herbal Medicine, Nutrition, Yoga & Wellbeing
Consultations, Workshops and Herb walks
Welcome to Yorkshire Herbalist
I’m passionate about empowering others through the power of Nature. Join me on a workshop or herb walk, explore 'Herbs & Wholesomeness’, visit my online shop or book a consultation to begin your journey back to optimum health...

Herbal Medicine, Nutrition and Wellbeing ...

Book a consultation for a professional natural and complete approach to optimum health and wellbeing ...

Find out more

Herbal Workshops ...

Book onto one of my fabulous one day workshops: Using Medicinal Herbs at home, Womens herbs for Health and Happiness or Make your own Natural beauty products ... Private group and Workplace bookings also available.

Find out more





Berberis vulgaris L. Barberry

Family: Berberidaceae
Description: “Deciduous shrub with yellow roots, grooved, yellow-grey stems, 3-pronged spines and obovate, toothed leaves. Yellow flowers are produced in pendent racemes, up to 6cm long, in spring, followed by slender, oval, red fruits. H 2m, S 1.2m. Fully hardy.” (Bown, 1995: 93)
Habitat: Native to hedge and scrub throughout most of Europe.
Harvest: “Fruits are gathered in autumn and used fresh; stems and roots are collected in autumn and stripped of bark when fresh.” (Bown, 1995: 248)

Part used: Stem and root bark
Dosage: 1:5 Tincture: 0.5-3ml tds, Fluid Extract: 0.5-1ml tds, Dried: 0.5-1g

-mild laxative,

Indications (Mills and Bone, 2000):
“Controls gastrointestinal infections ; improves flow of bile.”
-jaundice; biliousness; cholecystitis, gallstones; liver disorders; as digestive stimulant, diarrhoea; constipation (in large doses)
-acute infectious diarrhoea; trachoma (as eyedrops); giardiasis ; cutaneous leishmaniasis (topically) -all* on berberine.
-bacterial and fungal infections; amoebic dysentery; malaria; tapeworm infestations -all**
-nausea; ‘catarrh’ conditions; cirrhosis; ascites; heart tonic (AD)

Safety: No adverse effects when used within recommended dosage.
Contra-indications: Not recommended during pregnancy; obstructive jaundice; diarrhoea, IBS; gallstones.

Key Constituents (Mills and Bone, 2000):
-ALKALOIDS (up to 13%), incl. ISOQUINOLINES: protoberberines (berberine(up to 6%), jatrorrhizine, palmatine) and bisbenzylisoquinolines (up to 5%), incl. oxyacanthine).

Pharmacology: Extensive experiments in vitro and using rats/ mice have demonstrated the following activity: Antimicrobial and Antiparasitic, Antidiarrhoeal, Cardiovascular, Cytotoxic, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-spasmodic, suppress lipogenesis on sebaceous glands (may be useful in acne vulgaris) -see Mills and Bone, 2000: pp289-291.

Clinical trials: Many trials with successful outcomes against the following: diarrhoea and cholera; other gastrointestinal effects; trachoma; giardiasis; liver cirrhosis; diabetes mellitus; and others.
Toxicology: Only in prolonged administration of berberine

History: Taken in spring months as blood purifier. The Eclectics regarded Berberis primarily as a tonic but it was also used for conditions affecting the liver and gallbladder, diarrhoea, dysentry and parasitical infections including malaria.

Traditional and Practitioner sources:
“Stimulating tonic hepatic: influences mucosa generally, removing mucoid accumulations and controlling excess secretion. Improves appetite, digestion and assimilation. Indicated for gouty constitutions. Indications:
-Biliary catarrh with constipation and jaundice;
-Gastritis, biliousness -(small doses) with Prunus/ Populus;
-Debility in convalescence -(small doses) with alteratives;
-Ulcerative stomatitis -decoction as mouthwash;
-Eczema of the hands.” Priest and Priest (1983: 100)


Bel Charlesworth Medical Herbalist

Bel Charlesworth MNIMH
Medical Herbalist

BSc Herbal Medicine

Member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists since 2003

Tel: 07775 920079

Email Bel >
Follow Yorkshire Herbalist on Twitter

Herbal Medicine, Nutrition & Wellbeing

Workshops & Herb walks

Massage & Dru Yoga

Based in Otley, West Yorkshire

Yorkshire Herbalist

Bel's Blog

Join Our Newsletter
* indicates required